[3-minute read] Our 2018-2019 calendar emphasizes developing an understanding & responding to the context of your classroom. We start with an inspirational quote, back it up with research, then provide you with classroom application ideas. Our May 2019 blog post, written by Instructional Designer Travis Irby, provides examples of how to foster student confidence.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” -Helen Keller

Building student confidence is pivotal in creating successful student outcomes in community colleges. Students with low confidence struggle with achieving college success, while those with high confidence are more likely to succeed in a college.

Creating successful outcomes is key for students to attaining a college degree. Students with more earned successes have increased confidence in their ability to complete a college degree (Bickerstaff, et al., 2017). Without confidence in their success, students’ ability to successfully finish college is greatly reduced.

In a diverse environment like ACC, it is important to take into account students’ cultural backgrounds when trying to foster student confidence. Not all students will have the same level of confidence and each student will need different methods to increase their confidence. Creating confidence in a multicultural student population is a must to ensure their success. All students do better when they are more confident but methods for raising that confidence are going to be as diverse as the student population itself.

Instructors should focus on establishing techniques that allow them to counteract student self-held narratives that may decrease their confidence. Use questions and prompts like these to help build a strong counter-narrative in order to counteract students’ negative views of themselves (Hammond, 2014):

  • Remember during the first month when we had to really work at [fill in the blank]. Now you can do that automatically.
  • Tell me what went well for you during the lesson.
  • What interesting thing did you do as a writer [reader, thinker, or mathematician] today?

The first prompt is designed to help students remember the challenge that they overcame. It also reminds the student, that not only did they overcome the challenge but that they mastered the challenge. This will provide an incentive to overcome forthcoming challenges.

The second prompt allows the student to find areas of success in a lesson. By focusing on areas of success, instead of failure, the student can achieve a higher level of confidence about a lesson.

The third prompt allows the student agency over their writing. This prompt shows the instructor is invested in the student’s product and believes it is worthwhile.

Student confidence is crucial to college success. The higher the confidence, the higher the likelihood of success. Recognizing the needs of a diverse student population is fundamental to developing its confidence. Not all students are going to have the same needs for creating confidence in their success. Nor are all the same methods going to work for students. As an instructor, it is important to use a variety of methods to meet the cultural needs of your students and raise their confidence.


To support faculty who are exploring and implementing culturally responsive teaching in their courses, we’ve created a Private Facebook Group to facilitate collegial conversations.

CRTxACC members are encouraged to share resources, experiences, and questions to deepen their understanding of culturally responsive teaching.

Join the Online Community


Bickerstaff, Susan, et al. “Experiences of Earned Success: Community College Students’ Shifts in College Confidence.” International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, vol. 29, no. 3, 01 Jan. 2017, pp. 501-510.

Hammond, Z. (2014). Culturally responsive teaching and the brain: Promoting authentic engagement and rigor among culturally and linguistically diverse students. Corwin Press.