Saturday, January 16, 2016

Ritchie's Self-Efficacy: Chapter 4

As I explained in an earlier post, one of my projects for winter break is writing up a review of Laura Ritchie's new self-efficacy book: Fostering Self-Efficacy in Higher Education Students. I just ran out of time in writing up notes (I've gotten so spoiled by reading almost all my books as Kindles and getting my highlighted notes as exports automatically)... anyway, here are some more notes on Chapter 4. My comments are in italics.

Chapter 4: Embedding the foundations of self-efficacy in the classroom

"The understanding of how to learn is not automatic, and then taking the learning and applying and connecting to practical skill use is again another process."

"Misaligning judgment beliefs can cause problems for students, whether they are over or under confident."

Learning: Skills, techniques, and content

"A combination of seen and unseen, external and internal, physical and psychological factors all contribute to students' understanding of their capabilities.

"Past experiences are considered alongside interactions with others, personal attributes, and aspects of the current situation, along with the values and expectations that surround the task itself; these aspects all influence forming self-efficacy judgments when approaching learning."


"Whenever students believe that what they have done is not something that came from them, whether it is a positive or negative experience, that event is less likely to significantly affect their self-efficacy for carrying out the actual task."

"Either success or failure can be attributed to causes beyond the individual's control."

"Early in schooling children attribute success to effort and hard work, but as they grow there is more of an understanding of skills and their own cognitive processes."

My skills bring success.

(image at cheezburger)

"When people consider their capabilities in relation to their personal potential and not in terms of outside influences or benchmarks, then they break free from the reliance on social contexts for comparisons and begin to take responsibility for their self-beliefs."

Symptoms of low self-efficacy

"Understanding the specific criteria and type of skills that are needed for learning can inform an accurate judgment about their self-efficacy for learning."

"Past experiences also influence a student's beliefs when approaching new projects, with positive experiences effectively building self-efficacy beliefs and negative experiences bringing them down."

I don't let the past bring me down.

(image is from cheezburger)

"Assessments produce obvious outcomes, such as exam results, but the week-on-week learning can be overlooked and not recognized as a separate task. Students may not realize that their progress in learning is a positive accomplishment and can very much contribute to how they view their capabilities."

"Helping students to interpret their progress within learning by highlighting their progressive achievements will build their self-efficacy beliefs."

"When students do not consider learning a task, which is made of layers of separate methods and skills, they may skip over these and solely focus on carrying out the final assessment."

"When students have a new task to approach and they say they are worried or not confident, ask them to consider why. Are they underprepared? Is there some danger involved? it is a teacher's role to unravel any unfounded low self-efficacy beliefs."

"If students are aware that they have had past difficulties, then this will impact the way they approach new work that also uses these skills. Students with low self-efficacy may attempt to avoid the task, making sure they do not experience a failure."


"Each teacher must sift through the learning theories and terminology embedded within his or her specialism to find wider relationships and to draw out what is specifically relevant and useful to everyday practice and everyday development."

(Ritchie reviews quite a few different models of learning to draw out useful concepts and terminology.)

"Zimmerman also differentiates naive and experienced learners, and stresses that less experienced learners tend to react to learning instead of preparing effectively through forethought. In the forethought stage, students use their existing knowledge and experience to form self-efficacy beliefs, making judgments about their capabilities for the tasks ahead."

First,  I make a plan.

(image is from cheezburger)

"Self-efficacy is pivotal throughout learning and informs how students view and choose their learning goals, the strategies they use, and the way they approach difficulties."

Demonstrating student understanding

"Learning and building beliefs is a multifaceted process, and a teacher can only know a small part of what the student experiences, but an ongoing dialogue between the teacher and student creates openness and allows for collaboration."

"Creating situations where a dialogue exists between student and teacher, and both provide elements of the input and responses, are integral parts of the learning process."

"Questioning is not primarily a technique for finding a particular "right" answer. Asking questions that are open-ended primers encourages and teaches the student to look within and think, analyze, and create, and this can lead to developing deeper learning and fostering self-efficacy beliefs."

"Question is also a way to invite and engage students who are not openly willing to participate in their learning. Sometimes this begins with the student becoming aware that the question itself may present something new that the student may never have considered."

Case study: Hans Jensen

"Questioning allows him to gain a confirmation of what the students understand, what aspects of the task they are actively considering, and whether they are aware of either processes or outcomes."

"Simply observing people as they learn or perform a task gives part of that picture, but the internal aspects, the thoughts and planning, and awareness of how processes manifest themselves through physical delivery is not necessarily observable."

"These gaps between the student experience and the teacher's perception can be partially addressed through an active dialogue."

"The dialogue of questions does not represent the end of a single closed process, but it is the beginning of an extended cycle of exploring ideas."

"The students are being taught the processes of how to think and solve complex problems for themselves. There is a strong element of trust between the teacher and the students, and there is an awareness that the process is for the students, not something external that is being imposed on them."

"There is no limit to the amount of improvement or the level of detail that can be explored within any given topic. It depends on the awareness of the student, the focus, the level, the goals, the repertoire — the list can go on infinitely within each area of specialization."

Exploring modeling: Creating safe experiences

"A transparent involvement in modeling learning to students is a powerful tool for learning."

"If student have robust senses of self-efficacy they will strive to find and make connections with any observed material."

I can connect with what I see.

(image is from cheezburger)

"If students are less assured and have low self-efficacy, then a direct and obviously non-threatening connection needs to be presented in a way that does not challenge the students' delicate self-beliefs."


"For modeling to be effective, the students need to be aware of the specific processes that are being demonstrated, the strategies that are used, and how this relates to them."

"Students must engage with the material before they can learn from it."

 I engage, and  I learn.

(image is from cheezburger)


"There is a difference between watching a performance or film for enjoyment and watching to understand the craft and delivery of the acting and understanding the content on an analytical level."

"If student-observers watch with deliberate and focused attention, they can also form links with other areas of their knowledge and experience. Making a mental record of events, having in-class or online discussions, and written descriptions or notes all assist the student to review, reflect on, and access processes within the specific scenario demonstrated to them."

I watch with deliberate attention.

(image is from cheezburger)


"Recreating the learned behaviors depends largely on how effectively the retention stage has been executed."

"Learning requires initial experimentation, and depending on how complicated the task is there may be layers of learning and small activities needed before the student can reproduce the modeled behavior with confidence and security."

Learning requires initial experimentation.

(image from cheezburger)

Reinforcement and motivation

"Reinforcement in terms of validating what students are doing will enable them to continue to develop what was modeled, instead of leaving the knowledge as a safely understood yet untested concept."

"Students can be aware and understand, but before they have actually done it for themselves, they still can have that element of doubt that perhaps they cannot do it."

Mastery model

"When presenting a mastery model, the activity is carried out with ease and precision; the person demonstrating is in control of the task and it is polished as if in a professional setting."

"A mastery model is not always the most helpful for students. Students with a weak self-efficacy will attempt to make direct comparisons, and they see their own lack of skill."

"A perfect model will allow a teacher to present his or her own skill in a good light, but can act as a deterrent to students and actually impede their learning."

Modeling for medical students: "It is important that students remain interested throughout and not frustrated by the experience, as sometimes medical procedures take several hours. So if a student is managing the light for the student or holding the thread during sewing, even though these may seem small jobs, the student is involved in the process and is no longer only an observer."

Coping model

"When the teacher fully demonstrates the processes involved in carrying out a task, including potential pitfalls, the cognitive processes, and the choices that are made about methods and actions, this is a coping model."

"Schunk and Hanson used a further form of modeling with this verbalization that they called the coping-emotive model. In this setting there are verbalizations that illustrate initial doubt in  capabilities and acknowledge the task difficulty that accompany the demonstration."

Teacher modeling

"A teacher may not always bet the best model to show the struggles and challenges that students find when first attempting a task. It can be extremely awkward when the teacher goes against expectations if the student is not aware of what is happening."

"A teacher can be a very effective coping model when the premise is set and the students know that the teacher is playing a part, so they can then follow the associate with the role-modeled situation."

Peer modeling: removing barriers

"Overall this experience will strengthen the self-efficacy of the able students who act as models, and where collaborative working and discussion take place, it can also boost the self-efficacy of the struggling students as they relate to and learn from their peers."

Peer modeling is powerful.

(image is from cheezburger)

"Direct comparisons between students and a peer are more apparent, making the situation influential for learning and for building self-efficacy beliefs."

"A teacher can explain an example that either demonstrates mastery or coping to accomplish a task."

"The teacher's involvement here is essential because a step-by-step guided explanation ensures that the process is clearly explained. For new or struggling students this can lead them on from the initial stage of attention, to the other components of modeling: retention, reproduction, and then motivation to continue and use what is learned for themselves."

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