Self Efficacy

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Self-efficacy is the developing sense of personal effectiveness as a learner and an enhanced awareness of one’s own capacity to learn and perform tasks. How does this concept relate to students who are underachieving, and what can be done to improve their self-efficacy? Self- efficacy is a crucial component of a student’s development; it enhances the student’s capability and willingness to undertake challenging tasks, interactive effects of student’s personal characteristics, behaviours and social reinforcement foster this. When a student suffers from low self-efficacy it can result in low academic achievement and/or behavioural issues and eventually depression therefore it is most crucial to help improve their self-efficacy as much as we can as teachers. With a range of strategies this essay investigates what contributes to a healthy self-efficacy belief, what happens when a student suffers from low self-efficacy and what we can do as teachers to improve a student’s self-efficacy? By becoming informed about self-efficacy and what factors and influences affect a student’s self-efficacy are the keys to help to improve their self-efficacy.

Self-efficacy is a crucial element of the social cognitive theory and knowing how the theory relates to students especially students who are underachieving is crucial when teaching. Social cognitive theory is a theory of how people learn to become self-regulated learners through the interactive effects of their personal characteristics, behaviours and social reinforcement and self-efficacy is an instinct component (Bandura, 1977). Bandura (1977) believes that self-efficacy beliefs (both positive and negative thoughts) influence a person’s use of self-regulating skills. Self-efficacy is built through a range of factors such as performance accomplishments- previous performance results on similar tasks, verbal persuasion-engagement by a stakeholder, emotional arousal- the emotions that we feel when we prepare to engage in a task or vicarious experience- observation the successes and failures of other individuals we are close with such as a friend of sibling. Bandura (1977) refers to these components as antecedents and there is effects that influence this process such as selection processes for example sport groups and social activities, cognitive processes which is the ability to imagining a successful performance, there is also the motivational process which is the level of effort of the degree of persistence. Lastly the affective process that relates to a level of anxiety, depression or ability to cope with risky tasks (Bandura, 1977). The self-efficacy beliefs have a three-point process; this process is forethought- thought before beginning the task, performance- during the course of the task and self-reflection- response or series of responses that occur after the task and as a result of the performance of the task. When a student has high self-efficacy beliefs they are believe that they can perform well and feel motivated to seek challenges, manage anxiety better and enjoy discovering new things (Beland , 2007). This theory explains a number of emotional connections to student’s ability and wiliness to undertake tasks but what happens when a students that are underachieving and therefore are not getting this positive reinforcement.

Self-efficacy is a crucial element of the social cognitive theory and knowing how the theory relates to students especially students who are underachieving is crucial when teaching. When a student’s self-efficacy is low it can result in low academic achievement and behavioural issues. A student’s self-efficacy can be effected by a range of factors, as mentioned above self-efficacy has many dimensions and a number of factors can impact on students. If a student is constantly receiving negative comments for example if a student is constantly being told they are not good at mathematics by their peers and teachers and the student does not have any...
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