Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Self Efficacy

There are many things in which we can do to prepare ourselves as teachers but one of the most important things that can be done is developing a strong self efficacy. In order to have a strong presence in the classroom we need to believe we are capable of making a difference in our classroom. This positive energy will in turn rub off on your students. Developing a strong self efficacy is not an easy task for everyone . When learning complex tasks, high self-efficacy causes people to strive to improve their assumptions and strategies, rather than look for excuses such as not being interested in the task. High self-efficacy improves our capacity to collect relevant information, make sound decisions, and then take appropriate action, particularly when we are under time pressure. High self-efficacy helps us to be less defensive when we may receive negative feedback. In contrast, low self-efficacy can lead to erratic inappropriate thinking, which undermines the quality of problem solving; a key understanding in an increasingly knowledge-based society. Specifically, low self-efficacy can readily lead to a sense of helplessness and hopelessness about our capability to learn how to cope more effectively with the challenges and demands of one’s work. When this occurs, low self-efficacy can be distressing and depressing, thereby preventing even highly talented individuals (like ourselves :] ) from performing effectively. For this reason, the attainment of a strong self efficacy is of grave importance.

I have located a website that explains ways in which we can improve our self efficacy.

The information below has been retrieved from this website. Click here for the link! 

A strong self efficacy can be derived from four main sources being mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, social persuasion, and reduction of stress reactions.

If people experience only easy successes they come to expect quick results and are easily discouraged by failure. A resilient sense of efficacy requires experience in overcoming obstacles through perseverant effort. Some setbacks and difficulties in human pursuits serve a useful purpose in teaching that success usually requires sustained effort. After people become convinced they have what it takes to succeed, they persevere in the face of adversity and quickly rebound from setbacks. By sticking it out through tough times, they emerge stronger from adversity.

The second way of creating and strengthening self-beliefs of efficacy is through the vicarious experiences provided by social models. Seeing people similar to oneself succeed by sustained effort raises observers' beliefs that they too possess the capabilities to master comparable activities required to succeed. By the same token, observing others' fail despite high effort lowers observers' judgments of their own efficacy and undermines their efforts. The impact of modeling on perceived self-efficacy is strongly influenced by perceived similarity to the models. The greater the assumed similarity the more persuasive are the models' successes and failures. If people see the models as very different from themselves their perceived self-efficacy is not much influenced by the models' behavior and the results its produces.

Modeling influences do more than provide a social standard against which to judge one's own capabilities. People seek proficient models who possess the competencies to which they aspire. Through their behavior and expressed ways of thinking, competent models transmit knowledge and teach observers effective skills and strategies for managing environmental demands. Acquisition of better means raises perceived self-efficacy.

Social persuasion is a third way of strengthening people's beliefs that they have what it takes to succeed. People who are persuaded verbally that they possess the capabilities to master given activities are likely to mobilize greater effort and sustain it than if they harbor self-doubts and dwell on personal deficiencies when problems arise. To the extent that persuasive boosts in perceived self-efficacy lead people to try hard enough to succeed, they promote development of skills and a sense of personal efficacy.

It is more difficult to instill high beliefs of personal efficacy by social persuasion alone than to undermine it. Unrealistic boosts in efficacy are quickly disconfirmed by disappointing results of one's efforts. But people who have been persuaded that they lack capabilities tend to avoid challenging activities that cultivate potentialities and give up quickly in the face of difficulties. By constricting activities and undermining motivation, disbelief in one's capabilities creates its own behavioral validation.

Successful efficacy builders do more than convey positive appraisals. In addition to raising people's beliefs in their capabilities, they structure situations for them in ways that bring success and avoid placing people in situations prematurely where they are likely to fail often. They measure success in terms of self-improvement rather than by triumphs over others.

People also rely partly on their somatic and emotional states in judging their capabilities. They interpret their stress reactions and tension as signs of vulnerability to poor performance. In activities involving strength and stamina, people judge their fatigue, aches and pains as signs of physical debility. Mood also affects people's judgments of their personal efficacy. Positive mood enhances perceived self-efficacy, despondent mood diminishes it. The fourth way of modifying self-beliefs of efficacy is to reduce people's stress reactions and alter their negative emotional proclivities and isinterpretations of their physical states.

It is not the sheer intensity of emotional and physical reactions that is important but rather how they are perceived and interpreted. People who have a high sense of efficacy are likely to view their state of affective arousal as an energizing facilitator of performance, whereas those who are beset by self- doubts regard their arousal as a debilitator. Physiological indicators of efficacy play an especially influential role in health functioning and in athletic and other physical activities.

**** By being aware of the ways that we can improve our self efficacy, we will develop a stronger confidence in our ability to be a successful teacher. Self efficacy gives us the confidence to be effective, execute and be powerful teachers in the classroom!

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