Boosting Students' Confidence: Small Exercises with Big Impact

Character Building: Preteens 2 min read
Confidence Can Come from Small Exercises
Photographer: Desola Lanre-Ologun | Source: Unsplash

Social psychologist Professor Geoffrey Cohen from Stanford University, groundbreaking research shows how to improve student achievement by boosting students' confidence.

His studies have proven that even small actions, when targeted with precision and guided by psychological theory, can have long-lasting and meaningful effects on academic performance and health.

The Study:
Boosting Academic Success for Students

One particular study led by Professor Cohen, focused on African-American students academic success.

The research team randomly divided the students into two groups:

  • one group did a writing exercise about a personal value,
  • other group did a neutral activity.

The results were pretty incredible.

Remarkable Results:
Long-lasting Effects on Academic Performance

Over two years, the students who received confidence-boosting through the writing exercise showed significant improvement in their academic performance.

This effect lasted the whole time, leading to better grades and a remarkable thirty percent reduction in the racial achievement gap.

Small Intervention, Big Impact

To put it simply, before the intervention, around 20% of these students were getting D grades or below.

But after they took part in the exercise designed by Professor Cohen's team, that number dropped to just 10%.

This small intervention had a big impact on these students' academic journey.

Addressing Chronic Stress and Improving Health Outcomes and Confidence

Professor Cohen's research shows that schools can be tough and stressful places for many students.

Even without obvious prejudice or discrimination, just sensing negative stereotypes or possible discrimination can create stress and erode confidence.

Even subtle signs of feeling left out can trigger this stress response.

By providing opportunities for students to feel valued and fostering positive self-esteem, Professor Cohen helps them embrace learning and growth.

When students feel supported rather than stressed or alienated in their school environment, they're more likely to reach out to teachers for help and explore new ways to grow as individuals.

It's important to mention that chronic stress can seriously harm health outcomes. That's why Professor Cohen wants to expand these interventions to reach more students, so that more kids can benefit from this approach.

Attention to Detail:
Tailoring Interventions for Maximum Impact

To achieve this, Professor Cohen and his team pay close attention to the details of these interventions.

They work closely with students to identify relevant values and design writing exercises that make sense and have a real impact in each unique situation.

It's a lot of work, but they're dedicated to making a true difference in students' lives.

Breaking the Cycle:
Early Intervention for Lasting Impact on Confidence

Professor Cohen's research shows how small differences can add up over time, especially in school settings.

Poor performance often leads to even worse academic achievement, creating a cycle that's tough to break.

By intervening early and disrupting this cycle from the start, Professor Cohen believes we can make a lasting impact on students' education and future success.

Transforming Education: Building Confidence Step by Step

Raising student achievement is all about building up students' confidence step by step.

Through his groundbreaking work, Professor Geoffrey Cohen aims not just to change individual lives, but also to transform our educational system for the better.

Professor Geoffrey Cohen explains how small efforts in the right way over a long period of time can have a big impact.
self-worth education positive psychology