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Teachers need to bring girls out of their comfort zones and encourage them to take risks, says the GDST

Teachers must cultivate confidence in girls, study finds

Teachers need to encourage girls no matter how confident they appear, the Girls' Day School Trust (GDST) has found

Posted by Stephanie Broad | October 31, 2016 | Teaching

Research analysis from the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) identifies that however confident girls appear, teachers must ‘reassure, reiterate and clarify’.

Speaking at the annual ‘Young Leaders’ Conference’, GDST CEO, Cheryl Giovannoni, said that teachers have a responsibility to reassure girls that making mistakes and facing difficulties is an integral part of the learning process.

“It is widely acknowledged that boys and girls learn differently, but this new analysis clearly identifies that the best teachers consistently bring girls out of their comfort zones and encourage them to take risks. It also confirms that teaching practices that set out to challenge girls are succeeding in developing more resilient learners. Creating stable, secure learning environments enables girls to become more confident and self-assured. When transferred into the workplace, these qualities quite literally pay dividends as women are able to negotiate and speak-up more effectively, particularly on issues around pay and promotion,” she said.

Also speaking at the event was Ann Francke, Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

Young people need to understand that confidence plays a big part in why male managers are more likely to get promoted than women - Ann Francke, Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

“Young people need to understand that confidence plays a big part in why male managers are more likely to get promoted than women. Women need to be bold, put themselves forward for promotion, take more risks, learn how to fail and bounce back. All of these professional skills can be learned early on, such as through doing a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship,” she said.

Recent research from the CMI identified that while women comprise 73% of the workforce in entry and junior level roles, female representation drops to 42% at the level of senior management. Just 32% of director-level posts are held by women and male managers are 40% more likely than female managers to be promoted.

Resilience and a preparedness to take risks are what make young women stand out from the crowd - Cheryl Giovannoni, GDST CEO

“Independent thinking is a highly desirable attribute in the workplace but it isn’t something you can sit an exam in. Resilience and a preparedness to take risks are what make young women stand out from the crowd – whether in large meetings, unfamiliar surroundings or high-stakes situations. As well as building character there is strong evidence that these qualities also aid progression,” added Giovannoni.

The Young Leaders’ Conference gives student leaders from across the GDST network real-life experience of leadership, working as part of a team in an ‘Apprentice-style’ challenge for one of the four charities showcasing their work at the event: Hope & Homes for Children, Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, MicroLoan Foundation and The Lily Foundation (which raises awareness of Mitochondrial disease).

Many women working their way up major global companies still suffer setbacks and challenges because of their gender. Equipping young women with relevant leadership skills – including teamwork, communication, negotiation, problem solving and financial management – will benefit them enormously when they embark on their chosen careers.

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