Building Self-Efficacy in Students
Recommendations for building self-efficacy in students
Content from Positive Psychology.com
Significant studies have shown a positive learning environment can play a crucial role in building self-efficacy among students of all ages. Research on teaching methods and self-efficacy found that when teachers followed a more interactive and collaborative learning approach, students had a higher self-efficacy score than when they learned in strict or closed classroom situations.
Although the study was conducted on a group of students pursuing a particular subject, the results were validated and held consistent when re-examined later on in different age groups (Fencl and Scheel, 2005).
Undoubtedly, classroom training is one of the crucial and most important media for promoting and building self-efficacy.
A student with strong efficacy will:
- Feel confident about his/her learning abilities and will do good in assessments.
- Be interested in taking part in classroom activities and being proactive all the time.
- Use the information efficiently to benefit his academic career.
- Be motivated to apply and adapt to new lessons.
- Show strong intrinsic motivation to learn from mistakes and overcome hurdles.
- Inspire others with his/her way of life and achievements.
How To Best Promote Self-Efficacy In The Classroom
Bandura said that co-operative and holistic learning structures help students to work in association with each other and feel good about themselves. In such conditions, they are likely to feel rewarded and will do better in academic assessments than in isolation. A conducive learning environment allows students to face and enjoy the challenges – they perceive difficult tasks as something to cater to, rather than to shun away from. And as a result, they become more persistent, resilient, and self-assured. Here are some ways that can help in promoting self-efficacy in the classroom:
1. Effective Communication
Effective communication includes teaching the students how to identify their goals, acknowledge their abilities, and focus only on their strengths. Teaching self-efficacy is more comfortable when students are self-aware and know their intentions. Simple ways of practicing effective communication in the classroom environment may include praise when a student puts in real effort. A student may or may not succeed, but the encouragement will prevent them from doubting themselves. By using affirmations like “You can do it,” “You are smart enough,” and “I trust you,” we can help the students to believe in themselves.
2. Honest Feedback
Appreciations must be honest. If teachers go on praising students in the absence of any hard work or achievement, it will end up making the student delusional about himself. Teachers and classroom facilitators must be watchful of when to praise and when to point out the mistakes, and at the same time, ensure that no sincere effort goes unappreciated. Praising students for their achievements, no matter how small they may be, goes a long way in boosting their self-confidence, especially when it comes from a teacher or guide. It helps them to try harder the next time and learn from their mistakes.
3. Healthy Environment
A great way to endorse self-efficacy in the classroom is by creating a stress-free conducive learning atmosphere. An interactive lesson, a high-energy and non-judgmental assessment, or an engaging group activity can help in making the learning environment more comfortable. As a result, students will feel less burdened and can communicate without any barriers. Many pedagogical studies have emphasized that group activities on nature make the students better team performers and foster a sense of self in them.
4. Positive Strategies
Positive pedagogical strategies for building self-efficacy in the classroom involve strategies that imbibe strength and self-belief in students (Schunk and Pajares, 2002). Such methods may include:
- Setting short-term goals and helping students to achieve them one by one
- Allowing them to talk about their problems and how they plan to deal with them
- Not comparing a student with other students and letting them follow their own pace
- Setting goals according to individual abilities
Teachers have a strong influence on students. They become role models and students draw inspiration from them. To instill self-efficacy in students, it is thus vital that the teachers and facilitators are efficient too. A student who grows up learning from someone who is under-confident or less supportive will likely be showing similar traits himself. And a student who learns from a confident and positive person will start building a firm trust in himself and reflect the positive energy that he receives in the classroom.
How to Improve and Build Self-Efficacy in Students
1. Choose task difficulty wisely
If tasks are too difficult or too dull, students may lose interest or avoid them for fear of failure. Moderately difficult tasks that are interesting and engaging are the ones that build self-confidence and increase attention in students (Margolis and McCabe, 2006).
2. Use peer role models
Sometimes, it is easier for students to relate to people of their age or at least close. Watching a friend work hard and come up with a solution may encourage them to try that themselves. But at the same time, teachers must remember not to make the comparisons so stark that they hurt the student or make them feel small.
3. Allow freedom
Self-efficacy starts with autonomy. Students who are allowed to decide for themselves and choose their ways are more self-reliant and independent. It is always a good idea to let them choose their tasks so that they get to do what they want to and not lose interest in it.
4. Active feedback from students
Feedback is are powerful classroom tool for building efficacy. Strategies may include asking students to write their comments and feedback at the end of each learning session or keeping the last few minutes of the class for letting them ask questions and discuss their opinions. Vocalizing own thoughts lets the students judge themselves and also helps the teachers to understand what areas to address.
5. Active feedback from teachers
Feedback must be mutual and benefit both the teacher and the students in understanding themselves. It is an excellent idea to frequently give honest feedback to students about their performance and future possibilities. Teachers and educational guides must remember that the purpose of feedback is to enhance self-awareness, and not to discourage the kids, so choosing the words wisely is a priority, whether giving positive or negative feedback.
6. Promote efficacy in teachers
Enhancing self-efficacy in teachers increases the probability of making the students more self-reliant. Teachers who are highly productive about themselves and their teaching skills have a better impact on students and can influence them easily. They can bounce back from their stress and have firm control of their teaching style, all of which contribute to making the students highly self-liable (Hoy and Bandura, 2003).
7. Problem-solving opportunities
Daily problem-solving opportunities make the students face problems without fear and increase their chance of winning. It prepares them to meet challenging tasks and proceed from less severe to more difficult tasks. Besides, problem-solving also keeps their mind engaged and improves their decision-making abilities. Teachers can ask them to explain why they reached a particular solution for a specific problem and let them verbalize their thoughts.
8. Multiple learning media
Using a variety of learning sources can help students to sustain their interest in the task and engage more in it. For example, instead of the traditional chalk-talk or lecture methods, teachers can use more visual images, slide shows, online activities, and resources to impart knowledge to the kids. Such environments, also known as ‘skilled navigation settings’ (Mahar, 2016), make the class more exciting and invite creativity in the whole learning procedure. Needless to mention, they significantly aid in increasing self-efficacy and flexibility among students and teachers (American Society Of Horticultural Science, 2011).