As a teacher building resilience for teen girls is a core issue. Empowering girls to handle the many pressures of teenage life, so they are in the best position to make good choices for themselves, build their self-belief and progress well at school.
A key aspect of this for teenage girls is understanding that there is not a single answer to the question “How do I feel more confident?”. Instead, increasing confidence is an individual experience for each of us. By understanding that simple idea, girls can learn to be less critical of themselves, and improve their self-talk. Improving self-talk is crucial for building resilience for teen girls.
In this blog we’re sharing our thoughts on empowering teen girls to improve their understanding of confidence, with:
1. Class discussion – How confidence is different for each of us
2. individual / pair exercise – We are each unique
1. Class discussion:
Understanding the concept that confidence is different for all of us – and we all lack confidence at different activities and at different times
“Confidence” as a concept means so many different things. A good starting point for this is to encourage students to think about and discuss what confidence means to them.
Teachers can choose whether to facilitate this as a discussion, or ask girls to write their ideas on post-it notes to display them, or write ideas on paper and share them.
When leading the session teachers can reflect their ideas back to them. It’s important to include the perspective of what true confidence isn’t…confidence isn’t about dominating other people – it’s about respecting ourselves and respecting other people. Neither is confidence about being the loudest person in room; there can be real power in being quietly confident
It’s understanding that confidence is unique to all of us. It’s how we feel about ourselves. It’s valuing and believing in ourselves.
It’s completely normal – and expected – that there are times when we all feel more confident or less confident than at other times. Everyone experiences this.
If they are experiencing a time of low confidence, teachers can encourage their students to ask for advice and support from someone who knows them well. For example, they could ask a friend or family member to help them understand and notice a skill or habit that they have seen students improve at over the last month or year.
By focusing on the ways they are progressing, students themselves can reflect on how much they have improved and changed, and develop their thoughts and ideas further. This an important aspect of developing a growth mindset.
Confidence is not a single destination but an experience with peaks and troughs.
This approach contributes to building confidence. By increasing self-awareness, improving self-talk and developing self-belief, step by step we’re building resilience for teen girls.
2. Individual / Pair exercise:
To embed the idea that we are all unique individuals – and how amazing is that!
This exercise to build girls’ confidence is all about encouraging girls to recognise that they are absolutely unique, and how incredible that is. The key points are:
- Start by asking how many people in the world? [7 billion]
- How many of those people are exactly the same as someone else? No two people are alike. The only partial exception to this is identical twins whose DNA is the same, but their personality, attitudes and ideas will still be different.
- This means there is no-one in the world who is exactly like you, no one with your talents, abilities and personality. You are absolutely unique. Think about that for a moment, you are the only you in the world out of more than 7 billion people. That’s pretty amazing to think about.
- Your life is unique to you, no one else will lead the same life you will lead.
- Write a list of at least 5 attributes that are uniquely yours. This can include skills, habits, attitudes, personality, interests, anything that you feel makes you uniquely you.
This exercise can be done solo, or in pairs, or however it works best with your students
I hope this classroom discussion and student activity has been useful.
For more ideas for building girls’ confidence, watch the free taster lesson on Self-awareness.
Feedback from students after they enjoyed building confidence sessions
“I’ve learnt to think more confidently about myself and what I can do to make a difference” Year 8 student
“I got an understanding of myself and to be who I am and no one else” Year 9 student
“I now feel like I can say my answers confidently and talk to more people” year 7 student