Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Self-efficaciously blogging...

This morning, I had a productive and enjoyable meeting with Jenny Moore of the White Rose Centre of Excellence in the Teaching and Learning of Enterprise (or WRCETLE to its friends). We talked through the range of skills building activities they run, and how these frequently offer powerful learning experiences for students - the WRCETLE's goal of "Placing academic learning in a real-world context" seems to be a powerful one for many learners. Jenny will be completing a tutor-facing guide to some of the resources they offer, thus helping spread them more effectively across the institution, and a lot of what we talked about would benefit students in all seven of the skills areas we've sketched out.

Jenny wanted to put forward a few specific ideas about our seven sk/hills framework, all of which I'm happy to accept. Firstly, she would like some mention of leadership, ideally in the interpersonal skills category - fair enough, and I think this will tie together neatly with PDP and other careers-focused discourses. Secondly, as other people have suggested, creativity needs to get a look-in, this time perhaps cutting across all seven of our areas. And lastly, Jenny drew my attention to the concept of self-efficacy, coming out of the work of Albert Bandura. It can be defined as your understanding of the skills you have to address any given problem; or, as Wikipedia puts it, "the belief that one is capable of performing in a certain manner to attain certain goals". This would, to some extent, be a useful concept for the "reflective learning" category, although like other items in that skill-set, it necessarily cuts across all the others. Indeed, I would suggest it's what TASH as a whole is trying to promote, primarily in learners but also in academic staff. So here's another phrase to add to our collective lexicon, and a helpful heuristic tool to understand better what we might already know how to do.

1 comment:

Willy Kitchen said...

As your posting and others have suggested, creativity is certainly a cross-cutting attribute but, like resourcefulness, I'm not sure it's a skill in and of itself.

Likewise, I'd suggest self-efficacy is as much an attribute as a skill and, like confidence, one can have too much as well as not enough of a good thing (as the wikipedia postings also indicate). I'm reminded of Bob Toynton's observation on teaching part-time degree modules to adult learners at TILL over a good number of years: "At the beginning of a module there's always just the right amount of confidence in the room, it just needs distributing more evenly". Perhaps there is a greater need to build self-belief/efficacy amongst younger undergraduates, but too much self-efficacy can also become a brake to further independent learning if not handled resourcefully and with critical awareness.