On Confidence

I have four nephews and as they grow up I get to see some of the funny things they do and say. For instance it’s very fascinating to see how confident they can be.

When my brother’s oldest was barely two years old, and he did something which he himself thought deserved praise (and he didn’t think we were sufficiently awed) he would make it clear by leaning back in his seat, giving himself an applause, and saying loudly “good boy!”. Absolutely hilarious!

Then this week I heard a little anecdote about my sister’s oldest son. He just turned 8 and is in first grade.
Earlier this week they had a test in maths. No problem, he did it. The thing is that in his grade they are not yet allowed to hand in tests written with a pen – only pencil – in case they need to erase something. Apparently that didn’t deter him. He wrote his answers in pen and drew three smileys at the bottom of the page when he was done.

In the Danish school system children do not get numerical grades for the first couple of years, but some teachers still like to somehow mark their homework so the children can get motivated to do better – his teacher gives up to three smileys!

When my sister heard she told him to not write in pen and to let the teacher do the marking.
He scoffed. He doesn’t always write with a pen. He only does it if he thinks it’s so easy that it’s impossible to get it wrong.
My sister changed tactics: “but what if you mean to write 2 and accidently write 5?”
He wasn’t convinced that this could even be a problem.
And about grading his own work, he knew all was correct, so why not?

Eventually he accepted that he shouldn’t grade his own work and write in pencil if the teacher asks him to, but he still thinks it’s a bit stupid.

While we probably shouldn’t adopt their ways completely, perhaps it’s not a bad idea if we as adults could say to ourselves “well done!” more often.

Happy studies everyone and remember to feel proud of your own progress sometimes 🙂

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