Today we’re going to be talking about how to become a confident learner. It’s all too easy to think that confidence comes from achieving higher grades but this isn’t necessary. Confidence is something we can build BEFORE we achieve the results we really want. Imagine how much smoother your studying journey would be if you just had a little more confidence. Listen to this week’s minisode to find out how to get some.
This post originated as a podcast episode which you can listen to below or search for episode 136 of the Chloe Made Me Study podcast. Or, if you’re a more of a learn-by-reading student, carry on for the rough-and-ready blog version based on the script.
What it means to be a confident learner.
What shifts maybe need to happen in you noggin’ to help you feel more confident.
Confidence is NOT: I am always right.
It IS… I am not afraid to be wrong.
Confidence is NOT: I will achieve the highest grade in my next assignment.
It IS… My self-worth and determination will not be damaged by receiving low grades.
Confidence and high grades do not go hand-in-hand. By this I mean you don’t have to be acing every assignment or exam to feel like a confident student. You can feel confident before you see great results, or even if you never see them.
Now you may be thinking, whuut? But this is a BIG part of the work I’m currently focusing on.
You don’t need to be achieving awesome grades right now to feel like a confident learner.
Being a confident learner is about believing…setbacks will not derail me. I’m not afraid to try new strategies. I’m open to feedback. I’m willing to reach out for support.
Developing confidence as a learner means developing that deep knowledge that whatever studying challenges are thrown your way, you will be able to overcome them. That you’ll be able to problem-solve and find a solution…OR if this specific challenge is not resolvable exactly…perhaps if you were to fail a class and have to retake it…confidence means knowing that your desire and love for learning will not be damaged by your struggles. Your self-worth will remain intact.
It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that I AM a confident learner (if I wasn’t then I mighttt be in the wrong business). It took me a long while to get to this point. But what does that look like in practice?
It means that you could throw any learning situation in front of me and I would be confident that I’d eventually smash it. Even if on my first attempt I freaked out at the amount of knowledge I would have to gain and skills I’d need to develop…I’d be confident that I’d eventually gain what I need. Because I’ve survived and thrived in learning before. I’ve gone from clueless on tons of subjects to being able to write assignments about it and discuss ideas with other people. I’ve gone from not even knowing what referencing was, or critical thinking…to having an expert grasp of them. So if I have proof that I HAVE learned something successfully before…then I can for sure do it again.
It might take multiple tries.
And some tears.
And it might take uplevelling some skills…asking for support…hearing some difficult feedback.
But I’ll get there eventually.
And so will you!
For you to be a confident learner…
…you just need to be willing to do the work to become a better learner.
So you may not be at the point, or ever be at the point, where you instantly know how to tackle every type of assignment or how to overcome every challenge your studying can throw at you…but you’ll know that you WILL eventually work it out. That you will be tenacious, you will problem-solve, you will be resilient.
Reframing what it means to be a confident learner has SO many benefits. It normalises taking a while to experience ‘success.’ It normalises struggle and mistakes. It gives you insight into the steps and strategies involved in achieving academic success – and if we know what these are we’ll find it easier to take action on them.
Andddd by embracing the identity of a confident learner – by believing that you ARE a confident learner, before you may have achieved the awesome results you might expect…you’ll be able to ask yourself in tricky situations, what would a confident student do right now? Then go do that.
So go out there and kickass. You’ve got this. Take this week and make it your own because you’ve got this.
For this week, think about the identity you want to embrace as a student.
Do you want to be a confident student?
Or a productive student?
A focused student?
Or do you want to be a proactive, determined student?
Do you want to be a student who starts their essays early?
What about a student who loves their course and is actively seeking new concepts about their subject? Who looks to engage in the material and think critically about the theories handed to them?
Ways to listen:
- Listen in the player above
- Click to listen on Apple Podcasts.
- Click to listen on Spotify.
- Click to listen on Google Podcasts.
Resources and links:
- Check out my membership, the Kickbutt Students Club.
- Check out my range of study skills trainings.
- Sign up to my awesome email newsletter – Students Who Graduate.
- Grab a copy of my book – The Return to Study Handbook.