There are times in life when we may need to rise to the challenge of a task and find the confidence, skills and determination within to be able to achieve this and ones’ life goals. Self-efficacy is an important aspect of ones’ beliefs within themselves to be able to succeed in any given situation or survive life’s hardships. The idea of self-efficacy is pertinent to social-cognitive theory (Albert Bandura) which highlights the importance of learning from your life and social experiences.
According to Bandura, self-efficacy is part of a self-system which also includes an individual’s attitudes, abilities, and cognitive strengths and weaknesses. The self-system and the individual’s self-efficacy is pertinent in how someone will perceive and respond to different life challenges; do they strive to improve or despondently give-in & give-up.
In Albert Bandura’s text titled, Self-Efficacy in Changing Societies he stated that self-efficacy is “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations”. It is a person’s belief in their ability to succeed and it is this belief that plays a role in shaping how someone will think, feel and behave. Researches have demonstrated that self-efficacy impacts on people’s psychological states including motivation, personal goals and how those goals are accomplished, and then subsequent reflection upon their performance. Most people can determine goals that they wish to accomplish, aspects of their life they wish were different or how they themselves may change, or what they would like to achieve. However, many people view the necessary plans which need to be put into place as quite difficult, as such an individual’s self-efficacy is an important aspect in how people approach these challenges.
Those with a high sense of self-efficacy are observed to develop a deeper interest in their activities, form a strong commitment, recover quickly from setbacks. While those lower in self-efficacy may be found to avoid challenging tasks, and at times believe that difficult tasks are beyond their abilities. Whether high or low in self-efficacy, individuals begin to form this during their childhood.
Children’s self-efficacy begins to take form during early childhood through various life experiences and situations, and continues to evolve throughout life. As people develop new skills, have life experiences, and expand their knowledge base. Albert Bandura identified four keys areas in which self-efficacy is developed and strengthened: mastery experiences, social modelling, social persuasion, and psychological responses.
How to assist children is developing self-efficacy:
- Assisting a children in learning a skill or hobby through to a high level of competence
- Seeing others perceived to be similar in achieving a task
- Positive encouragement and expressed belief in their competence
- Mood, emotional state, physical reaction to a given situation all impact on how someone may perceive their competence.
Alongside many other important aspect of a child’s developing emotional health, self-efficacy can be fostered and strengthened. Incorporating Bandura’s four sources of self-efficacy can assist in providing children with building powerful belief within themselves.
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