20 June, 2024

Bringing out the best in every child: how we increase self-confidence

How we increase self-confidence - How we increase self-confidence

Children who feel confident can achieve anything. Self-confident students are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and think ‘I can’ instead of ‘I can’t’. They’re also better equipped to overcome a challenge and learn from their mistakes.

The role self-confidence plays in a young person’s life is highlighted by several studies. In fact, research suggests that confidence is the most important predictor of academic success – even more important than intelligence.

So how do we, at the British International School Bratislava (BISB), instil this most important, yet largely intangible, quality in our children? In this blog, we discuss how to increase self-confidence – and share some suggestions on nurturing self-confidence at home.

What is self-confidence?

Self-confidence is about believing in yourself, your abilities, and your ideas.

Confident people typically:

  • Have a strong sense of inner belief.
  • Feel secure in themselves.
  • Know they can handle anything that comes their way.
  • Are happy to take on a challenge, whether that’s an exam, performance, or competition.

In school, confident students take risks, express their creativity through classroom assignments, and invest in the work they produce.

Confidence is, however, much more than knowing that you’re good at maths or art, for example. Students with self-confidence are better equipped to bounce back from setbacks and are willing to try new things and fail. Skills for coping with difficult things give our children the confidence they need to handle anything that comes their way, too.

Being self-confident, however, doesn’t necessarily mean being ‘outgoing’. People who are quiet or shy can be confident as well.

The link between self-confidence and achievement in school

Studies show that students with higher self-confidence are more willing to learn, challenge themselves, and be more resilient. As discussed at the top of this article, confidence has been cited in some studies as the number one predictor of academic achievement. This is particularly true for core subjects such as English, maths and science, where confidence has long-term positive effects on learners’ success.

These benefits persist through school into university, where young people with high confidence are more likely to attend, achieve, and build strong relationships with their peers.

How we increase self-confidence in our students

So, how do we go about building confidence in our children?

1. By creating a vibrant and supportive atmosphere and network

We know how important it is to provide an environment that is warm and nurturing – a place where every student feels comfortable and at home.

At BISB, your child will be part of a vibrant, caring community, comprised of families from more than 40 countries. We act together to promote wellbeing, social responsibility, and cultural awareness. We also create a strong community around each student. This provides the backdrop against which they can grow in confidence, be themselves, and excel.

Also, being surrounded with positive, supportive friends and mentors is a crucial part for having a good relationship with ourselves. Having a network of those who believe in you can provide encouragement and boost your confidence. At BISB we constantly discuss the importance of social interactions.


2. By focusing on health and wellbeing

Our educational approach is underpinned by a deep commitment to wellbeing. Through a range of initiatives – including a comprehensive PSHE programme and the care of our pastoral team – our students build resilience and develop a sense of self-belief. This provides the foundations for success and empowers them to live their best possible lives.

Stress and anxiety can undermine confidence. Practising meditation, breathing techniques and mindfulness can help manage stress and improve wellbeing. Our school counsellors and teachers are teaching students these skills as part of the curriculum.


3. By setting achievable goals and celebrating the strengths


Celebrating student’s success is a first step how to increase their confidence. Setting small goals helps build a sense of accomplishment. Everyone has unique strengths and talents. We are helping our students to identify their strengths and find the ways to use them.


4. By developing a growth mindset


We teach our kids that persistence and effort are key to improvement. Children from a young age should understand that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process. Developing a growth mindset is a first step to building healthy confidence.


5. By learning from criticism


Constructive criticism is a valuable tool for growth. We teach our students that they can use feedback to improve their skills and knowledge. Understanding that everyone (even adults) have areas for improvement can help them maintain perspective.


6. By offering transformative experiences

We work with the world’s best organisations to provide outstanding opportunities to learn. Our students are encouraged to be creative and follow their passions. We want them to believe in their abilities and seize new opportunities, too.

Confidence building activities include:

  • Global, regional, and local expeditions, which expose our students to different cultures, people, and ideas. These enriching opportunities build confidence and independence, as our young people spend time away from home, form strong bonds, and enjoy new experiences.
  • More than 70 extra-curricular clubs, which enable our students to do what they love and discover new talents. These include our sports teams, which keep our children fit and healthy, and give them outstanding opportunities to grow in confidence.
  • Community service opportunities, which demonstrate the impact a person or people can have on others. From The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award to our collaboration with UNICEF, hands-on opportunities to effect change show our students they can achieve anything.
  • STEAM and performing arts programmes – delivered in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and The Juilliard School – which encourage our students to express themselves and discover their passions. Through immersive, experiential learning, our children work together, hone their communication skills, and grow in confidence.

7. By seeking help when needed

In recent years we have built up a community where our students know that it is completely OK to seek help when needed. Teachers, school counsellors and peers are ready to offer support and guidance. Knowing when to seek help is a sign of strength and confidence, not a weakness.


How to increase self-confidence in your child

We believe that building confidence is a team effort. Regular positive reinforcement, both at school and at home, can instil a strong sense of self-belief in your child.

Below, we’ve suggested a few practical ideas to build confidence in your child:

  • Embrace individuality. Encourage your child to appreciate what they’re good at, as well as what they find harder to do. It’s important they understand that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.
  • Encourage passions. Encourage your child to do what they love. Their confidence will grow by taking part in activities or learning experiences that align with their passions.
  • Celebrate small achievements. Whether it’s signing up for an after-school club or writing the first line of a tricky piece of coursework, help your child to realise that every small action is a step towards a bigger achievement.
  • Be adaptable. Support your child as they consider their options, review their goals, and adjust their efforts to meet changing demands and circumstances.
  • Be positive. Show your child how to face setbacks with a ‘growth mindset’, seeing difficulties as ways to learn, not insurmountable obstacles.

Building self-confidence in our school community is a gradual process that requires effort and persistence. By teaching students to set achievable goals, maintain a positive mindset and seek support when needed we can enhance their self-confidence so that they will achieve greater success, both academically and personally.

For more information on how to increase self-confidence, please get in touch with us at: office@bisb.sk.