Chapter 6: Belief about Self


What are some of the factors that contribute toward the success of students at school?

What are some of the factors that contribute toward the failure of students at school?

Which one of these factors do you think is the most common (for both success and failure)?

Which one do you think is the most difficult to deal with (for failure)?

Chapter Outline

  1. Social cognitive theory (relationship between self-confidence and learning)
  2. Attribution theory (how students explain their academic success and failure to themselves)
  3. Student control and autonomy (how students’ and teachers’ expectations create a controlling or autonomy-producing environment in the classroom)

Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura)


What is self-confidence? What is it not?

Where does it come from?

How can it be improved?

Bandura’s ‘reciprocal determinism’ states that learning is the result of an interaction among the following variables:

click on this link for the diagram…

reciprocal determinism diagram.doc


(Self-efficacy judgment & outcome expectancy)

Beliefs and attitudes that affect learning

Environment (Teacher, parent, and peer feedback) – role of significant others

Behavioral (performance) – responses one makes in a given situation – Effort? Luck?

Before I engage in anything, I…

  1. Need to have self-belief that I will be able to do it, (“I can do it”)
  2. Know that I will experience something NICE as a result of that behavior (“It’s worth doing it”)

Give examples for the above mentioned assertion.

Self-efficacy = the degree to which an individual possesses confidence in his/her ability to achieve a goal

Outcome expectancy = the perceived relationship between performing a task successfully and receiving a specific outcome as a consequence of that performance

E.g. I am a good driver, with superb driving abilities. Nevertheless, I am still exposed to chances of accidents because people (in this particular area) like to drink and drive recklessly.

How does this affect my thoughts toward my abilities in driving? How does this affect my actual driving skills?

Two types of learning

  1. Enactive learning = learning by doing
  2. Vicarious learning = learning from a model

The more I do something successfully, the more I do it with great confidence!

Learning (in general) is affected by:

  1. Developmental status of the learner
  2. Prestige of the model
  3. One’s ability to set an attainable goal (specific, attainable, of moderate difficulty)
  4. any other factors you want to suggest???


Illustration: Story of the drunken father with two sons – One son determined never to become like his father. The other one used his father as an excuse to follow in his footsteps – same environment but different self-belief and attitudes

Self-efficacy is DOMAIN SPECIFIC

Linked strongly with behavioral outcomes (expectancy) and environmental cues (feedback)

Positively affects performance and vice versa

Indirectly affects future learning by predisposing students to engage in challenging tasks and to persist longer despite initial failures

Differ along three dimensions:

  1. Task difficulty
  2. Generality (domain specificity)
  3. Strength of one’s efficacy judgment (weak vs. strong perceptions)

Students with higher efficacy will be more inclined to persist and to maintain self-confidence!

Dependent also on:

  1. Successful performance (initial ones esp.)
  2. Model is judged to be similar in ability (teacher vs. peer)
  3. Verbal persuasion
  4. One’s psychological state


  1. What does it mean to have control (or be in control) in the classroom while learning?
  2. What are the characteristics of caring teachers, who would enhance students’ learning to the maximum?
  3. Why do you think that “the number of years teachers spend in the classroom negatively affect their efficacy?”

8 thoughts on “Chapter 6: Belief about Self”

  1. Dr. Roy.
    Wtih Great Respect!
    Due to external and internal circumstances, we are struggling for our life perfection in order to fulfill our potentials. Different people have different desire that they are struggling for; for instance, footballers strive to perform best in the match to beat thier opponents while highly motivated students always want to see As in their grade slip. To refer this is Adler’s theory, He called this ” Striving for Superiority”. This experience drives individual’s self-efficacy to be promoted and improved. This is what i have experienced as a football player.
    Best regard,

  2. Dr.Roy:

    It’s a nice chapter, it is much better than the memory. Because I think it’s interesting and related with our own learning. The self-efficacy theory is really helpful for teachers, students, as well for our human beens. I do think if a school has high self-efficacy which will build a wonderful and excellent school. If teacher has low self-efficacy which may canuse students in low academic achievement. As another way, the students have high self-efficacy which will get them into high level of learning. So as future teacher we should encourage and help students to gain the self-efficacy in the way you taught us.

  3. I just want to ask the second question above. Actually, there are many characteristics of caring teacher. I just list three of them which I think that is most important for caring teacher. In my opinion, the caring teachers should have high self-efficacy firstly. They really know what they teach and do in classroom will affect their students a lot. Therefore, they will try their best to improve themselves in teaching and really care about students. A teacher who has high self-efficacy will be a good model for his or her students in the classroom. The students can really trust this kind of teachers.
    Another characteristic of caring teacher is focused and symathetic listening to students. they care not only about what happens in the classroom, but about student’s lives in general.
    The third characteristic is understanding . Students like teachers who hold them in mutual respect and who are willing to talk about their own personal lives and experiences.
    These are my own opinions. I hope other classmates can give more ideas. Thank you!

  4. Dr. Roy
    I agree that it is very important to build up the belief in our self. It will not only help us in our academic performance but help us to face with problem. just belief in ourselves and do nothing will not imporve our life.
    here is a quote i have found

    If you believe that some day it’s going to happen, some day it probably will happen. You just have to make sure you’re there when it’s happening, and ideally you’re at the front of the parade, and the principle beneficiary of when it happens, but it’s not a kind of thing where you just sort of sit back and wait.
    by Steve Case

  5. Dr. Roy

    I like to share what I read from the aritcle. It’s about the relationship between teacher efficacy and stutudent efficacy.
    Self-efficacy has proved to be a powerful force in learning and motivation. Teacher efficacy is teachers’ confidence in their ability to promote students’ learning; and it has been associated with such significant variables as student motivation; teachers’ adoption of innovations, superintendents’ ratings of teachers’ competence, teachers’ classroom management strategies, and time spent teaching certain subjects, and teachers’ referrals of students to special education.
    Student self-efficacy plays a key role in classroom learning and is more significant than general self-concept or self-esteem in predicting achievement.
    Some of the most powerful influences on the development of teacher efficacy are mastery experiences during student teaching and the induction year.

  6. Dr. Roy,
    I read one article, it says that self-efficacy and self-determination are used for instruction as a way to better motivate students, and also for teacher by helping them to identify their all needs and how to achive those needs.
    For example, applying self-efficacy in school is one way to enhance student learning, and mostly for disabilities or dismotivated students.

  7. i believe that our own mind can change us..if we are particularly positive suggestion and visualisation, it might helps develop our self- belief and our determination to make successful change to our life. If we want to change our life we need to change how we think and change what we do.

  8. Human beings are all capable beings. Each and everyone of us has our own uniqueness in our own way. However, we are usually tempted to focus on our weaknesses, failures and mistakes that we forget about our skills and abilities. I personally think that all of us can have high self-efficacy. All we need is to realize our interests, desires and expertise and go for them. Parents and teachers can also help boost up the children’s self-efficacy by focusing on their strength rather than discouraging them by making a big issue out of their weaknesses. The effect of how parents and teachers view the children’s capabilities is significant. As teachers, we should be more concern with the children’s mental well-being. Once the students have high self-efficacy, they surely will become outstanding in their academic areas as well as in the other areas of their interest.

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