Self Efficacy

motivation pd self efficacy Oct 31, 2021

Why should we be developing self-efficacy in our Language classroom?

I would assert that self-efficacy in your classroom is the #1 game changer and predictor of success for all students in your Indonesian classroom! Big statement? Maybe! But let me explain.

When we talk about self-efficacy we are talking about students belief in their capacity to succeed. We know that motivation is heavily connected to the degree to which students feel successful and if the feel that success is attainable then the motivation will be there to complete the task, or test or even just to participate. The moment your students do not believe they can succeed, that there is hope they will be able to do it, then all motivation is lost. Students will become disruptive, combative or completely disengage.

So how to we help student believe in them selves? This is what self-efficacy in the language classroom is all about. We need to structure our curriculum with ‘universal design’ principles to ensure that is is accessible to all students and scaffold correctly to ensure that all students are successful to varying degrees. There are so many parts to it. Part of it has to do with the climate of our classroom. Do all your students feel relaxed and want to participate? What happens if they give the wrong answer? Are they made to feel sill or look stupid? Do you have a clear’ have a go’ no fear of failure atmosphere in your classroom? You need one! How you encourage answers and how you accept and react to incorrect answers hugely affects whether or not other students will have the courage to have a go.

Low stakes participation is also key. Once you have a good atmosphere that encourages having a go, low stakes games and ways of participating will help your students get involved and have a go. I always start with questions that are ‘too easy.’ The information might be obviously be around the room, or something you know they know. Make the first few questions obvious. You need to start with success. Even for those listening to a correct answer will feel encouraged if they know that they knew the answer to that question too.

Scaffolding correctly makes a huge difference too. If you can take your students on a journey from their first experience of a word or sentence to being able to use and adapt that sentence to express themselves, then your students see the possibilities and how far they have come. There are many models of direct instruction and using a variety of best practice and high impact teaching strategies can help you scaffold your curriculum. Explicit instruction models often use the ‘I do’ (teacher centred), then ‘We do’ (students and teacher centred) and finally ‘You do’ (student centred) gradual release method allowing for formative assessment in the ‘We do’ stage and summative assessment during the ‘You do’ stage.

By the time your students reach ‘You do’ individual work, your students should know without a doubt what they are doing and how to do it. This part is just them showing you how they can succeed! Let them show you how awesome they are!

Visible Learning for Teachers (Hattie 2012) ids a great read if you want to learn to set better explicit goals and learning intentions. Hattie also discusses the ‘self-attributes that students bring to the lesson' such as self-efficacy, self-motivation, self-handicapping, self-perception and they appear to me, to be very similar to the language acquisition concept of the ‘affective filter’. Hatties describes self-efficacy as ‘the confidence or strength of belief that we have in ourselves that we can make our learning happen’ (Hattie 2012:45) and the need for teachers to develop the skills and values in our students to ‘back themselves as learners’ (Hattie 2012:45). By creating a positive atmosphere in my classroom, that encourages flexible thinking and a growth mindset, and removes students’ fear of failure, all students will be in a better place to learn Indonesian. 



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