Posted by: reimerjs | April 8, 2011

Promoting Self-Efficacy: Tips for Teachers

Tips for Teachers

Students spend roughly 1,000 hours per year in school, making teachers a major source of influence on student development. With regards to SRL, teachers can construct learning environments that promote the elements of the dynamic process (i.e., monitoring, skill-building, strategy use and revision). This section is intended for those teachers who are either hoping to improve upon the environments they’ve already created, those who are starting from ‘scratch’, or those who are looking for ideas to manage a student(s) with low confidence in the classroom.

The following YouTube video does a great job (but with questionable sound and dance quality) embedding the construct of self-efficacy in context of four primary strategies for instructors:

Here’s a quick recap of the strategies:

  1. Provide clear deadlines and expectations for student work. When students have a clear conception of what is being asked of them, they are more likely to construct appropriate, thoughtful goals. As has been discussed, the mutual relationship between these two concepts then means that students – upon achieving these goals – have a bolstered since of self-efficacy. This, in turn, leads to consistent establishment and achievement of goals. It is therefore advisable for instructors to take the time to answer questions and provide thorough guidelines at the outset of a lesson/assignment.
  2. Model appropriate behaviours for students. Bandura promotes scaffolding; this is essentially a temporary platform where instructors gradually “back off” and shift responsibility on to the student. Students feel better equipped and more prepared to attempt a task when they have seen it properly executed before. Furthermore, it is important to act as ‘coping model’; that is, openly admitting to errors and working with students to find a solution. This lies in opposition to ‘mastery model’, where students are not afforded the opportunity to see self-regulation (the “ELSE” in an “IF-THEN-ELSE” statement) in action.
  3. Provide honest, explicit feedback. Being open and honest with students founds their belief in ability in truth and behavioural specifics. Even when times are tough (i.e., a student is not doing well), this feedback should be contextualized with positive and encouraging statements.
  4. Construct goals that are challenging and proximal. In designing goals that are slightly above the students’ current achievement level, it motivates them to strive higher and improve. As we’ve learned, success breeds success. Consider the benefit of teaching students to make these types of goals for themselves as well, taking care to supplement with feedback!
  5. Three C’s: Collaborate, Create, and Choose. Time and again, research has shown that instructional design facilitating collaborative (group) learning and infused with creative elements and choice increases students’ beliefs in their abilities by encouraging a sense of agency and ownership over the learning process.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does manage to cover the major bases of SRL (i.e., task understanding, monitoring and feedback).

One question remains: what about teachers’ sense of self-efficacy?

What we have discussed thus far pertains to teachers’ ability to promote self-efficacy in their students. It is critical to note that it is equally important for teachers to have their own sense of self-efficacy in the classroom; that is, they ought to feel competent and confident in their ability to impart knowledge on and promote healthy development of their students. In clicking the link below, you will be re-directed to the Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale, a scale developed by none other than Albert Bandura himself! Take the time to print out and complete this document. Once you have finished this, take stock of any patterns or trends (i.e., consistently low ratings in one area, an exceptionally low rating on one particular construct). As with the “Trash Can” Do activity, you are encouraged to leave your reflections and impressions in a comment below or, if you do not feel comfortable with this, please send a private message.

The point is for you as a teacher to be dually aware of the educational climate of your classroom, as well as your own perceptions of your self-efficacy in the classroom. Doing so ensures you are promoting SRL in your students as you simultaneously cultivate the ability to self-regulate yourself and your own learning/teaching experiences.

Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale

And that’s the long and short of it! Hopefully these tips and strategies will get you on your way to a solid appraisal of self-efficacy and a promising future of SRL! Click here to go back to the home strategy page, where you will find a list of references and further readings.

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Responses

  1. Good blog. I will be following it 🙂

  2. Our board has been heavily promoting the use of Learning Goals & Success Criteria to be outlined and posted visibly in the classroom for student reference throughout their lessons. After reading this article, I wonder if it is best for the teacher to create general Learning Goals and Success Criteria of the lesson or unit, and then model how students can develop their individual specific learning goals, and show them how to monitor these goals and evaluate their progress against the success criteria. OR, if, before the teacher articulates any of the Learning Goals, if the student is given time to develop their own, and the students present these Learning Goals back to the teacher- this allows for student voice and choice in where the teacher takes the learning.

  3. Thank you for your work on self-efficacy. I have been reading through the various resources in your postings and have found them to be very helpful. I am currently working on a grad course about self-regulated learning and we have been looking at the various facets of this topic. I teach in the primary level and I am very interested in developing my knowledge of self-efficacy so that I can teach strategies to my students. The points that you have mentioned in the post above are very useful in starting on my journey toward being more aware of the need for self-efficacy in my students.


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