Ready-to-use Schools work: Confidence
This is an activity designed for Year 8 students (aged 12/13) and older, aiming to explain what real confidence is like and to encourage students
to explore what gives them confidence. It can be used in lessons or in a group working on the subject of self-esteem.
Ask the students to list the things that make them feel confident and write these in a list on the board. Some examples might include having a good hair day, someone complimenting them, doing well in a school subject or being with friends. Then ask the students what stops them feeling confident and put these in to a different list. Some examples may include being bullied or not knowing anyone in a group.
Create a graph on the board, with ‘confidence level’ on one axis and the hours of the day on the other. Using the examples the students gave, go through a person’s day and show how their confidence might look. For example, their confidence might start on a high level because they are having a good hair day, but then someone on the school bus says something horrible and it goes down. Getting a good score in a test might make it go up again, but then a teacher says something that discourages them.
After doing a general example on the board, ask students to put together their own graph of a recent day in their lives, using their own examples of events that raised or lowered their confidence. Give them 10 minutes to think about the things that affect them and to draw this out on A4 paper copying the axes that you showed on the board.
Give students space to reflect on whether they are happy with how their confidence level graph looks and ask if they want their confidence to be based on the external factors that they have thought about. Suggest to the students that real confidence does not depend on what happens in our day. Explain that if confidence is based on the things that they listed, then it will constantly be changing. By doing this, we are putting our confidence in the hands of other people. This is because we think our value is based on what other people think. Ask the group - what if our value was based on something that was constant and unchanging?
Show the students how to make a simple origami box, which is made from two parts - a lid and a bottom (see picture – search online for some simple tutorials). After the students have made their boxes, they can then decorate them but on the inside only. This may be done with the box pieces staying together, or unfolding the boxes and working out what bits only show inside.
Explain that this box represents them, and that they can decorate the inside as something unique to them. Suggestions for what to put inside can include things that inspire them, skills and talents they have, the names of important people in their life, ways other people have encouraged them or things they are passionate about - anything that they feel represents who they are.
For those working with Christian groups, you can encourage them to put things from their faith in the box, such as Bible verses or lyrics from songs that mean something to them.
Say: confidence is not like the graph we made earlier, based on outside influences. Confidence is not a feeling, something that goes up and down depending on what our hair looks like or if someone compliments us.
Confidence is like the inside of this box. No one else can see it or touch it, but you know what is in there. It doesn’t matter what might get written on the outside of it, or what people might think about it - none of that affects the inside. Real confidence is something that we have inside us - we don’t have more or less of it depending on what happens in our day. Other people don’t create your confidence; it is something you have to have yourself. When you know that you are valuable, no one can touch that. If someone calls you a horrible name, you are still valuable. If someone rejects you, you are still valuable.
If you wish to add a Christian reflection to this activity, here is a suggestion for a conclusion:
Christians believe that our value comes from God, who made us and loves us. This is why our value is unchanging, because God never changes how he feels about us. In the Bible, it says that we are a fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139), and Jesus tells us not to worry about the clothes we wear or what we look like because God values us (Matthew 6). This is why we can have confidence, because it comes from the belief that our value never changes, that we are loved and that fact never changes.