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When Confidence Meets Discouragement

Confidence is critical in a learner’s performance. Learners make progress faster when they get some assurance that they are doing something right. Discouragement, on the other hand, may be unhealthy for some to handle that they see failure even before attempting to try. It prevents any potential, there is in someone, to grow. Promoting a learning environment that eliminates discouragement and promotes confidence is some mission any teacher should take on seriously. How exactly do I, as an instructor, strategize to get this challenge done?

I need to stay motivated myself for starters. Motivation in practice is infectious after all. The learners themselves could tell from a mile if a teacher has the enthusiasm, the preparedness, and the willingness to make things work with them as partners. This behavior will help energize, direct and sustain the positive behavior of the learners. Secondly, the learners need to feel psychologically “safe” to be wrong as well as right. Most of the time, it is not what one said or did, it is how one made them feel that gets impressed in their minds. They need to feel some assurance that it is all right to make mistakes because it in itself is a learning opportunity. With that in mind, I try to create them in such a way that ensure more chances for them to succeed than fail. Transitioning from simple to complicated and breaking the complicated tasks in easy parts are some techniques that may be employed to help guarantee a successful exercise. Finally, I should always assume the proper attitude of a facilitator: talk less, listen more. The simple act of letting learners talk more will definitely boost the spirits of even the most discouraged ones.

At the end of the day, there could be other strategies to include in the list. What is more important for now though is to identify the crucial principles behind the strategies. Whenever confidence meets discouragement in a learning environment, choose to foster the former and eliminate the latter. How? Stay motivated yourself. Make learners feel psychologically “safe” to be wrong as well as right. Create more chances for them to succeed. Assume the attitude of a facilitator. These are some four simple ways that show that the teacher does care for the learner’s well-being.

By: Nisa Hernandez



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