January 3, 2018

Unpack Confidence-building Strategies

I've been on hiatus, and it's great to be back in the blogosphere! Taking time away from blogging and dialing down other nonsocial business activities has allowed me to connect with people in unprecedented ways. Over the past year, I've dedicated more time than ever to building relationships. 

I launched a nonprofit, gave speeches, submitted my first federal program grant, scored grant and scholarship applications for a national competition, served as a coach, consulted with school administrators and counselors, developed an ACT prep program, and so much more. It's truly been a whirlwind of failures and successes since my last post.


Find a National Tutoring Association certified tutor.

In true edupreneur style, I record life lessons. This habit is beneficial as a contributor to the National Tutoring Association's Tutor Strategies of the Week blog. This partnership is phenomenal. The practice of summarizing teachable moments into compact, confidence-building strategies has revealed similarities among daily challenges that educators, parents, learners, and tutors overcome. 

Facing failure, remaining hopeful, and thinking critically are common barriers to success that leave us wondering should we go over it, around it, or through it?

Facing Failure
Learners pay attention to how we make mistakes. They pay attention to how we fail.
  • Do we admit our failures or try to cover them up?
  • Do we make our thoughts explicit?
  • Are we modeling the right ways to recover from mistakes, to fail forward?
​When we value mistakes and model healthy responses to failure, we nurture the same in those around us. One way I model a healthy response to failure for clients involves marking out wrong answers rather than erasing them. 

Erasing a mistake makes it easier to forget, which is often the goal. But, this approach can be counterproductive. Clients are discouraged from erasing mistakes on the whiteboard and on notebook paper. The reason: seeing the mistake encourages us to make different mistakes until we succeed.

 Jessica Lahey - The Gift of Failure

Remaining Hopeful
Shifting to a hopeful mindset (or growth mindset) following failure is challenging. This process requires grit, a concept I enjoy exploring with clients. So often we're sure the world is coming to an end due to a mistake, only to forget the details months later. 

We promote a growth mindset by encouraging learners to focus on what they can do. Help learners transition...
  • from "I don't know" to "Let's try this"; 
  • from "I can't" to "I can"; 
  • from "I'm not good at _____to "I can learn _____ with effort".
Model this. Make it a habit. Becoming gritty about adopting a growth mindset makes it easier to move from failure to failure without losing momentum. Explore more grit and growth mindset affirmations by creating your very own grit fish independently or as a group. The craft activity requires minimal prep time and is fun for all ages.

Grit Fish - A Grit and Growth mindset Craft Activity

Thinking Critically
Asking people to do something they don't know how to do is one of the quickest ways to earn an introduction to a their 'not-so-fun' alter egos. Without the proper resources, having the desire to complete a task may not be enough to get the job done. What are we to do when we don't know what we don't know? 


To help clients clear their paths during the learning process, we use a strategy called "wait time" (or "thinking time"). The goal is to match the pace of  learners. We want to wait while they think... but not too long. 

We want to check nonverbal cues like body language to discern appropriate times we should...
  • listen, 
  • wait quietly, or 
  • instruct.
​Allowing learners enough time to get uncomfortable without inciting frustration helps identify gaps in understanding. 
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You're invited to explore more strategies by visiting the National Tutoring Association's website

Jackson Education Support (JE) offers fun and engaging learning experiences to learners of all ages. Specialty subjects include literacy, math, and science. We develop in-person and online solutions for educators, families, and learners globally. Read feedback and learn more by visiting je411.com.