Teaching skills in self-efficacy to support students in challenging and complex times

Year: 2021

Author: Franks, Dimity

Type of paper: Individual Paper

Pre-recorded presentation link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNRedYBdhEkStudents around the world are experiencing ongoing disruption from the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, new and complex challenges have led to changes in the way children view themselves and the world around them. It is timely that teachers and school leaders have access to current education research that supports students with their learning and well-being during such uncertain times. Self-efficacy is a key aspect of social and emotional learning that present literature suggests is central to creating the confidence, resilience and independence children require in times of change or uncertainty.  This study employs a constructivist line of inquiry to examine teachers’ understandings about self-efficacy and how they promote it in the early years of school. A hybrid approach is utilised to collect data, including the use of an online survey and semi-structured interviews.  Participants in the study claim self-efficacy to be critical to learning and well-being in the early years and indicate that many teachers underestimate its power. Participants indicate that a supportive climate rich in skills such as self-efficacy is a feature of kindergarten and pre-primary years and needed to continue into junior primary classrooms. As children grow and mature, this would allow for the continuation of teaching relevant strategies to support their learning and well-being during the ongoing disruption to their world.The philosophy and culture of the school also had a significant impact on teachers’ likelihood to focus on skills that developed student self-efficacy. Findings from this study will highlight the importance of school leaders working closely with the school community to develop a supportive culture. Similarly, findings from the study provide valuable information in developing professional learning programs for schools to increase their competency and skills in teaching self-efficacy and the development of children’s social and emotional knowledge and skills.  In this presentation, I will discuss the potential benefits of a focus on self-efficacy skills has on students at school and in the future, particularly in response to the current challenges. I will also discuss the impact that a lack of understanding and lack of teaching strategies to support self-efficacy development can have on students in early childhood settings, according to current research. Finally, I will discuss the difference in levels of understanding about self-efficacy between early childhood teachers from a wide range of teaching contexts and those who work in schools with a strong focus on social and emotional learning.