Albert Bandura may be most well known for his work on social cognitive theory and observational learning. But it’s important for educators and parents to know about a buried treasure at the heart of social cognitive theory – self-efficacy beliefs. Self-efficacy is what helps nurture effort, perseverance, resilience, serenity, and optimism in the face of adversity.
Bandura defines self-efficacy as “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations.” (Bandura, 1995, p. 2). In simpler terms, it’s best captured in Henry Ford’s famous quote: “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re usually right.”
Self-Efficacy: Pervasive in All Aspects of Life
People’s self-efficacy beliefs extend to all aspects of their lives – career choice, dating behavior, and emotional regulation. A child’s ideas about what she’s good at influences her choice of studies and ultimately career. If a person doesn’t believe her efforts will result in the outcome she wants, she will have a lot of trouble starting, applying effort, or persevering in any activity – whether it’s studying for an exam, engaging in a sport or asking someone out on a date.Read More →