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Self Efficacy and Implicit Theories of Intelligence Mikelene Ray and Paul Smith Alverno College, Milwaukee WI.

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Presentation on theme: "Self Efficacy and Implicit Theories of Intelligence Mikelene Ray and Paul Smith Alverno College, Milwaukee WI."— Presentation transcript:

1 Self Efficacy and Implicit Theories of Intelligence Mikelene Ray and Paul Smith Alverno College, Milwaukee WI

2  The label “at-risk” indicates the expectation that the student will have difficulty with her academic program.  That expectation may be based on:  The student’s own past performance.  Characteristics the student has in common with past students who had difficulty.

3  The purpose of the “at-risk” label is to match students with available help.  Nonetheless, the “at-risk” label may result in negative stereotyping.

4 What determines students’ success? ModelDeterminant of Student Success “Risk Factors”Number and severity of risk factors BanduraStudents’ self efficacy DweckStudents’ beliefs about the nature of intelligence.

5 A naïve model of advising at-risk students suggests: ▪ Identifying at-risk students ▪ Giving them special support

6 Implicit Assumption:  At-risk students face special difficulties that impede their graduation. (and therefore…)  Students in general who graduate on time do so because they faced no special difficulties.

7 Bandura on Agency : “Self-generated activities lie at the very heart of causal processes” “Because judgments and actions are partly self-determined, people can effect change in themselves and their situations through their own efforts” “Among the mechanisms of personal agency, none is more central or pervasive than people’s beliefs about their capabilities to exercise control over events that affect their lives” Bandura, A. (1989). Human agency in Social Cognitive Theory. American Psychologist, 44,

8 “Self-doubts can set in quickly after some failures or reverses…Because the acquisition of knowledge and competencies usually requires sustained effort in the face of difficulties and setbacks, it is resiliency of self-belief that counts”. Bandura, A. (1989). Human agency in Social Cognitive Theory. American Psychologist, 44,

9 If you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything! X

10 “Magic” Theory “Believe in yourself!” “You can do anything!” (some unspecified mechanism) Self Efficacy Believe that you can accomplish this particular task. Succeed at this particular task. Persist in your efforts at this task, even after setbacks.

11 Core principle: Students’ beliefs about the nature of intelligence determine the orientation they take toward learning.

12  Entity Theory (held by some students):  Intelligence in an area is a fixed entity.  The learning process is a matter of discovering whether or not you have intelligence in an area.  Effect on learning behavior:  Adopt Performance Goal: goal of learning process is to demonstrate existing competence.  In the face of failure, stop trying. Dweck, C. S. & Leggett, E. L. (1998). A Social-Cognitive approach to motivation and personality. Psychological Review, 95,

13  Incremental Theory:  Intelligence in an area can be developed.  The learning process is a matter of taking on challenging tasks that promote development.  Effect on learning behavior:  Adopt Learning Goal: goal of learning process is to develop competence.  Failure provides information about what to work on next. Dweck, C. S. & Leggett, E. L. (1998). A Social-Cognitive approach to motivation and personality. Psychological Review, 95,

14 Theory of Intelligence Goal OrientationPerceived present ability Behavior pattern Entity (Intelligence is fixed) Performance (Goal is to gain positive judgments/avoid negative judgments of competence) HighMastery oriented (Seek challenge; high persistence) LowHelpless (Avoid challenge; low persistence) Incremental (Intelligence is malleable) Learning (Goal is to increase competence) High or LowMastery oriented (Seek challenge that fosters learning; high persistence

15 Entity Theory (Initial thoughts: I have an inherent talent) “I am naturally good at helping people” “I will be a successful Psychology student” “I can’t do math” (Faced with a Challenge: I lack an inherent talent) “I will avoid taking the required Probability and Statistics course”

16 Incremental Theory (Initial Thoughts: Need to learn a skill) “I like helping people” “I will become a Psychology Major” “I did not receive the feedback/grade in Statistics that I was hoping for” (Faced with a Challenge: What do I need to learn?) “I will continue as a Psychology major, but may need to put more effort into understanding principles of Statistics”

17 Can a student’s Self Efficacy for college success change? Can we do anything to improve a student’s Self Efficacy? Can we do anything to move a student from an Entity Theory of intelligence to an Incremental Theory?

18 Can a student’s Self Efficacy for college success change?

19 Can we do anything to improve a student’s Self Efficacy?

20 Can we do anything to move a student from an Entity Theory of intelligence to an Incremental Theory? 1.Stop encouraging the Entity Theory. 2.Explicitly discuss the model with students. 3.Acknowledge the hard work we did in order to learn.


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