Back To CoursePsychology 102: Educational Psychology
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One's overall perceptions, beliefs, judgments, and feelings are referred to as sense of self. Answering questions such as: 'How do you describe yourself? Are you a good test taker? Are you good at sports? Do you like to be around others?' all tell you something about yourself. Encompassed in the construct of sense of self is self-concept and self-efficacy. This lesson will differentiate between self-efficacy and concept and explore how these perceptions affect academic outcomes.
Self-concept is defined as an individual's belief and evaluation about himself or herself. Included in this definition are one's beliefs about attributes (both physical and mental), likes and dislikes, and strengths and weaknesses.
Children tend to behave in ways that mirror their beliefs about themselves. Children who have positive self-concept are more likely to succeed and persist at difficult tasks, while children with low self-concept tend to give up more easily and fail more often.
One's self-concept is largely self-constructed; therefore, self-assessments may be inaccurate, leading to views of skills and abilities being slightly inflated or slightly underestimated.
Three main factors influence one's self-concept. Simply telling a child they are good in a particular skill or that they are attractive or popular will not influence their self-concept. Researchers have identified previous performance, the behavior of others, and group membership and achievements as key influencers of self-concept.
A child's self-assessment of skills and abilities depends on how successful their actions have been in the past. For example, children are likely to believe they will do well in future science courses if they have been successful in science courses in the past.
The second influencer is the behavior of others. Children's self-concept can be influenced by others' behaviors in two ways. First, children evaluate their performance based on the performance of other children around them. How their performance compares to their peers will influence their self-concept. For example, receiving a 90 on a test when all other classmates received an 80 or below would be evaluated by the child as successful. Receiving a 90 on a test when all other classmates received a 95 or above would be deemed as a failure, despite the fact that 90 is a high score.
Membership in a group can impact sense of self-concept because it allows an individual to take pride in being part of larger successes. For example, if an entire class earned an award for raising the most money in a school food drive, a child would feel a sense of pride by contributing to the success of the group, no matter how much he or she actually individually contributed.
Self-concept develops and changes as a child matures and ages.
In the early years (kindergarten through second grade) children tend to have a concrete self-concept limited to easily observable characteristics. They also tend to overestimate their abilities and future successes.
From third grade to fifth grade, children are increasingly aware of their strengths and weaknesses. They also begin to incorporate feelings of pride, shame, and other emotions with self-concept.
During middle school (grades six through eight) there is an increase in abstract conceptions of oneself. There is also an increased awareness and sensitivity to what others think. There is excessive belief in one's own uniqueness, as well.
In high school, there is a gradual increase in overall positive self-concept. Students begin to search for who they are and who they will become.
Self-efficacy is the belief that one is capable of organizing and executing certain behaviors or reaching certain goals.
Self-efficacy affects choice of activities, effort, and persistence. For example, people who hold a low self-efficacy for accomplishing a task may avoid it; those who believe they are capable are likely to participate.
Self-efficacy and self-concept are similar in that both constructs account for one's judgments of their capabilities. However, self-efficacy is different from self-concept in several ways.
First, the definition of self-efficacy includes 'organize and execute,' which specifically focuses on the perceived competence in terms of including the behavioral actions or cognitive skills that are necessary for performance for a given skill or ability. For example, self-efficacy isn't simply the recognition of 'I'm good in sports,' but rather, explicit judgments of having the necessary skills and physical fitness level to do well in those types of activities.
Second, self-efficacy is used in reference to a specific goal. For example, a student that usually does well in math may experience low self-efficacy toward a particular problem set or equation because of the difficulty of the material compared to previous material learned.
Third, a student may have an overall self-concept for a skill or ability while holding a differing perceived self-efficacy for a specific task within that area. For example, a student may hold a negative self-concept for science classes, but have high self-efficacy for a particular project or task. They still think of themselves as being poor science students, but feel particularly apt in one area within the class.
Similar to self-concept, self-efficacy is influenced by multiple factors: previous performance, behaviors of others, verbal encouragement by others, and physiological reactions.
We discussed the factors of previous performance and behaviors of others during the self-concept section, so we're going to focus on the last two that are specific to self-efficacy.
Self-efficacy can be increased among students by pointing out their previous successes or giving them reasons to believe that they can be successful in the future. Verbal encouragements like, 'You tried hard before when you didn't think you could do it,' or 'I bet she will play with you if you ask her' can encourage students to take a risk and persist in an activity.
Physiological reactions influence self-efficacy as well. Signs of stress, such as fear, nausea, and 'butterflies in the stomach,' may be interpreted by someone with low self-efficacy as a sign of potential failure and inability to perform the task. Being aware of these common physiological reactions will allow a person to understand that these feelings don't always lead to failure. For example, public speaking may elicit the reaction of nervousness, shaking, and feelings of nausea. Understanding that these reactions to public speaking are quite common will allow an individual to focus on his or her actual speaking abilities.
There are specific outcome expectations related to high and low self-efficacy. Using this diagram, we will explore outcome expectations versus high and low self-efficacy.
We see that high self-efficacy and low outcome expectations leads to situations in which there is little hope for a positive outcome, but high self-efficacy for a particular task within that situation still exists. Our example of the science student with negative self-concept about his overall ability in science but high self-efficacy for a specific task works well here. Situations such as protests, social activism, and filing grievances also fall under this category.
Next, we see that high self-efficacy combined with high outcome expectations leads to a high level of cognitive engagement and assures the individual a successful outcome. This is the category we hope our students fall into.
Having low-self efficacy and low outcome expectations leads to feelings of resignation, apathy, and withdrawal.
Finally, having low-self-efficacy with high outcome expectations leads to self-devaluation and depression.
Self-concept and self-efficacy are similar in that both concepts account for one's beliefs, perceptions, and capabilities for a given task or area. Self-efficacy encompasses a more specific focus on the actual behaviors and cognitive skills necessary for a task. One can hold opposing views of self-concept and self-efficacy.
Both self-concept and self-efficacy are influenced by one's previous performances and the observation of the behaviors of others. Self-concept is influenced additionally by group membership and achievements, while self-efficacy is influenced by physiological factors and verbal encouragement.
Self-concept changes over time. As the child develops, views of self-concepts move from concrete to abstract, and over time the child is more aware and sensitive of others' beliefs and views.
Finally, self-efficacy impacts achievement outcomes. High self-efficacy leads to persistence and high level of cognitive engagement, while low self-efficacy leads to feelings of resignation, withdrawal, and possibly depression.
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Back To CoursePsychology 102: Educational Psychology
10 chapters | 123 lessons | 9 flashcard sets