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Confidence of children from Private Schools
How do they do it?!


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61 replies to this topic

#1 Moneypenny2014

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:56 PM

I've come to the conclusion that generally speaking, children (and adults) from private schools ooze confidence! Which I personally think is fantastic.
I'm sure this is not always the case, but just looking at the people I have dealt with through work and socially over the past 15 years, this would generally appear to be the case.
I grew up going to public schools and the children were very different from our private school counterparts - we lacked confidence and were quite shy in comparison to the others who could strike up and hold a conversation with anyone, were exceptionally well mannered nand well, they just ooxed confidence! At age 21 I was hopeless and after a couple of years working for a small company amongst lots of private school colleagues and business partners I somehow managed to get rid of my shyness.
So, can anyone tell me if you have children who attend a private school why you think confidence is so normal?
I'd love for my children to be confident and whilst they are for the most part (lots of encouragement from us), I wondered how the private schools seemed to do this given I'm sure many people are not naturally confident people.
Thoughts??


#2 Soontobegran

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:02 PM

I am sorry but I think this is a huge generalisation original.gif
I think it has very little to do with the school and a lot to do with the personality of the child and their parenting.

#3 Expelliarmus

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:04 PM

I don't think it has anything to do with private schools. I wouldn't have a clue who was privately educated. Most people I know are publically educated, they show no more or less confidence than those who were privately educated.

#4 Fr0g

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:05 PM

I disagree with your generalisation. I don't think confidence comes from public or private schooling; I believe it is a mixture of genetics/ environment (home and school and social)/ life experience/ personality.

Do your bit as a parent, find a school which meets your child's needs (public OR private), and hope for the best original.gif

#5 marnie27

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:07 PM

I think that's a sweeping generalisation. In my social circle there are both types of people from a variety of schooling backgrounds.

#6 babatjie

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:07 PM

I do know what you mean and I do agree to an extent.

#7 Feral Grey Mare

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:08 PM

I must show this to my brother who teaches at a private boarding school. He needs a good laugh.

#8 *Lib*

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:09 PM

I went to a very expensive private boarding school.....there is no confidence oozing from me!

Edited by *Lib*, 14 November 2012 - 10:27 PM.


#9 kay11

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:16 PM

I've actually felt this too and I know what you mean. It's not necessarily the private school maybe (my sister was horribly bullied in a private school) but perhaps some public schools were not very encouraging for academic kids and maybe there wasn't a lot of opportunity to meet other bookish/academic kids and socialise in their interests more?

#10 Gumbette

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:17 PM

Private school educated - no confidence oozing here I can assure you.

#11 Moneypenny2014

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:25 PM

Interesting replies both disagreeing and agreeing.
We actually had this conversation at work recently (as in four people aged 30's, 40's and 2 in their 50's) and all agreed that you can tell who went to a private school the instant you met them!

#12 Magnus

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:26 PM

I know it's a generalisation, but I do agree with you. I think people from selective schools often tend to have a similar sort of confidence too. I think it probably just comes from being told you're at the best school and knowing you're part of an elite.

I don't think this would apply as much to small, private and small, Catholic private schools, but I do know heaps of very confident people from the big name private and selective schools.

#13 Beltie

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:28 PM

I don't know if it is private vs public. Like most people I have a biased view from only attending one school.

Confidence in exchanges outside of your circle of family and friends can be taught. Some people will have it naturally but not everyone.

A parent can teach this to their children however the opportunity may not happen in all families.

I went to a school that explicitly taught social skills for uncomfortable or unequal relationships. At the time it was intimidating but I do believe it helped me in my early days of job interviews and talking to "bosses".

The school was grade 3 − 12 with 2 campuses. From primary school we went to the senior campus once a term in small groups, sat in the headmistress' office and had morning tea with her. She was a very firm but fair woman who asked us each to tell her a little about our siblings, pets and other interests. She asked us if we had any concerns about school and what we wanted to do in the future.

On reflection it was practise in talking to someone we didn't know well, who held more power than us and who we wanted to impress. She was worthy of our respect and everyone I saw tried to speak clearly, politely and with a little charm to engage her interest. Basically, we practised looking confident when we weren't confident at all.

There were other opportunities such as lots of outside speakers who would provide small group question and answer sessions and visits to local nursing homes to talk to residents.

Yes, it was a private school but it's just one school so not sure if it backs up your theory or is just an isolated example.

Edited by Beltie, 14 November 2012 - 10:39 PM.


#14 milkwood

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:32 PM

To try and answer your question....
Some thoughts:
"to whom much is given, much will be required". Some private schools emphasise charity, and the responsibility that comes with privilege.  This is a skill that takes practice, and some private systems provide opportunities for practicing this.  
Some private schools are structured or have the additional resources to emphasise leadership.  All those extra "fluffy" at times "traditional" things that are expected and developed, drama plays, endless house competitions, provide endless opportunities to practice leadership.
Some private schools have a strong cultural identity to which students are expected and encouraged to conform (this can have very negative consequences also in some settings).  I am thinking about sweat pants worn years later (by his girlfriend(s)?!) at uni, rugby jumpers, memorial blazers, old student networks.  This is generally less prominent in state schools.  Does having an aspect of your identity firmly bound to an institution confer confidence?  I think for some people it probably does.
Finally, some private schools offer heaps of things to do.  Perhaps if you are in an orchestra, choir, two sports teams each season, diving, the skiing team, learn to debate, go on an international trip, go on a charity trip, go on a self-discovery term/year away, direct a play or two, are in a few musicals over the years, write for the school magazine and have your poems published after spending time with a writer in residence, take up photography and graphic design, and become enthralled in many aspects of learning through academic work you might just master more than others can in the average high school with more limited resources, and less options.  Perhaps this sense of mastery in a great range of areas gives confidence.  (This is obviously a slight exaggeration of what one human can achieve in one school life... or is it?   This and so much more is on offer at some private schools.)

#15 BearBait

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:35 PM

I noticed this more in the UK where you could almost tell the school from the manner in which they spoke. Also those educated in certain schools tended to drop it into conversation quite early on. But that's the UK, different rules in Oz.

#16 kay11

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:35 PM

QUOTE (Beltie @ 14/11/2012, 11:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
On reflection it was practice in talking to someone we didn't know well, who held more power than us and who we wanted to impress. She was worthy of our respect and everyone I saw tried to speak clearly, politely and with a little charm to engage her interest. Basically, we practiced looking confident when we weren't confident at all.


See I don't think I ever ever spoke to the principal at school in that sort of a way. They dealt with troublemakers and other issues. Well behaved kids that did the work just flew under the radar.

I was actually pulled up for it at university by a lecturer - I went to ask a question and someone was after me and so I stopped talking to let them go. The lecturer pointed out to me that I was there first and he would answer my questions first.


#17 RichardParker

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:43 PM

For willing students, a private school can definitely add a layer of polish and provide a sense of identity and belonging.  For others, it something to rebel against. I think of I'd gonetoprivate school I would have lapped every inch of it up.

#18 Soontobegran

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:51 PM

QUOTE (Oilucy @ 14/11/2012, 11:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Interesting replies both disagreeing and agreeing.
We actually had this conversation at work recently (as in four people aged 30's, 40's and 2 in their 50's) and all agreed that you can tell who went to a private school the instant you met them!


I am in my 50's, my parents were privately educated, I wasn't but many of my peers were, my own children were not either but many of their peers were also.
When I trained for nursing our hospital was reknown for it's enrolment of private school kids, there were nearly 200 students in the intake and there were less than 10 who were NOT privately educated and I can say from my experience and that of my children that it has nothing to do with the private/public system but individual personalities, family upbringing and perhaps the demographics of the area you were brought up in and went to school in.
Many of the most socially inept/awkward people I know are private schooled.

#19 somila

Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:27 AM

QUOTE (Oilucy @ 14/11/2012, 09:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
At age 21 I was hopeless
Thoughts??

My husband read this and says he is still hopeless! He spent his entire school life at an exclusive private school, but didn't really gain confidence until he found his professional calling and met me. original.gif

I have taught at independent, Catholic and public high schools and do not find any truth in your massive generalization.

#20 Unatheowl

Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:30 AM

QUOTE (*Lib* @ 14/11/2012, 11:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I went to a very expensive private boarding school.....there is no confidence oozing from me!



I did too.  I'd have to say during highschool what little confidence I did have was surely crushed.  Not saying it was the ault of the school but it cetainly did nothing to help original.gif

AMongst myself and my friends we all lacked confidence badly

Greenbag, these arent the only two things that can happen in private school.  It can be intensely competitive and the teachers are  as cliquey and b**chy as the girls.  If you are not the top five in sport or academic pursuits then you are bullied and humiliated even if you are doing very well generally.  I guess some people rise to this but it can crush others.  Its more then just your "attitude".

Edited by Unatheowl, 15 November 2012 - 10:35 AM.


#21 NATPR

Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:37 AM

I went to P.S and no, I was very shy.  From Kinder age all the way through, my personality did not alter from going private.

I did become less shy as I got older - around high 20's, but never ooozing it.

Maybe its the parenting that instills the confidence, together with the child's personality?  

There are a lot of naturally confident people in the world!

#22 nowuckers

Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:39 AM

Yeah OP! And they smell better too!

#23 Fluster

Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:41 AM

I agree, but think it's more limited to children from middle to top end/prestigious private schools.  I put it down to being more likely to have wealthy parents, to know people who are in professional careers and see it as an achievable goal for yourself, (rather than being like me and graduating in 1998 believing $35k was a great salary, and not knowing a single professional) and to not be bogged down thinking 'gee I'm lucky to have a job - 45% of my peers are unemployed and not in full time study'.

What I'm actually trying to say is that if you come from a wealthier, more privileged background, you are more likely to have higher goals, and to believe they're achievable.  You're highly unlikely, for example, to be wondering if anyone notices that your parents couldn't afford the braces you really needed.

Obviously this won't apply to everyone, but as a rule, I think it's pretty true.

#24 BadCat

Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:43 AM

This is nothing whatsoever to do with private versus public.

A good school will work to instil confidence in all it's students.  Good parents will work to instil confidence in their children.  And certain personalities will be more confident than others.

Edited by BadCat, 15 November 2012 - 10:43 AM.


#25 HRH Countrymel

Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:43 AM

QUOTE (Oilucy @ 14/11/2012, 11:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Interesting replies both disagreeing and agreeing.
We actually had this conversation at work recently (as in four people aged 30's, 40's and 2 in their 50's) and all agreed that you can tell who went to a private school the instant you met them!


You can tell the stereotype.. but that works both ways.

I can assure you that some of my friends who went to some of the 'best' (ie: most expensive) private schools both here and in the UK have worked stupidly hard to rebel from that stereotype.. you wouldn't 'spot them' .

Wheras often one hears a highly amused cackle and the following "No my dear *insert name of very 'rough' state school".. when a simpering social climber tries the old "Are you an old boy/old girl of *insert name of posh school* too?" when enduring a paint dryingly interesting event hosted by said institution...







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