Confidence stems in large part from previous experiences and interactions that influence beliefs about what one can and cannot do. Prior science successes and encouragement are thus likely to increase confidence. Typically, high confidence leads to students working harder and more persistently in science. This, in turn, often means greater achievement. As teachers, the way you interact with your both male and female students can greatly boost their confidence in learning science and increase their performance and engagement. Chapter 5 describes several useful strategies to this end.
Resources to support teachers in fostering confidence can be found here and in the links. Those resources include handouts and activities, further reading, links to recommended websites, and short (~ 3 minute) video clips illustrating the importance of this concept to practicing scientists and showing exemplary high school teachers who practice the strategies recommended in the book.
1. Finding Role Models
Articles about people engaged in real research that can be inspirational both in the classroom and for parents and students outside of school.
Tutorial on how to find role models (requires registration).
Contact your local chapter of the Association for Women in Science.
Video clips of role models:
- Video clips of real scientists in various science fields. Can be used by teachers to spark ideas or posted as web link that parents and students can use outside of school.
- Female scientists in many science fields (choose science field in right hand column).
- Female role model career videos of “everyday women” from YouTube.
- Spark 101 provides video clips that introduce students to science careers.
2. Promoting Test Taking Confidence
These resources also appear in Chapter 10: Emotion.
Short article on preparing for the ACT.
A test taking guide that can help boost your test taking confidence.
Practical tips for students on how to deal with test anxiety.
Practical tips for reducing test anxiety.
3. Resources for Parents
Students say that parents have a bigger influence on what careers they choose than anyone else.
Test taking tips with suggestions for parents how to help their children be prepared.
Encourage your high school student to do their best.
Career exploration websites to be used as resources in middle and high school
- Explore over 185 STEM-related degree fields.
- This resource includes careers, internships, scholarships, and more.
- The Science Lab of the U.S. Department of Energy has resources for science career exploration. See the section labeled Careers.
Parents can expose their children to role models. Ten female science role models for your daughter. See also the role model links for this chapter.
4. General Resources
Confidence is also addressed under academic mindsets in Chapter 2 of this very comprehensive review of non-cognitive factors related to academic success.
Farrington, C. A., Roderick, M., Allensworth, E., Nagaoka, J., Keyes, T. S., Johnson, D. W., & Beechum, N. O. (2012). Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners: The Role of Noncognitive Factors in Shaping School Performance. Chicago: University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research.
5. Videos about Confidence
Links to videos about concepts and strategies described in this chapter are found on this page. To learn more about the scientists and teachers featured in these videos, click here where you can read a description and/or select a link to find all video clips of them.
Regina discusses how specific content in her physics class captivated her interest and how her teacher’s faith in her made her confident enough to pursue science as a career.
Dionne talks about how her teachers’ belief in her boosted her confidence and made her recognize her competence as a female scientist.
Dionne shares how her mother’s support kept her going and made her a confident scientist.
Sheri talks about how teacher and parent support and encouragement gave her confidence to pursue science.
Laura shares how a friend’s mother who is a scientist influenced her interest in science and inspired her to become a scientist herself.
Laura talks about her college professor’s initiative to bring diverse groups of female college science students into middle schools as role models.
Georgia talks about how, as a girl in math and science she often lacked confidence, even though her performance suggested she was highly competent.
Georgia talks about how her teacher’s belief in her enlisted parental support for a science career and gave her confidence in her chosen field.
Angela discusses how persuasion from her teachers helped her feel more confident about her abilities in science.
Angela talks about how her parents encouraged her to seek information about her areas of interest in science and how their engagement supported her.
Angela talks about how she learned goal setting and the value of hard work from her most influential role models – her parents.
Teachers and Classrooms
Kris uses preparation to decrease test anxiety and instills confidence in her students that they are ready.