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Teaching Skills Teaching Skills > How to Teach > Teaching Skills Series > The virtuous circles of confidence building
Summary: How to pace lessons and keep students - building and maintaining your students level of confidence in their ability to learn

The virtuous circles of confidence building

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Your students' confidence in their ability to learn is like stored energy to you as a guitar tutor. The more of this confidence they have, the faster you can take them onwards and upwards - the steeper the slope you can get them to climb.

All else being equal, working with a student who has a healthy level of confidence is a real joy. The lesson goes by in a flash and both of you come out of it energised by the experience.

Conversely, working with someone whose confidence is low is an uphill struggle. All the energy, all the enthusiasm has to come from you the tutor. These lessons drag by, seeming to take hours, and leave you exhausted at the end of them.

Each new student arrives with a certain level of confidence in their ability to learn. This level seems to be established by genetics, as modified by how they were parented, and how they were taught in their early years of general education

In one sense you can only work with the raw material you are given. But how you teach your students has a huge influence on the development of their confidence.

We want to establish a Virtuous Circle of Confidence building that goes something like this:

  • You engage your student in a task that they can achieve.
  • Achieving the task increases their confidence
  • You engage them in a slightly tougher task.
  • Their increased confidence enables them to apply themselves to the more difficult task.
  • They achieve the more difficult task
  • Their confidence is increased all the more
  • You engage them in a task that is slightly tougher still.

........and so on round and round.

This approach to tutoring means that they come out of each lesson with a significantly higher level of confidence than when they went into it and this feeds into yet another virtuous circle:

  • They feel good about their playing.
  • They practice more frequently and for longer and with more enthusiasm.
  • They improve faster.
  • They get more enjoyment from their playing
  • They practice even more
  • etc...etc...

So the subject of the students' confidence in their ability to learn is a crucial one and much of the detailed advice I have to give on the subject of teaching guitar is focused on this.

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