Confidence vs achievement

(18 Posts)
littleredsquirrel Tue 21-Jan-14 11:11:11

At the risk of outing myself I had a drunken discussion about this at a party at the weekend. We were discussing the merits of an intelligent child being in a very academic selective independent school and being at the bottom of the class v being near the top in a more mixed ability state school. Depending on the school (and the child) of course, I think there is a lot to be said for having that natural confidence that being at the top of the class can give you. Confidence and self esteem are very important qualities that serve you far more in life in the long run than doing well at school.

Retropear Tue 21-Jan-14 11:05:39

No I think it's an innate confidence that I can do it,it may take some hard work but I can,I am not useless and the confidence to bounce back and get up to try again.

That with a good, organised and hard working attitude is priceless imvho.

cory Tue 21-Jan-14 09:32:57

The kind of confidence that focuses on the work rather than on yourself.

"I am very clever because my mummy says so" isn't necessarily going to produce much in the way of a sustained effort.

There are parents who think their efforts to instill confidence must not be overshadowed by anyone (including the teacher) trying to tell the child that they need to do things differently or need extra help. "I know you are cleverer than the others, if Mrs X puts you on the middle table, it must be because she is jealous and doesn't like you" sadly is an attitude one comes across.

shebird Mon 20-Jan-14 18:43:11

Confidence to try and fail
Confidence to try again.
Confidence in your own ability.
Confidence in your teachers and carers.

scaevola Mon 20-Jan-14 17:13:32

I agree about resilience.

And I don't see how you can be confident without achievement. Maybe not top-of-trees achievement when compared to others, but the security of knowing you are achieving the best you can.

A self-motivated love of learning is the key, IME.

I had a little girl in my class in foster care last year, taken out of bloody awful circumstances. On her year 6 baseline assessment she scored a 3a in Maths. Around the November mark something woke up inside her and I have never seen motivation like it. She ended up finishing the year on a 5b....it was entirely down to her self-motivation and, I think, the fact she had the savvy to realise she could work her way out of the kind of life her parents gave her. She didn't EVER compare herself to the other children in the class, was only interested in bettering herself.

Obviously year 6 SAT scores don't automatically equal future success, but I'd bet real money on that girl making something great of herself.

stargirl1701 Mon 20-Jan-14 17:05:24

Neither. Resilience is more important than anything else.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 20-Jan-14 17:03:25

Oh confidence every time.
They need to have the confidence to try new things, to know they haven't lost before they have started.
We have a rule in our house, ask for help if you are struggling but don't sit there saying its too hard, I can't do it.

We have had this issue with dd today, she is 10 would be y5, she struggles with maths but we can see improvements. When her attitude is good/ confident we manage to get through. When it isn't well we have to try another subject.
She finally got decimals today, so printing lots of work sheets so she can practice (repetition works for her).

columngollum Mon 20-Jan-14 16:55:33

(Unfortunately, though, scores are important.)

columngollum Mon 20-Jan-14 16:54:36

Focussing more on marks and position is likely to have been taught to them by adults/parents fussing about scores.

mrz Sun 19-Jan-14 11:19:32

I seem to recall there was a recent study that showed over confidence was/is an obstacle

cory Sun 19-Jan-14 10:27:06

There is a difference between self esteem and confidence imo.

Ds was held back by issues of self esteem (there's no point in my trying, I'm not clever like my friends).

I was held back by over-confidence (I don't have to try very hard because I am cleverer than the others).

Neither was a very productive attitude, neither was an attitude that made us very happy.

They were two sides of the same coin, really: unrealistic ideas of our own aptitude and an unhealthy focus on "Me" and position within the group rather than on the work and the enjoyment that could be had from getting on with it.

As a university teacher I can spot students with this attitude a mile off. Often they are the overly confident, sometimes the overly diffident, but always the ones who are more concerned with their position within the group and their marks than with the actual contents on the course.

Retropear Sat 18-Jan-14 09:59:40

I think a combination of attitude and confidence have a huge impact.Seen it first hand in my very own case study of my own 3 which include twins and involves 3 children very similar in ability and age.It is actually quite scary.As an ex primary teacher myself I had no idea to what extent attitude and confidence can trump ability at times and how vital they both are regardless of ability.

Anybody got ideas on boosting confidence and attitude?My dd(youngest of 3 with 2 brothers doing very well) has thankfully now finally got a lovely teacher intent on boosting her confidence and attitude. She did wonders with one of my boys a few years ago re confidence and attitude but I fear dd is a harder nut to crack.I'm so concerned these issues are my entire focus with dd at the moment.She is year 4 so we haven't got much time to sort it out before secondary.

Any ideas?There were some good ideas posted by a tutor on the maths tutoring thread but wondering if any primary teachers have any tricks up their sleeve as you must come across this a lot.

lljkk Sat 18-Jan-14 09:31:41

Good self-esteem trumps everything else. If you have to pick one trait, although obviously no one trait is adequate to ensure achievement. It's a bundle of things, luck, opportunity, motivation, liking hard work, ambition, etc.

mrz Sat 18-Jan-14 09:12:04

Motivation and attitude to learning are seen as the biggest influences of future achievement.

columngollum Sat 18-Jan-14 08:35:18

Achievement is only a stepping stone, confidence, so long as it persists, is something which can constantly be drawn on. Achievements, such as passing this test well, winning that trophy or this race only last until the next test, contest or race. And, depending on what the conditions are like when the second competition is lost, achievements can seem as nothing. But if the child has confidence he can see that achievements are like meals. They are necessary, they are fleeting, but they are not to be regarded as ends in themselves but only as a means.

Lizziegeorge Sat 18-Jan-14 08:10:22

I teach Y6 and agree confidence is very important. But the confidence to do as well as you can in all areas. My main aim for my class is that they leave motivated to learn and do not see learning as inflicted on them. They also need to be confident and able to manage themselves by being independent. Once you achieve that achievement naturally follows on.

secretlemondedrinker Sat 18-Jan-14 07:50:10

A bit of a follow on from my last thread.What do you think is most important during the primary years? Yes of course both would be preferable but ultimately is developing a strong self esteem and confidence more important than achievement at this age? what's your opinion?

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