Developing self confidence to learn

5th August 2021

After a very enjoyable ‘summer holiday’ I am back at the keyboard. To be truthful I am finding it difficult to reengage my brain, something all children suffer with after a break from the school environment. With dyslexic children this can be twice as hard, with difficulties with retaining information it can be like starting from the beginning once again. Frustration, an uphill struggle with a high dose of demotivation. This will require understanding and support from Parents and Teachers. Emotional support can never be underestimated.

Within my last post I gave you some lateral thinking puzzles to engage your brain.

Lateral Thinking

The answers are:

  1. bar man – man had hiccups, the scare stopped them.
  2. Car push – playing monopoly
  3. survives fall – he lives on first floor, not far to jump.
  4. bus driver – ‘your’ eye colour
  5. dictionary – incorrectly

How did you get on? Were you able to think ‘out of the box’?

Samuel Johnson quote: Self-confidence is the first requisite to great  undertakings.

This week I have read an interesting study which highlights my views on the importance of developing self confidence to boost enthusiasm to conquer challenges and develop a positive mindset for learning.

The participants of this study were children in the first and second years of school. The researchers performed neuropsychological examinations, tested reading and writing skills together with cognitive abilities, and measured brain functions. Within these investigations the children were asked questions to assess their motivation for learning and their self belief about their own reading skills.

Interesting quote:

“Anomalous brain activity at age 7 or 8 did not completely predict later development of reading; other factors seem to be involved, including a child’s belief in their own ability to learn.”

The study refers to the work carried out by the Niilo Maki Institute in Finland.

Niilo Maki, considered the most important developer of neuropsychology and special pedagogy in Finland, strongly believed that instead of being dictated by our biological heredity, our personalities can be molded by our upbringing and education.

So as a Parent or Teacher you maybe thinking, how do I help a child develop self confidence in their ability to learn?

Here are some ideas:

  1. Early identification of any difficulties. It is important to be aware of the challenges the child is facing but do not make this the be all and end all. Try not to focus too much on the negatives and show your anxieties. A positive supportive environment is much more conducive to learning that a negative results driven one.
  2. Celebrate any progress however small. Positive feedback from you together with the child’s own recognition of their successes.
  3. Child to recognise early on that they can learn, they just learn differently. To know themselves, how they learn and what helps. This information will give them confidence to learn now and in the future.
  4. Don’t put time pressure on the child, let them learn and read at their own pace.
  5. Discuss things that you may find difficult. Make them aware that we are all different with our own strengths and challenges.
  6. Read out loud, listen to audiobooks and discuss book plots and characters to make the stories come alive and interesting.
  7. Encourage ideas and imagination. Even if they can not express themselves in writing or words find a way they can such as art.
  8. Be aware of assisted technology and whether this would help the child.
  9. let the child see the supportive relationship between school and parent, working together.
  10. Above all, identify their strengths which may well be their hobbies. Allow them time to do what interests them and what come easier to them. This provides a distraction from difficulties and in turn will increase their self esteem and boost their enthuasiam to take on challenges.

Beware of unhelpful ‘peer comparison’, see my previous post:

Dyslexia and Social Comparison

During the rest of the summer holiday try to take time to read together, develop their imagination and have fun. Provide that emotional support to instil a self belief which will be invaluable within the classroom and beyond.

Learning can be fun and we all like to do more of the ‘fun stuff’

Until next time …..

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