Put the power in students’ hands to solve every type of problem. When facing a challenge in the classroom, how do the students respond? Do they feel confident tackling the task? Do they feel overwhelmed and unsure? Self-efficacy determines student motivation, learning, and academic achievement. ItJul 06, 2018
Put the power in students’ hands to solve every type of problem.
When facing a challenge in the classroom, how do the students respond? Do they feel confident tackling the task? Do they feel overwhelmed and unsure? Self-efficacy determines student motivation, learning, and academic achievement. It is the belief that they can succeed at something … and it’s a learned skill. As educators, it is our responsibility to increase student self-efficacy through the relationships we build with students, the teaching strategies we use in the classroom, and the other things we do to increase student confidence.
When educators believe they can affect student achievement, they share a sense of collective efficacy. Together, we can make a difference. Through the actions, decisions, and attitudes of a school team, educators can feel confident that they can have a positive impact on their students.
Beliefs around efficacy are powerful. They guide our actions, behavior, and attitudes to be successful regardless of one’s role in the classroom. From student to teacher to district leader (and more), we can do it. So, what can we to encourage greater efficacy all around? What can we do to better optimize the student experience? These three steps can help.
1. Celebrate the small stuff. Then positively reinforce. And positively reinforce (again).
Progress is power. Achieving a goal begins by taking one step, so it is important to make a point of celebrating smaller milestones. By celebrating these smaller accomplishments, the progress toward the goal is much more visible. This is true both for students and educators. If a student’s goal is to get a 100 percent on a geometry assessment, the individual should celebrate when he or she masters the concept of calculating a missing angle in a triangle. If the goal is for a student to complete a thorough scientific report after an investigation, celebrate that fact that they followed the investigation procedures in a safe manner after reworking the process with the science PLC team. As confidence grows, students will have a better attitude toward larger challenges. Efficacy increases.
2. Create organizational structure for successful collaboration.
There must be opportunities for people to come together to solve problems collaboratively. Students require time to work together through challenges. This gives them a chance to share common challenges and encourage each other to be successful. It also gives them the chance to see others succeed at performing the same or a similar task. By paying close attention to what they do and working with their classmates, they can also get advice and a sounding board for strategies to be successful — just like teachers! Educators need time and space to regularly work together. Collectively, they can reconnect on the entire goal of the profession: to increase student success. Efficacy increases.
3. Promote leadership and empower those around you to make decisions.
The power needs to be in their hands. Whose hands? Students. Educators. Leaders. Students must be entrusted with the responsibility to achieve their own goals. They can do this in a variety of ways, so it’s also important to give students the opportunity to showcase their work how they see best.
Efficacy has the potential to have a positive snowball effect. By developing both self-efficacy and collective efficacy, we can help our students tackle challenges with optimism and resilience.