I teach English to 3rd level students and adults in France and Switzerland. As a coach I understand well the importance of self-confidence and the belief that we can learn the language.
In one of my classes I asked students to send me email with their 20 successes – life, sport, education, anything really. The purpose of this activity is to write in English and reflect on their past successes so they can increase their self-confidence and trust in themselves. This is a well-known coaching tool. It helps us to use previous successes to find courage and strength to achieve new ones.
Some of the students loved the exercise, submitted the work on time, send me even more than 20 items. You could see a lot of maturity in some of the answers. Approx. 30% of students found it difficult to identify 20 things that they were proud of and that they’ve achieved. Some confused the success bank with gratifications. Some sent me only 5 and said that they didn’t have any more to share with me. One particular student said he had none. This was heart breaking. How an 18 year old can think that he has never been successful?
After short negotiations via email he submitted the list. I was very proud of him as he included completing this activity as his 20th success. I hope I gave him a new model that he can use to think about himself.
Another client listed all the successes related to speaking English and thanks to this she got rid of her irrational fear of publicly speaking English. Her motivation spiked and after 4 English sessions she couldn’t stop talking.
There is hope.