The Heart of Student Achievements



First up, I’d like to wish you a happy New Year as we find ourselves not only at the beginning of a new term, but also a brand new year. Whether you’re already off to a great start with those New Year’s resolutions and your personal goals for 2015 or you’re finding it a struggle, Unstoppable Schools is here to support those professional goals for the coming year, with the
launch of our 2015 Year of Self-Confidence campaign.

Of course, as teachers (or parents, or even from your own adolescence) you’ll already know that having periods of low confidence has always gone hand in hand with being a teenager, not least because of the effects of hormones. Today, however, 15 years into the 21st century, this generation’s teenagers seem have more pressure and stress than
ever… and what’s more, they’re

trying to tell us.

My ‘Inner Winner’ seminars in schools really focus on self-confidence, and when I ask the big question about who would like more of it, a massive 95% of my teenage audiences indicate that they do. More alarming though, is the fact that when I try to dig a little deeper, almost all of these kids really struggle to define what self-confidence
actually is!


Pulling out a generic dictionary definition of self-confidence starts to get to the heart of it:

“A feeling of trust in one’s capabilities, qualities and judgement.”

(Oxford Dictionary)

Notice a key word in the definition that many of us, and our students, seem to forget self-confidence involves? Trust.

And it’s the right word to use because it sits right in the middle of self-confidence: self-confidence. Focusing on building the ability to confide in the self, to trust in the self and all of those personal skills, talents and ideas, really helps to develop emotional intelligence and can have an extraordinary impact on healthy levels of self-confidence,
self-esteem and self-belief.

While many of your students will seem to manage some levels of success when they have someone alongside them, what they are often doing is building confidence, but not self-confidence.

Helping students to improve their self-confidence requires enabling them to identify the intrinsic sources of belief and reliance, including an ability to trust in what they have, what they know and what they can do. Once they start to become successful in this, teenagers are then on the road to transferring this self-confidence to other areas of life or competency that they’d
like to feel more confident about.

What I’ve seen in countless schools is also what you see on a daily basis with your students. What’s more, the School’s Health Education Unit (SHEU) report, Young People into 2014, confirms that our teenagers are having a crisis of confidence. The signs
are easy enough to spot and can be identifiable across a variety of worrying ways, which I know many of you may well be seeing, both from those in your classroom

and those who leave tell-tale gaps in the register. Signs to look out for include:

  • Poor quality of relationships (and persisting with damaging relationships)
  • Low attendance in school
  • Deterioration in behaviour
  • Poor academic achievement and attitudes to learning
  • Lack of goals and ambition
  • Issues with body image, including body issues and eating disorders
  • Self-harming
  • A search for short-term ‘fixes’, such as alcohol, drugs and drug-life food products
  • Becoming too dependent on additional support and external validation, which cause a spiral of non-belief in oneself and unwillingness (even fear) to try.

Another significant reduction in self-confidence comes from the technological times we live in. In large part due to the huge role that social media plays in our teenagers’ lives and the steep rise in bullying, which now takes place in many forms, including the faceless forums across many social media platforms.

Bringing about change begins right now, by raising awareness of the 2015 Year of Self-Confidence. From here and throughout the whole year we’ll be publishing plenty of ideas and resources to support students in developing self-confidence and improving self-trust.

This is right at the heart student achievement. When you ignite the fire of self-confidence within your students you’ll see their levels of progress and happiness sore.

So, with that in mind, we invite you to get the 2015 Year of Self-Confidence started off by sharing the idea with your students and setting goals which focus on building that all-important self-trust. By doing this, you’ll be offering them immediate access to one of the very best resources they’ll always have to hand… themselves.

“I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence,

but it comes from within. It is there all the time.”

Anna Freud

That’s it from Unstoppable Schools for this month. Have a great start to the New Year and we’ll be back in February discussing relationships and more ideas on confidence.

Be Unstoppable!

Kevin Mincher


Recommended Resources

Instant Confidence – by Paul McKenna


Copyright 2015, Unstoppable Schools Ltd.

All rights to the written elements of this article are reserved.