The Role of Self Efficacy in Learning

Jul 19, 2018

Everyone deals with self-efficacy issues at different stages of life. Most times, it becomes the deciding factor for an individual’s behavior, choices, decisions and life in general. Self -efficacy is the confidence a person has, in one’s own worth, abilities and skills, to achieve goals. Self-efficacy reflects how much a person likes and respects himself, and believes in themselves and their knowledge and skills, required to succeed.

Children that know nothing of things such as self-respect, ego, and self-confidence, pick up experiences and influences along the way as they grow up, which plays a major role in their self-efficacy. Self-efficacy in students may vary, but is detrimental in deciding their academic and overall success. How they perceive themselves, their abilities and skills, go a long way in motivating them.

How Does Self Efficacy Affect Learning?

A student’s belief in his own abilities can be the make or break factor in his learning journey. When a student believes he has the ability to succeed, his choices, actions and results align accordingly. The effort he makes is more authentic and there are more windows of opportunities that open up. He keeps himself open to new possibilities and new learning, for he believes that a positive end result is a high possibility.
Students with high self-efficacy:

  • Are more open to learning
  • Have better communication skills
  • Are more confident
  • Are innovative
  • Look forward to new possibilities
  • Participate actively in class
  • Are easily motivated
  • Are not hesitant to accept their flaws and work on it
  • Take feedbacks with a positive attitude
  • Not intimidated by challenges
  • Ready for new changes
  • Do not stick to comfort zones
  • Do not seek validation all the time
  • Better with time management
  • Are Comfortable taking the lead
  • Creative
  • Open to taking risks
The Dangers of Low Self-Efficacy

Any learning is irrelevant, despite all the efforts schools, teachers and parents put in, if the student doesn’t believe he has the capability to succeed. No student with low self-efficacy, thinks he is capable of achieving higher goals, and therefore limits his growth.
Students with low self-efficacy:

  • Are not confident
  • Do not put in effort as they think the effort won’t be fruitful
  • Are Not creative
  • Stick to comfort zone
  • Do not participate in class activities
  • Do not speak up
  • Lack street smartness
  • Are not open to change
  • Self-sabotage their own success
  • Are defensive
  • Always follow, never lead
  • Hold a negative attitude towards learning
  • Are hesitant to reach out
How Can EdSense Help?

EdSense enables teachers to use accurate and proven mechanisms to evaluate top five Psychometric components. Self-Efficacy levels of each student would be determined by teachers, through a combination of period Psychometric tests and periodic data points, inserted by teachers/parents on respective students. This would help teachers and parents to understand the actions that are needed to improve self-efficacy. These actions to improve self-efficacy can be self-learning, activity based, or through parents involvement. EdSense is an AI powered platform which throws these learning automatically, and evaluates the progress automatically. EdSense also empowers teachers to create innovative content on improving self-efficacy, or aggregate open content on EdSense platform, so that the usage of these resources are automated with the help of tagging to other students or classes.

More Tips to Help Students Develop Self Efficacy

Like any other trait that can be turned into a skill, self-efficacy can be taught to students. Self-efficacy is often a result of personal traits, environment, experiences and subconscious beliefs, which may take effort and time to mould. Here are a few methods, through which students can be taught to put in more belief in their own abilities to achieve goals and succeed.

  • Appreciate and Highlight: Appreciate any good work done by a student, and highlight the same in the class. Express thoughtful, genuine comments, about the effort a student puts in, and the result that followed, to help boost the confidence of the student, encouraging him to push himself further.

  • Buddy Up: Students with low self-efficacy, often find themselves alone. Buddy up such students with their peers for class activities or assignments, to help them get comfortable with change, encourage interactions, thus bringing in an exposure to new perspectives. Peer support also acts as an effective push to put in more effort, and eventually get comfortable with the change in attitude towards an earlier rigid mindset about succeeding in a tasks.

  • Show Genuine Interest in The Student: Get to know the student, his likes, dislikes, interests, fear, and life outside school. Self-efficacy is often a result of low self-esteem, and showing genuine interest in a student’s life makes him feel significant. Regular conversations will also help teachers gauge the loopholes in his lack of confidence, and work on them together.

  • Encourage Decision Making and Problem Solving: Involve students in activities and scenarios, where they are required to make decisions and indulge in problem solving. The more cognitive they get, the more they’ll realize their own abilities to push harder and make changes.

  • Help Them See Tangible Results: When a student sees tangible changes, such as a difference in scores, better quality of projects, or more effective class participation, as a result of continued efforts, they are more likely to feel more confident about themselves, and change their perception that they are not capable of achieving a set goal. Get students involved in activities and assignments that show individual, tangible progress.

  • Get Them Involved in Extracurricular Activities and Sports: Extracurricular activities will help students learn new perspectives, get creative, and move away from a rigid mentality. Being involved in sports will push them out of their comfort zones, bring in more spirit and enthusiasm, be open to failures and success, and experience the highs of winning and the coping skills of losing.

  • Divide Bigger Goals Into Several Smaller Ones: While one big goal may intimidate students with low self-efficacy, breaking it into smaller steps will help them take smaller but definite steps to success. With each milestone they cross, their self confidence in achieving the goal will increase, pushing them further.

  • Maintain a Record of Progress Made: Keep a track of students’ performances from the beginning of the academic year. The track record may include more elements than just academic scores, such as decision making, class participation, problem solving, etc. When the record shows positive changes, be sure to share it with the students, to help them realize that they indeed have the capability to meet targets and achieve their goals.

  • Handle Setbacks and Mistakes Tactfully: A wrong approach or reaction towards a student’s setbacks and mistakes can have a greater influence on his psychology, and leave long lasting impact. A student who is put down for a setback is more likely to believe that he is not good enough, and stick with the idea for a long time, which will only bring down his self-efficacy. Help students learn from their mistakes, and tactfully handle disappointments and failures, making them see that each failure is the stepping stone to success.

  • Get Parents Involved: Get in touch with the parents, to help them understand the effect self-efficacy has on their children’s learning journey. Let parents know how they can involve in helping the student increase their self-efficacy, and what they can do outside school, to help their children be more confident about their abilities and skills.

As more students get to learn through experiences and progress, that success is the end result of efforts and not traits, they are bound to develop self-efficacy over a period of time. Better self-efficacy will bring about better progress, eventually leading to the end result of helping students succeed in all walks of life, preparing them for a lifetime of achievements ahead.

- Jiji Tharayil