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Local Tutoring News in Halifax

Confidence and conventions

Nov 14, 2016
Students of all ages with a variety of struggles and strengths; however, low self-esteem seems to have the biggest impact on school performance and life satisfaction

Hal Con 2016 (Halifax’s Sci-Fi and Fantasy Convention) was a whirlwind of autographs, panels and workshops! Exhibitors were grateful for the opportunity to share their love of robotics with fellow geeks and nerds. It was evident that “the Con” was a welcoming and supportive environment. Attendees took pictures together, helped each other fix costumes and shared their hobbies and interests.
Many participants were struck by how beneficial this accepting community could be for those with low confidence or self esteem. The experts at Sylvan say that they see students of all ages with a variety of struggles and strengths; however, low self esteem seems to have the biggest impact on school performance and life satisfaction.
A low level of self-confidence can create a dangerous downward spiral. If a student is unaccustomed to failure or unprepared for struggle, a small setback can greatly harm their sense of self. This lack of confidence can lead to many problems — failure to participate in classroom discussions, homework avoidance and unwillingness to ask for help. This lowers grades even more, and thus continues to harm self-confidence.
Sylvan Learning Halifax says that improving studying and test taking skills not only benefits students in all subjects, it builds confidence as well. More importantly, receiving individual help gives students the time to discuss their goals for the future and make plans to reach them. Sylvan’s tutors strive to relate each student’s academic lessons to their future career or current interest, whether it’s skateboarding, anime or engineering.
It’s important for parents who seek personalized help for their children to know about tutoring approaches. There are choices available from volunteer tutors at a library to high school students to companies that have people from various backgrounds offering support.
Sylvan Learning is the longest serving provider in Halifax and they base their instructional services on a proven process called “mastery learning.” They start with an Insight Assessment, which identifies each student’s personal skill gaps. Certified instructors then develop those skills by reinforcing the student’s existing skills and building on them.
It is not unusual for students to need to go back several years in the curriculum to get at the root of an individual skill gap. However, Sylvan’s approach is to supplement — not re-teach — what is learned in the classroom, in order to develop the skills, habits and attitudes needed for lifelong success. Students have a chance to work independently and learn strategies to use when they have an incorrect answer.
Skills are developed in a step-by-step way, with lots of support – called scaffolding - so they can learn at their own pace and build on their success. As a result, the student’s level of self-esteem begins to grow, which helps build confidence in overall learning.
So what can you do to help your student build self confidence? A crucial component is promoting a growth mindset, which involves understanding that most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work — brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and exploration — and lets children know that it is ok to experiment and make mistakes. In fact, it is through that process of trying new things and learning from mistakes that new learning takes place, and confidence builds.
Children who are afraid to try new things because they don’t want to fail are missing valuable opportunities to learn. Sylvan uses STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes to model this mindset by encouraging students to make mistakes and troubleshoot problems. It is also important for students to see that sometimes their instructors don’t have the solution to a problem, and to demonstrate to them how to find an answer. Likewise, you can give your student permission to fail and the opportunity to learn from mistakes.
Another important aspect to building confidence is finding or building supportive environments such as the one offered at Hal Con. You can support your child’s interests and introduce them to your own hobbies, like the many families at that event who made themed costumes together!
Students who may feel marginalized at school for unique interests will gain confidence by finding others like themselves. Seek out opportunities that will push you and your children to stretch your comfort zones by travelling to a new place, or participating in something new, such as a coding class! You could even start thinking now about your family costume for next year’s Hal-Con!
If you would like to learn more about how Sylvan Learning Centre can help build self-confidence visit, call 422-7323 or email
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