Strategies for promoting self-efficacy in students - THE EDUCATION HUB (2023)

‘Teachers would be well served by paying as much attention to students’ perceptions of competence as to actual competence, for it is the perceptions that may more accurately predict students’ motivation and future academic choices.’

(Frank Pajares)[i]

Why is self-efficacy important forstudents?

Beliefs arethe strongest indicators of decisions individuals make over their lifetimes andearly experiences powerfully influence them. Because building self-efficacystarts early in life, it is paramount for children to become competent andconfident learners from a young age. This is possible through teachers’delivery and modelling of early and continuous positive learning experiences.

Self-efficaciousstudents exert extra effort, persevere with difficult tasks longer and showresilience by bouncing back from difficult learning situations. Studentswith high self-efficacy regard problems as challenges, set goals and arecommitted to them, attribute failure to lack of effort or as yet unlearnedskills or content, and increase their efforts in order to overcome failure. Self-efficacy,like many other aspects of socio-emotional learning, is both an enabler ofsuccess at school and an outcome of schooling. Studies have shown thatinterventions to build students’ self-efficacy beliefs can improve outcomes on particulartasks as well as influencing later life outcomes.

There are a number of strategies thatteachers can employ to ensure that students have the necessary experiences tobuild and develop their self-efficacy.

Strategies for building self-efficacyin students

  1. Promote task accomplishment and success

Mastery experience, or a student’s experience of succeeding in tasks, is the most important source of self-efficacy beliefs. Once students experience an improvement in performance or an achievement, feelings of efficacy are enhanced, enabling them to tackle further learning challenges. Students learn that their efforts improve their performance, so it is important to provide activities that students can accomplish with a reasonable amount of effort. To ensure an optimal level of challenge, teacher support can include scaffolding, allowing plenty of time to complete a task, and deconstructing larger tasks into smaller steps. Build concepts gradually and ensure success at each step. Explain the concept or strategy thoroughly before asking students to use it, which creates a perception of moderate challenge but also balances the difficulty of tasks.

2. Promote daily problem solving opportunities

(Video) Self Efficacy Animation

Value what you are teaching and express confidence that your students can learn it. Feeling that important learning has been achieved further enhances students’ efficacy beliefs, so teachers should convey to students that what they are learning is important. Foster a co-operative social environment, rather than a competitive atmosphere. Allow students to work together, and encourage them to build on one another’s responses and help each other. Use instructional practices based on class discussion and small group work.

3. Encourage peer modelling

Another way to provide mastery experiences is through regular problem-solving activities. To foster competence and confidence, make the problems appropriately challenging, but non-routine. After a while, students will become comfortable and more confident, and feel able to move to more challenging problems. The impact of challenge on students’ sense of self-efficacy depends on students’ perceived autonomy and choice, their knowledge and skills, and the support they receive from their teacher and peers. Use questions that foster thinking and that ask students to justify their thinking. Help students learn how to explain why they are doing something and then ask them to explain to the class, or have pairs question each other: ‘I see you did ___. How did you come up with that?’

Peers are the second most important influence onself-efficacy beliefs. Peer modelling can be more effective than teachermodelling, especially as some students may doubt that they can ever attain theteacher’s level of competence. However, choose your models carefully. The bestpeer models are those that make errors at first and express doubt about theirself-efficacy (‘I’m not sure I can do this’). The teacher supports these peermodels by giving prompts, and the model then successfully completes the task.He or she can be questioned about how they overcame failure and developedmastery. This kind of model, called a ‘coping’ model, is more effective than a ‘mastery’ model whoperforms the task correctly and verbalises high self-efficacy and ability (‘I’mgood at this’ or ‘That was easy’). Most students tend to see themselves asbeing more like the coping model than the mastery model. Try to identifysuitable coping models from within your class, but be wary of influentialstudents who offer themselves as mastery models. If your model does not makemistakes or experience difficulties, ensure that you ask questions about howthey worked out challenges in order to elicit coping strategies.Alternatively, you might act as a coping model yourself, or make empatheticstatements such as ‘At this point, you might be getting confused’, or ‘Youmight believe you’ve gone wrong’.

4. Foster goal setting and provide meaningful feedback

Although involving students in setting their own goals can lead to greater satisfaction for the student, giving a student a goal you as a teacher wish them to achieve can have a larger impact on self-efficacy because it indicates your belief in the student’s capabilities. Encourage students to compare present performance against a goal and also against previous performance. Convey tasks and activities as goals to be accomplished, then frame completion as success. Help students to identify any obstacles they foresee in accomplishing the goal, and help them brainstorm potential strategies they can use to overcome these. Give specific instruction in goal setting by starting with a general goal and discussing how to revise it so it is specific and realistic, as well as how to break it into a subset of smaller goals. For example, ‘I want to have great study habits’ might be transformed into ‘I will learn a reading comprehension strategy’, ‘I will practise each part at a time’, and ‘I will monitor my performance after each comprehension test’. Have students write goals, then in pairs try to revise and improve them.

Make feedback frequent, detailed and positive. Offer feedback emphasising goal progress and highlighting personal capacities in order to increase students’ self-efficacy. Feedback should refer to what students are learning rather than simply evaluating their answers as correct or incorrect. When students give an incorrect response, examine their thinking processes to ascertain why they misunderstood. Use this opportunity to re-teach or clarify, so as to further support the student’s efficacy. Focus on effort and strategies in attributing the reason for success: for example, ‘the effort you showed by restudying the words you missed paid off – look at the improvement you’ve made’. Teach students to expect to make mistakes, and treat mistakes as opportunities to learn and gain useful feedback from others. This can retrain students’ interpretations of setbacks and build resiliency.

(Video) PD Minute - Four Easy Ways to Build Students' Self Efficacy

5. Use self-assessment

Have students write comments or questions in the last few minutes of class. Address these the next day. This encourages students to think about what they do/do not understand and helps them see how they are learning. Tell students every day how they are progressing and what they learned the day before. Some students need to be convinced that they can learn and are learning.

6. Affirm students’ identities as learners

Students may be better able to accept difficulties if they have affirmed other aspects of self which strengthen their sense of self-efficacy. Have students write self-affirming statements consisting of brief reflections on their most important values, characteristics, relationships and goals. These affirmations of values and goals can boost students’ sense of their resources to cope with challenges, and to view threatening events — such as negative feedback or making errors — as less powerful and less significant for their self-concept.

Trust survey for students

Thefollowing survey can help teachers determine students’ perceptions of theirteacher’s ability to teach them and their confidence in their own ability tolearn. As self-efficacy tends to be task or domain specific, it may be usefulto use this survey in different subject areas.

1 –disagree 2 – mostly disagree 3 – mostly agree 4 –agree

Student Trust Survey 1 2 3 4
1 Teachers are always ready to help.
2 Teachers are easy to talk to at this school.
3 Students learn a lot from teachers in this school.
4 Students at this school can depend on teachers for
5 Teachers at this school do a terrific job.
6 Teachers at this school really listen to students.
7 Teachers always do what they are supposed to do.
8 Students are well cared for at this school.
9 Teachers at this school are good at teaching.
10 Teachers at this school are always honest with me.

Adapted from ‘Students as Allies inImproving their Schools’

(Video) ECE Webinar: Visual arts and teacher self efficacy beliefs

References & Further Reading

Pajares,F. (2002). Self-efficacy beliefs in academic contexts: An outline. Retrievedfrom

Rosen, J.A., Glennie, E.J., Dalton, B.W., Lennon, J.M., & Bozick,R.N. (2010). Noncognitive skills in the classroom: New perspectives oneducational research. RTI Press publication No. BK-0004-1009. ResearchTriangle Park, NC: RTI International. Retrieved [date] from

[i] Pajares (2002), p. 29

(Video) Self-Efficacy


Strategies for promoting self-efficacy in students - THE EDUCATION HUB (1)

Helen Withy

Helen Withy is a trained primary school teacher and recently has completed a Master of Education degree with First Class Honours, writing her dissertation on self-efficacy. Helen was school-wide Curriculum Leader for mathematics in her previous school and served as staff trustee on the School Board of Trustees. She is passionate about education and its importance in the growth and development of competent, confident and resilient young citizens who will contribute to making the ever-changing world around us a better place.


Strategies for promoting self-efficacy in students - THE EDUCATION HUB (2)

Dr Vicki Hargraves

Vicki runs our ECE webinar series and also is responsible for the creation of many of our ECE research reviews. Vicki is a teacher, mother, writer, and researcher living in Marlborough. She recently completed her PhD using philosophy to explore creative approaches to understanding early childhood education. She is inspired by the wealth of educational research that is available and is passionate about making this available and useful for teachers.

(Video) How to Enhance Your Self-efficacy | Talent and Skills HuB


What are two strategies that can help strengthen self-efficacy? ›

4 Ways to Increase Self-Efficacy
  • Take a one-day class in a skill you've never tried.
  • Meet someone new at a speed-dating or social event.
  • Try out a social support, or begin training for an event (e.g., a fun-run).
  • Go somewhere in your town you've heard about but never been before.
Apr 9, 2019

What are 4 ways to build self-efficacy? ›

Bandura identified four major sources of self-efficacy. The four ways that self-efficacy is achieved are mastery experiences, social modeling, social persuasion, and psychological responses.

What are the 5 effective teaching strategies to help your students in school? ›

Every teacher's classroom practice is unique, so here are 7 effective teaching strategies you can use for inspiration to give your students a fulfilling learning experience.
  • Visualization. ...
  • Cooperative Learning. ...
  • Differentiated Instruction. ...
  • Using Technology to your Advantage. ...
  • Student Centred Inquiry. ...
  • Professional Development.
Feb 9, 2023

What are the four sources of self-efficacy teachers can use strategies to build self-efficacy in various ways? ›

the development of teacher competence and confidence in implementation of strategies to bring about desirable effects for learners (through Bandura's four sources of efficacy: mastery experience, vicarious experience, social persuasion and the interpretation of physiological and emotional states).

What are 5 ways to develop self-efficacy? ›

6 Achievable Ways to Improve Your Self-Efficacy
  • Accomplish Small Tasks. ...
  • Learn From the Successes of Others. ...
  • Shape Your Goals. ...
  • Create a Positive Physical Space. ...
  • Clear Out Negative Thoughts. ...
  • Look for Role Models.
May 17, 2019

What are the 6 sources of self-efficacy? ›

One hundred and four studies (141 independent samples) provided data for testing the 6-variable sources of self-efficacy model (mastery experience, vicarious learning, verbal persuasion, affective state, self-efficacy, outcome expectations) which was the focus of the current meta-analysis.

What are the six educator strategies? ›

Specifically, six key learning strategies from cognitive research can be applied to education: spaced practice, interleaving, elaborative interrogation, concrete examples, dual coding, and retrieval practice.

What strategies do teachers use to engage students? ›

Promoting student engagement through active learning

Strategies include, but are not limited to, question-and-answer sessions, discussion, interactive lecture (in which students respond to or ask questions), quick writing assignments, hands-on activities, and experiential learning.

What techniques strategies and methods promote student learning? ›

Here are seven strategies that have a positive impact:
  • Having compassion and empathy. ...
  • Creating a secure and dependable structure. ...
  • Ramping up the positive. ...
  • Supporting academic risk. ...
  • Teaching active listening. ...
  • Embedding strategy instruction. ...
  • Building collaborative relationships.

What types of instructional strategies benefit students self-efficacy? ›

Effective instructional strategies such as social modeling, social persuasion, motivational feedback, group work, and participative assessment methods were identified by ELs in this study.

What is self-efficacy strategy? ›

Self-Efficacy is the belief in one's ability to succeed in achieving an outcome or reaching a goal. This belief, specific to a task or an area of knowledge or performance, shapes the behaviors and strategies that help one pursue their goal.

What is the most effective source of self-efficacy? ›

Mastery Experiences

The first and foremost source of self-efficacy is through mastery experiences. However nothing is more powerful than having a direct experience of mastery to increase self-efficacy.

What are the 3 major concepts of self-efficacy theory? ›

defined confidence in terms of Bandura's (1997) self-efficacy theory as a self-belief related to one's ability to perform tasks which can vary on three dimensions: level, generality, and strength.

What are the four modes of learning that lead to greater self-efficacy? ›

Bandura (1977, 1997) identified four sources of efficacy expectations: mastery experiences (the most powerful source), physiological and emotional states, vicarious experiences, and social persuasion.

What is an example of self-efficacy in the classroom? ›

A student with strong efficacy will:
  • Feel confident about his/her learning abilities and will do good in assessments.
  • Be interested in taking part in classroom activities and being proactive all the time.
  • Use the information efficiently to benefit his academic career.
  • Be motivated to apply and adapt to new lessons.
Feb 7, 2022

What are the five 5 self Enhancement strategies to maintain your high self-esteem? ›

  • Become aware of thoughts and beliefs. Once you've learned which situations affect your self-esteem, notice your thoughts about them. ...
  • Challenge negative thinking. ...
  • Adjust your thoughts and beliefs. ...
  • Spot troubling conditions or situations. ...
  • Step back from your thoughts. ...
  • Accept your thoughts.
Jul 6, 2022

What is self-efficacy in education? ›

Academic self-efficacy refers to the students' beliefs and attitudes toward their capabilities to achieve academic success, as well as belief in their ability to fulfill academic tasks and the successful learning of the materials [22, 23].

What are the 10 high impact teaching strategies? ›

The 10 high impact teaching strategies that have been identified to provide the most benefits are: Setting goals. Structuring lessons. Explicit teaching.
  • Setting goals. ...
  • Structuring lessons. ...
  • Explicit teaching. ...
  • Worked examples. ...
  • Collaborative learning. ...
  • Multiple exposures. ...
  • Questioning. ...
  • Feedback.
Jun 10, 2022

What learning strategies are the most effective? ›

The Science of Learning: Six Strategies for Effective Learning
  1. Spaced Practice. ...
  2. Interleaving. ...
  3. Retrieval Practice. ...
  4. Elaboration. ...
  5. Concrete Examples. ...
  6. Dual Coding.
May 13, 2020

What are the 9 teaching strategies? ›

  • Identifying Similarities and Differences. ...
  • Summarizing and Note Taking. ...
  • Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition. ...
  • Homework and Practice. ...
  • Nonlinguistic Representations. ...
  • Cooperative Learning. ...
  • Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback. ...
  • Generating and Testing Hypotheses.

What are the 7 student engagement strategies? ›

Here are 7 student engagement strategies to enhance learning and boost meaningful involvement in the classroom:
  • 1 – Setting Ground Rules. ...
  • 2 – Journaling. ...
  • 3 – Let Students Lead. ...
  • 4 – Icebreakers. ...
  • 5 – Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum. ...
  • 6 – Get Outside. ...
  • 7 – Perform a Class Service Project.

What are 5 techniques teachers can use to help students cope with problems and challenges? ›

Here are five common teaching methods.
  • Differentiated instruction. With this approach, teachers change and switch around what students need to learn, how they'll learn it, and how to get the material across to them. ...
  • Scaffolding. ...
  • Graphic organization. ...
  • Mnemonics. ...
  • Multisensory instruction.

What are the strategies used to motivate students for learning? ›

Positive Outcomes

Give verbal praise for successful progress or accomplishment. Give personal attention to students. Provide informative, helpful feedback when it is immediately useful. Provide motivating feedback (praise) immediately following task performance.

What are the 7 strategies that promote learning? ›

Winona State University
  • Good Practice Encourages Student – Instructor Contact. ...
  • Good Practice Encourages Cooperation Among Students. ...
  • Good Practice Encourages Active Learning. ...
  • Good Practice Gives Prompt Feedback. ...
  • Good Practice Emphasizes Time on Task. ...
  • Good Practice Communicates High Expectations.
Mar 3, 2023

What are the 5 instructional strategies? ›

Consider the five categories of instructional strategies (direct, indirect, experiential, independent and interactive).

What is the role of a teacher in enhancing self-efficacy in students? ›

Teachers' self-efficacy, namely teachers' beliefs in their ability to effectively handle the tasks, obligations, and challenges related to their professional activity, plays a key role in influencing important academic outcomes (e.g., students' achievement and motivation) and well-being in the working environment.

How do you build self-efficacy in children? ›

Provide opportunities for mastery experiences.

Creating opportunities for children to make decisions, use and practice their skills, and try different paths to achieve their goals will help build self-efficacy. This requires genuinely knowing the child's strengths and being able to link those to their goals.

What are some of the recommended strategies to support children's self-efficacy and empowerment? ›

Strategies for building self-efficacy in students
  • Promote daily problem solving opportunities.
  • Encourage peer modelling. Another way to provide mastery experiences is through regular problem-solving activities. ...
  • Foster goal setting and provide meaningful feedback. ...
  • Use self-assessment. ...
  • Affirm students' identities as learners.
Sep 23, 2019

What are some examples of self-efficacy? ›

This belief influences their decisions and behaviors. They tend to remain motivated to obtain successful outcomes and are less likely to give up than individuals with low self-efficacy. Imagine two friends who want to quit smoking. The first individual has high self-efficacy and believes she can stop smoking.

What are 2 instructional strategies that have found to be successful when working with students with communication disorders? ›

Allow students to tape lectures. Provide an interpreter (signed English or American Sign Language) to those who require another form of communication. Encourage and assist in facilitation of participation in activities and discussions.

Which strategies are ways to build self-efficacy? ›

Tips to improve self-efficacy for struggling students
  • Use moderately- difficult tasks. ...
  • Use peer models. ...
  • Teach specific learning strategies. ...
  • Capitalize on students' interests. ...
  • Allow students to make their own choices. ...
  • Encourage students to try. ...
  • Give frequent, focused feedback. ...
  • Encourage accurate attributions.

What are the two types of self-efficacy? ›

It measures self-efficacy as a two-component construct, made up of:
  • Belief that ability can grow with effort;
  • Belief in that ability to meet specific goals and/or expectations.
May 29, 2018

What is self-efficacy in a classroom setting? ›

Self-efficacy is the judgement that a person makes about their own capability to achieve a future task. High self-efficacy is the confidence or strength of belief that one can learn and experience success in learning. Students tend to avoid tasks that exceed their ability and seek tasks at which they can succeed.

How does self-efficacy help a student succeed? ›

The literature shows that students with a strong sense of efficacy believe they can accomplish even difficult tasks. In the face of impending failure, these students increase and sustain their efforts to be successful. They approach difficulty or threating situations with confidence that they have control over them.

How do you measure student self-efficacy? ›

The Student Self-Efficacy Scale (SSE) was developed by adapting the TSE scale to reflect the role of a student instead of the teacher's role. The four areas addressed by the scale are: a) academic performance, b) skill and knowledge development, c) social interaction with faculty, and d) coping with academic stress.


1. FROM BURNOUT TO BURN-IN: Sustaining Teacher Enthusiasm & Developing Self-Efficacy
(Emmanuel Rentoy)
2. Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy Among Students | TVET Webinar
(The National Training Agency of Trinidad and Tobago)
3. Entrepreneurship is about self-awareness and self-efficacy
(EU Science Hub - Joint Research Centre)
4. Wellbeing For Children: Confidence And Self-Esteem
5. Payne, T. (2021) Building student mathematics self-efficacy.
(Dr R.G.N. Laidlaw Research Centre)
6. Strategies for Engaging Students in Blended and Online Learning
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