Self-Efficacy And Our Students

Self-efficacy has been on my mind this week, and not just because I was reading about it in the awesome The Essentials of Teaching Health Education from Sarah Benes and Holly Alperin. I saw that my home country of England has been excited about the visit of President Obama and among the news headlines was this one that stood out for me in that it spoke about self-efficacy and teens:

President Obama tells young to “reject cynicism”

Obama’s message to teens was “If any of you begin to work on an issue that you care deeply about, don’t be disappointed if a year out things haven’t been completely solved,”

If self-efficacy is the extent or strength of one’s belief in one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals then Obama’s call for teens to reject cynicism is right on point with the message that we should be sharing in #healthed class.  We want our students to have the ability to persist and develop a skill-set that allows them to succeed with a task.

“Don’t give up and succumb to cynicism if after five years poverty has not been eradicated and prejudice is still out there somewhere and we haven’t resolved all of the steps we need to take to reverse climate change.” 

Progress is “not inevitable” but must be fought for over the long term, he said.

And then Holly Alperin tweeted out this question which got me thinking about how I teach self-efficacy, and upon I reflection I don’t think I do a good enough job. Self-efficacy and the desire to persevere, show resilience and grit is something that I think is implied in my teaching and my conversations with students, but I rarely explicitly teach it.

In a #healthed context self-efficacy directly relates to how long someone will stick to a workout regimen or a diet. It affects whether they embrace the challenge of advocating for those in need of support, or choose to turn a blind eye and remain silent because the task is already viewed as an impossible one.  With self-efficacy ultimately affecting the choices our students make it is important that we give students the opportunity to learn self-efficacy skills, practice them, and apply them in a variety of settings.

Studies show that if we can get our students to believe that they have control over their health, then they are significantly more likely to be interested in the subject matter and eventually follow through with what they are taught in class. Conversely, low self-efficacy = low motivation = reduced follow through.

Increase self-efficacy and students will believe that they can set and achieve their goals. Increase self-efficacy and students will speak up when they see disparity and successfully advocate for others. Developing that positive mindset is crucial within a health classroom and should be addressed early and often during the school year.

As the school year comes to an end and I look towards my summer planning meetings I will continue to consider how I can improve the ways in which I develop the self-efficacy of my students.

Here are this week’s #slowchathealth questions. Feel free to answer them all at once, or when they are tweeted out daily (starting on 5/2).

Q1 How do you teach your students the concept of self-efficacy? #slowchathealth

Q2 What barriers exist to prevent our students from persevering with health related opportunities? #slowchathealth

Q3 Which health-related skills best allow students to develop their self-efficacy? #slowchathealth

Q4 How do we provide students with the opportunity to develop their self-efficacy? #slowchathealth

Q5 Consider following new #healthed accounts from this list. #slowchathealth


4 thoughts on “Self-Efficacy And Our Students

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