Lichfield Cathedral School

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Building confidence

When parents of prospective pupils come to see me, they often ask how the school instils such confidence in its pupils. This question often arises from a tour of the school conducted by current pupils who have successfully displayed a friendly, personable maturity without tipping over into an unattractive arrogance. Pupils as young as those in Year 4 are often involved in talking with parents at Open Mornings and they are invariably outstanding ambassadors for LCS.
The question itself is an interesting one as there are no ‘confidence’ lessons on the curriculum. However, the importance of confidence cannot be underestimated and is pivotal as we move through life. Indeed, I genuinely believe that confidence is borne of being comfortable in your own skin, being your own true self, having integrity and taking hold of every opportunity that LCS has to offer

Confidence is developed in the classroom, where the atmosphere encourages pupils in both giving and listening to opinions. Tolerance of each other’s views is fundamental, giving pupils the confidence to articulate their thoughts. Regular involvement in assemblies, presenting to their peers in class, in Chapel and in the Cathedral also help to ensure that pupils become more comfortable in speaking to sizeable audiences. Indeed, many pupils who start by being rather scared of public speaking, thrive through doing English Speaking Board and LAMDA examinations. 

It's about having as many opportunities as possible to develop confidence.  Leadership roles such as Class/Form Captains, Prefects, Young Singing Leaders, Young Sports Leaders, Global Schools Alliance council members, Playground Buddies, and so on, instil their own levels of confidence, especially in starting conversations, encouraging others to contribute to discussions and managing a meeting/event. 

Inviting pupils to share their specialist knowledge or their passion for a subject with others, enables them to become the teacher for a few minutes.  A good example of this is the English Speaking Board exams, and I have been fascinated by the depth of expertise possessed by young children in a huge range of subjects (raising and breeding chickens was a particular favourite, helped by extremely lively visual aids in the form of bantams Betty and Marnie!)  Watching usually quiet and shy children beaming with pride as they receive thunderous applause from enthralled classmates is one of those moments that remind teachers why this profession is the best in the world.

Being part of a music or drama ensemble, or school sports team all add currency to the confidence bank of a child by teaching team work, good communication skills and encouraging children to explore beyond their comfort zone.  Building confidence is about building self-esteem, so we teach with a positive attitude and provide praise where possible.

We provide opportunities for pupils to try new things and sometimes to fail in a supportive environment. The realisation that failure is a normal part of learning and part of life robs failure of its confidence-sapping power and strengthens resilience, allowing pupils to learn how to pick themselves up and move on without losing their self-belief. This growth mindset can only lead to future success. It is a real delight to see our pupils grow and increase in confidence as they progress though the school! 

Inservi Deo et laetare!