“‘In the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” -Bertrand Russell
As many of us will be aware, feeling inadequate and useless can be debilitating. It makes you want to hide away in the morning in the hope that it all goes far, far away.
Yet, for every person who suffers under the illusion that they are useless, there are the converse; who in many ways are walking a thin line between confidence and delusion. Like believing your cherry scones deserve to be served in Michelin Star restaurants or that you will win X-Factor (even though your voice makes baby angels weep in pain).
But which is better? And how does self-efficacy affect your life and, more specifically, education?
People with strong self-efficacy approach difficult tasks in a different way to those who lack it. Instead of shying away from difficult tasks because they dwell on their personal deficiencies and the obstacles they will encounter, they see them as challenges to be met rather than threats to be avoided.
Take a child who makes a decision not to study a language because they believe they have little competence in the matter. This one choice can create a domino effect; their choice of college course, the friends and influences they meet, their leisure interests and social opportunities are all affected, showing how one choice can have an influence on life’s course long after the initial choice is made.
General self-efficacy has been divided into the categories of: Academic Competence, Social Competence, Physical/Athletic Competence and Physical Appearance.
Unsurprisingly, school life can be influential in all of these, through academic achievement, interaction with teachers and interaction with peers. In primary school-aged children in particular, self-efficacy becomes increasingly tied to group identity, with children attempting to boost their own self esteem by identifying positive aspects of their own group and negative aspects of others.
Pora Ora has been designed to build on children’s efficacy in a number of ways. These include conveying positive and meaningful appraisals to the children when they achieve something and when they display kind, helpful and positive behaviour; structuring situations for the children in ways that bring success and avoid placing the children in learning situations prematurely, measuring self-improvement to the needs of the child and creating a community where each player is equal.
By enforcing these points, children do not experience the same peer pressure that exists in the real world. They are a community of learners; communicating, exploring and having fun with one another.
(*Draws from the Educational Psychology and Research of Bandura, 1994; Santrock, 2008)