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Self-Confidence: The belief that our efforts are worthwhile

It will come as no surprise to most parents and teachers to hear that any of a number of impediments to learning—from “I don’t get it” to “This is boring”—have at their foundation a simple lack of confidence. Who hasn’t felt like withdrawing in the face of a task that seems beyond one’s capabilities? Success, however, requires perseverance and patience. To develop these traits, students first must find the confidence that their efforts will eventually prove worthwhile. Therefore, we must ask: Can confidence be taught?

At Aristotle Associates, we believe that confidence can be built like a skill—and, like any skill, it takes work to develop. Weak self-confidence can be reinforced very easily through a single careless remark to a child: “You’re not very strong in math.” To improve self-confidence, however, students need a scaffold of successes on which to build. Our tutors understand how to help a student construct this scaffold. They provide strong positive feedback for honest attempts and frankly acknowledge when a student avoids trying or is otherwise negligent. By helping students break tasks down into more manageable pieces, our tutors teach students how to develop a plan and get started. Often the distance between starting and finishing an assignment (or even one problem) seems dauntingly huge – but by demonstrating the smaller steps along the way, manageable ones, our tutors help students find the initial confidence they need begin. Finally, Aristotle Associates tutors have the patience and knowledge to find the explanation that will make sense to your child. With each success and glimmer of understanding, the next task will become more approachable. Eventually nothing will seem impossible – it will only be a matter of time and not giving up.

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