The Role of Self-Efficacy in the Language Classroom

February 2020

Self-efficacy is what you believe about your ability to accomplish things. Understanding how Bandura’s important concept works will help you understand your learners. Learn how to unravel the secrets of motivation and engagement. But self-efficacy has a dark side too, one we will help you avoid stumbling into.

Watch before you read...

David Kelley’s company IDEO created many icons of the digital age. Here he explains how an organization can unlock creative potential.

Once we get into the Think Tank we start with the positive side of self-efficacy, especially how to build it, and end with the dark. In the first article, Dawn Kobayashi gives us a full explanation of what self-efficacy is and how it is raised in our learners. Mirela Ramacciotti explains the theory at a deeper and more academic level. Then we switch to ways our assumptions might be leaving some learners out. In an eye-opening piece, Heather McCulloch warns us that our teaching practices are often biased towards extroverts. Nonetheless, with a deeper understanding of introverts and a few tweaks to our standard practices, we can make a more inclusive classroom. At the end, Curtis Kelly tells a story about another, possibly stronger, bias in our educational system that might be hurting the best.

To carry on our recent passion for offering teacher stories as training tools (as in our big hit January issue), our PLUS this month will be two more by Malaurie Koshikawa and the Basu-Jürgens-Murphy team.

Our Thoughts on Self-Efficacy

Helping Students Touch Snakes Julia Daley

There’s a common reptilian thread winding through the articles in this month’s issue, and it has everything to do with Albert Bandura’s famous research on curing ophiophobes of their fear of snakes. Through a series of baby steps, lasting about four hours, Bandura perfected a process (known as “guided mastery”) to help his fearful patients overcome their snake-phobias.

Think Tank Articles

Using Self-Efficacy to Build Student Confidence: Some Takeaways for Teachers Dawn Kobayashi

What’s your favourite scene from the Harry Potter books or movies? For me, it is in Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince when Harry tricks Ron into believing that he (Ron) has drunk felix felicis (a lucky potion). Ron goes on to be the star player in the Quidditch match, saving goal after goal. All because he believed that whatever he did would be successful.

Self-Efficacy in Learning Mirela Ramacciotti

If you had to pick from options below for what is entailed in learning, which would you choose?

a. Development of skills
b. Appropriation of knowledge
c. Attitudes & values
d. All of the above

Embracing the Introverted Brain Heather McCulloch

Introverts are quiet. All they need is to be encouraged to come out of their shells. All you need to do is to tell them to “Speak up.” Right? No. It’s not that simple. Recent research shows there are unique differences between the brains of introverts and extroverts.

My Geometry Class Insight Curtis Kelly

We’ve all had them, those kids that seem way ahead on the line of brain development–the smart ones–and then, those, well, kids way behind–the ones who just don’t get it. Teachers of young learners are particularly aware of that difference: That kid just doesn’t get it.

Think Tank Plus

The Girl Who Wouldn't Speak in Class Malaurie Koshikawa

In class, we may sometimes feel stuck in front of students who are reluctant to speak. If the class is an elective oral English class, we tend to look at them as lacking motivation to communicate. But what if it is not motivation, but something else?

The Brilliance of Mr. Pemberton Amit Basu, Martin Jürgens, and Robert S. Murphy

Our classmates always end up indulging in a long heartfelt discussion of “Mr. P” at reunions. Although we are diverse (internationally and academically), we’ve concluded that Mr. P was “the best teacher” we will ever have. What made him so brilliant?

Call for Contributions: Ideas & Articles Think Tank Staff

Become a Think Tank star! Here are some of the future issue topics we are thinking about. Would you, or anyone you know, like to write about any of these?

Going Deeper

TT Author Dawn Kobayashi also alerted us to this classic on self-efficacy.

Watch this video about introverts, or read the original article here.

A moving video by Prince Ea on famous celebrities and how they faced failure. 

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The MindBrained Think Tanks+

is produced by the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT) Mind, Brain, and Education Special Interest Group (BRAIN SIG). Kyoto, Japan. (ISSN 2434-1002)

Editorial Staff

Stephen M. Ryan                Julia Daley                   Marc Helgesen

Curtis H. Kelly                Skye Playsted



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