Submitted by: Leslie Culpepper
When talking about motivation, self-efficacy is a very important factor. Self-efficacy is the belief in yourself to meet a goal or attain a certain outcome. Self-efficacy affects how we feel, think and act. Some people have high self-efficacy and others have low. Let’s pretend that you are about to jump out of an airplane. What is the voice inside your head telling you? The voice is a reflection of your self-efficacy. If the voice inside your head is telling you that you can do it, more than likely you will. If you are uncertain that you can do it, you probably can’t.
People high in self-efficacy take better care of themselves, see tasks as something to be mastered, and they feel more empowered. (LeVan, 2010) They learn from failure and use it to create success. They have a greater sense of motivation and persistence. These students with high self-efficacy know how to improve their own performances. They are more engaged, have better achievement and have greater task persistence. (Barkley, 2006)
Students with poor self-efficacy have low aspirations which may result in substandard academic performances. They look at challenges as threats that should be avoided. They fall victim easily to depression and stress. Children with low self-efficacy have low commitment to goals and give up when faced with difficulties. It has been linked to helplessness, anxiety and depression. (LeVan, 2010) Learned helplessness is the perception developed through experience that no matter what you do, you will not be competent in a domain. (Bergin & Bergin, 2012) These students believe that they cannot do something no matter how hard they try.
How can students gain self-efficacy?
– Mastery experiences: successful experiences enhance self-efficacy
– Vicarious experiences: watching others succeed strengthens own beliefs
– Verbal persuasion: boosting and motivating others to do their best
– Emotional state: being positive and happy can boost self-efficacy
Efficacy beliefs are powerful predictors of performance, not only for students but also for teachers. (Barkley, 2006) Teachers with low efficacy beliefs find it complicated to teach to the individual needs of their students. Teachers who are found to be highly efficacious in their teaching beliefs and strategies typically find it easier to both confront and correct educational pitfalls in the classroom. (Barkley, 2006) Current research does show that teacher efficacy is linked to student efficacy and student motivation. (Barkley, 2006) Students need teachers who will promote day-to-day activities resulting in activities designed to maintain high but accurate self-efficacy beliefs. (Barkley, 2006) They also need challenging tasks with positive feedback and the understanding that ability is a controllable aspect of learning. It is crucial that students have a positive role model to help them be successful.
There are a few things to avoid as educators. Try to avoid instruction that does not allow student input. Let students take control of their learning so it can be tailored to individual performance. Avoid goal driven instruction. It can put too much pressure on students and emphasize extrinsic outcomes. (Kirk, 2012) Also try to avoid comparing student performances to each other. This can really lower the self-efficacy of many students.
Barkley, J. (2006) Reading Education: Is Self-Efficacy Important? Reading Improvement, 43. Retrieved from: http://finditatmu.library.missouri.edu/0034-0510v43n4
Bergin, C. C., & Bergin, D. A. (2012). Child and adolescent development in your classroom. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
Kirk, Karin (2012). Self Efficacy: Do you Believe you can be Successful?, 32 Degrees: The Journal of Professional Snowsports Instruction, Winter 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.32degreesmagazine.org/lookinside32degrees/winter2012?pg=80#pg75
LeVan, A. (2010). If You Think You Can’t…Think Again: The Sway of Self-Efficacy. Retrieved from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/flourish/201002/if-you-think-you-can-t-think-again-the-sway-self-efficacy
1. Have you had a student with low self-efficacy? How did you help them?
2. What are some ways that you could give students control over their learning?
3. What do you do to increase self-efficacy with your students on a daily basis?
4. Do you know a teacher with low self-efficacy? Have you seen the effects it can have on students?
5. Have you ever had a student with learned helplessness?