Teen girls so often lack confidence in themselves. As their teacher you wish they had a deep well of self-belief, but sadly it’s not a simple “switch” that can be turned on. Building girls’ confidence at school is a step-by-step process, and in this blog I share three ideas for classroom activities to build girls’ confidence.
These ideas are focused on getting to know ourselves better, as that helps all of us in developing our confidence.
We’ve all seen the worrying increases in child and teen mental health issues. Building girls’ confidence is fundamental to the Confident Teens’ ethos that “prevention is better than cure”. By empowering girls to develop their self-awareness, self-talk and build their self-belief, we enable girls to improve their well-being and increase their aspirations, helping them to progress at school.
CONFIDENCE-BUILDING ACTIVITY ONE:
Reflecting on skills that we’ve worked on and improved at
The first of the classroom activities to build girls’ confidence uses a growth mindset approach. It encourages girls to reflect on how much they’ve progressed over the last month or so. By seeing how their skills and abilities are growing – crucially because of the effort they have put in – helps girls to increase their self-belief.
- Think about the skills and abilities you’ve worked hard at and improved on over the last month (or appropriate time scale for your students)
- Examples: hobbies, subjects at school, helping your parents/carers at home, being kind to neighbours, taking part in charity work.
- Note down at least three areas that you’ve become good at because you’ve worked hard and practised it
- Encourage students to share with each other, you and class
- Reflection after the activity – it’s useful to think about what we’re good at. No-one is good at everything. If at times you think I’m not good at a particular thing, remind yourself you are good at the things you’ve identified here. And that by focusing and working hard we can develop our abilities at new things too. An example of this is a baby isn’t born knowing how to walk, as they grow up they learn to stand on their feet, and then through trying over and over, and falling over hundreds of times they learn to walk. Any new skill is the same, we need to work hard and practise it.
CONFIDENCE-BUILDING ACTIVITY TWO:
Using our bodies to boost our confidence
In the second of the classroom activities to build girls’ confidence, the focus is on developing awareness of how we can use our bodies to build our confidence, through the simple act of how we stand.
- One of the ways we can help ourselves feel more confident is how we use our bodies.
- With everyone standing, let’s stand as badly as we can…. slumping shoulders, bending legs, looking down, frowning.
- Together let’s transform this into standing tall and confidently
- Feet – let’s have our weight equally spread between our feet, about hip distance apart, and feel the ground supporting us.
- Legs – let’s straighten our legs, so they feel strong and powerful
- Arms – let’s have our arms relaxed by our sides
- Spine – let’s straighten up our spines, imagining there’s a string gently pulling our heads up, stretching us upwards.
- Shoulders – as you stretch up, your shoulders naturally move back.
- Head – feel your head relaxed on your neck, as you look straight ahead.
- Feel how good that feels, to be standing tall and confidently, and your body feeling strong. You’re ready to take on the world.
- And ….on count of 3…all of us together, a great big smile!
CONFIDENCE-BUILDING ACTIVITY THREE:
Bringing it together with a “This is me” statement
In the third classroom activity to build girls’ confidence, the different threads are pulled together as we encourage girls to create their “This is me” statement, and share this with each other.
- Whilst you’re standing tall and confidently, turn to person next to you and say your name and share one of the skills or abilities you’ve worked hard at and improved on in the last month
- And then swap round so the other person shares one of their skills and abilities that she’s improved on over the last month
- For example, I’m Ms Smith and I’m good at playing the piano
- Repeat this, but this time I’d like both of you to look at each other in the eye when you’re talking. For the person speaking it shows that you really mean what you say, and for the person listening, it shows the other person that you are really listening to them, and that they are important.
- Share reflections of how that felt
- Reflection after the activity – Now we’re being proud of the things we’ve worked hard at and skills we’ve developed. It works well to practise thinking to yourself and sharing with other people how you’ve improved and progressed. We can be proud of ourselves – and each other. This will help build your own – and each other’s – confidence.
Feedback from students after they enjoyed building confidence sessions
“Learning to like and accept myself and how I have all these qualities that I didn’t remember I had”
“It made me believe in myself and understand that everyone is different”
“I have learnt to set goals for the future”