Schools must focus on confidence building in students first before grades

By Darren Chan

I agree with the points in Professor’s K Ranga Krishnan TODAY’s commentary “Cultivating self-confidence in students” (Jul 1). However, I feel that not all students have the self-confidence that they need to excel in school and to realise their potential in pursuing their interests in today’s competitive school environment. 

Self-confidence stems from opportunities given to students to put forth their ideas or thoughts into reality in getting their inputs recognised by others. The educational environment is very complex due to students consistently have to prove themselves by academic excellence in terms of grades or the number of prizes that they win in competitions. Once they try and unable to excel, their self-confidence level drops and it can be very disheartening for them to cope with the expectations of their friends and parents. Their frustrations in not being able to perform well will affect their motivation to learn as well. 

The importance of schools having student support groups are essential in helping students to get back their confidence and drive towards learning again. Their self-confidence is definitely the key to build motivation and give them reason to be encouraged again. Student support groups could be made up of both students and teachers who will help weaker students in terms of academic or well-being in coaching them in their weak subjects or by lending them a listening ear to their problems. It is a small single affirmation that can encourage them to not give up and that they are not alone in their problems that they are facing. 

Teachers should also make the lessons interesting and give each student the chance to showcase their learning through projects which involve team work to boost the level of confidence where each student helps those around them to understand and learn together. Grades should not be the only primary focus as the students need to know what they are learning and to understand it in-depth is far more important. This would lead to them being more confidence in examinations and to even master the subject by being interested in it. Also, the students would be better prepared for more challenging problems in the future and even those outside of school. 

Through the student support groups, goal setting can be implemented for the weaker students so that they have a systematic way to work towards specific goal centered learning in terms of subjects. Through the teachers and their friends, they are able to accomplish the goal and to consistently improve themselves. Feedback from students is also important to teachers so that they can improve their methods of teaching to cater to the learning curve of the students as a whole. Singapore’s educational system is a competitive and struggle for students trying to make their mark in terms of grades and I hope that learning becomes the focus and not grades as every student should be given the confidence and motivation to succeed.