Task list that represents a paper process that teachers used to follow to plan standards-based goals for students
Written by Susan Milliones on September 13, 2019

Cognitive-based Instruction

4 Thinking Challenges That Shake Student (And Teacher) Confidence

Study after study shows that confidence and self-efficacy have a significant positive impact on student effort and achievement. This week we will look at 4 thinking challenges and how they shake student confidence.

Thinking Challenge #1- Students who say “I don’t remember!”

Students with weak memory skills are likely to be the least confident students in their classrooms for 2 reasons. First, memory is the most vital thinking challenge because it supports the three thinking challenges described below. Second, classrooms still rely very heavily on an outdated approach that promotes rote memorization of facts and information. Students with memory challenges are usually the most inattentive people in the classroom.

Thinking Challenge #2- Students who say “I don’t know what you are talking about.”

Students with weak background knowledge or schema lack confidence because they cannot make connections to things they already know about or have experienced. They have weak vocabularies and they don’t see the relevance of the topic. Students with schema challenges are usually the most unmotivated people in the classroom.

Thinking Challenge #3- Students who say “I have no idea what to do.”

Some students lack confidence in their ability to figure out what to do and how to do it. They have difficulty setting a goal and problem solving to achieve it. They can be unorganized and have difficulty following directions. Students with reasoning challenges are often the most frustrated people in the classroom.

Thinking Challenge #4- Students who say ”I’m still on question 1!”

These students lack confidence in their ability to work quickly and efficiently and keep up with their peers. They remember the concepts, can make the connections, and know what to do… but they grow really anxious because it takes them a little longer to think it through. Students with efficiency challenges are usually the most stressed-out people in the classroom.

This is a general look at the 4 thinking challenges that shake student confidence. Some students are clearly challenged in one thinking area. Some students, especially students with memory challenges, may show a lack of confidence in 2 or 3 of these thinking challenges.

Teacher confidence

Teacher confidence comes from the ability to recognize inattention, lack of motivation, frustration, and anxiety as a lack of student confidence that comes from challenges to thinking. When teachers understand the thinking challenge that fuels the behavior, they are much better able to remove the barriers, build confidence, and connect their students to the core. If you find this helpful, feel free to share it with a friend.

Want to learn how to connect every student to the core where you are?

Dot It directly connects the four thinking challenges students face to the best instructional solutions in every tier, including special education. There is nothing like DOT IT out there. It’s the best tool in the world for connecting everyone to the core.


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