Academic Self-Efficacy

Academic Self-Efficacy: Upgrading Your NeckTop Computer

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Did you know that you are walking around with one of the most amazing computers right on top of your shoulders!?!

Yes, your NeckTop Computer! Even this wonderful organic machine needs software upgrades now and then. Teach it how to learn, remember and adapt. By consistently learning, you upgrade your software, which makes your life so much easier because you can understand information at a quicker pace, store that information longer and be able to show off just how much you have learned by being able to handle those pesky quizzes, tests or exams 😉

BrainComputer.pngBrain Facts

  • About 100 billion neurons make up the human brain.
  • Each neuron connects approximately 10,000 neutrons together.
  • The human brain weighs about 3 pounds.
  • The cerebral cortex grows thicker the more it is used. That means you have more neural networks to process information and more memory capacity. The more you learn, the better your brain gets.
  • For all of you environmentalists…your NeckTop computer is powered bio-electrically! Just eat things that are healthy for you…feed and power this computer!

Learning How to Learn

Learning how to learn starts with developing your Academic-Self Efficacy; the belief that you have the skills necessary to successfully complete your courses and that you have the ability to improve, when necessary. For example…

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  • Knowing how to schedule time to accomplish tasks.
  • Knowing how to take notes.
  • I knowing how to study to perform well on tests.
  • Knowing that you are good at research and writing papers.
  • Knowing and feeling that you are a very good student.
  • Having the experience of usually doing very well in school and at academic tasks.
  • Consistently finding ways to make your academic work interesting and absorbing (even when it is not at first).
  • Knowing that, despite obstacles, you are very capable of succeeding in your post-secondary program.

4 Ways to Develop Academic Self-Efficacy Beliefs

  • Performance accomplishments: The experience of mastery influences your perspective on your abilities. Successful experiences lead to greater feelings of self-efficacy. However, failing to deal with a task or challenge can also undermine and weaken self-efficacy.
    • If you avoid doing class presentations because you feel anxious or nervous, you never have the opportunity to improve, adapt, develop skills and believe that you can do this. Yes, despite how anxious you are, you can learn to at least survive presentations. I did.
  • Vicarious experience: Observing someone else perform a task or handle a situation
    can help you to perform the same task by imitation, and if you succeed in performing a task, you are likely to think that you will succeed as well, if the task is not too difficult. Observing people who are similar to yourself succeed will increase your beliefs that you can master a similar activity

    • Look around your classroom and your life. Who seems to “have it all together” or seems to know how to write papers, to study or to write tests. Ask them about their process. Observe, try and improve based on the experience of others.
  • Verbal persuasion: When other people encourage and convince you to perform a task, you tend to believe that you are more capable of performing the task. Constructive feedback is important in maintaining a sense of efficacy as it may help overcome self-doubt.
    • Ask for feedback from friends, classmates, professors/instructors or tutors. Learn from the constructive; learn from the encouragement.
  • Physiological states: Moods, emotions, physical reactions, and stress levels may influence how you feel about your personal abilities. If you are extremely nervous, you may begin to doubt and develop a weak sense of self-efficacy. If you are confident and feel no anxiety or nervousness at all, you may experience a sense of excitement that fosters a great sense of self-efficacy. It is the way people interpret and evaluate emotional states that is important for how they develop self-efficacy beliefs. For this reason, being able to diminish or control anxiety may have positive impact on self-efficacy beliefs.
    • Learn about YOUR brain. Learn more about this awesome computer. I have written extensively on emotion regulation, stress management, anxiety, check out some of my other posts to learn more about managing, understanding and improving your own NeckTop computer.

Adapted from the following source: Click Here

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Step-by-Step Process

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  • Academic Self-Efficacy Mindset: Start with building your Academic Self-efficacy mindset (above). This prepares your mind for the software upgrade process
  • Study Skills Questionnaire: Start with an assessment of your study skills tool kit. What you have; what you need.
  • Study Skill Toolbox: Make a list of skills that you already have. Make a plan for the areas you would like to improve (upgrade the software).
  • Software Upgrade: Start searching online or in human interactions, for tips, strategies to learn different ways of improving in the following areas:
    • Project Managing Your Academic Experience: Organization & Time Management
    • Note-Taking Strategies: Capturing the Knowledge
    • Leaning into Your Studies: Attitude, Learning Style, Active Learning and Memory Enhancement.
    • Being Tested: Strategies for Writing Quizzes, Tests and Exams.
    • Learning to Communicate: Research and Writing Skills
    • Presentations: Learning the Tips & Tricks
    • Working in Groups: Strategies for Making the Process Smooth and Effective.
*I used to have a 1969 VW Beetle that I painted red foot prints running from the back, over the top to the front. I could totally post rationalize that it was because I so strongly believed in the step-by-step human growth and change process, but really it was because I loved bare feet, I was very poor and the red paint was free 😉 I have grown 😉

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Study Skills Questionnaire


 

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Let me know what you think, what topics you would like me to cover or ideas you have. I would really LOVE to hear from you 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca

Wanna Change? Give Mistakes a Huge Hug!

Posted on Updated on

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Last week I wrote about Prospective Hindsight as a means to better manage our lives by understanding our behavioural patterns. If you missed it, take a moment to take a peak, especially the advice delivered by a 4 year old around goal setting and self-compassion. So insightful!

Which leads me into my blog post today. Your gonna need a self-compassionate mindset to tackle all those goals you have set for yourself this year. So many people give up their learning and growth plans because of one slip, one setback, one bad experience or one mistake. PLEASE DON’T!  Because learning and change takes time. It is an evolution. It is all about direction NOT perfection. So set those goals, head in your desired direction and enjoy the journey.

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Mistakes are not tools of mass self-concept destruction; they are wonderful little tools to help us clarify and learn so much more about ourselves.

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If you don’t believe me, check out the very reputable Huffington Post and learn about 9 Powerful Lessons We Can Learn From Our Mistakes. See! Even they agree 🙂


Pull Up A Couch

16542-luxury-customizable-red-sofa…and check out this great TEDTalk from the fantastic, and very popular author, Elizabeth Gilbert.

Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating

Elizabeth Gilbert was once an “unpublished diner waitress,” devastated by rejection letters. And yet, in the wake of the success of ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ she found herself identifying strongly with her former self. With beautiful insight, Gilbert reflects on why success can be as disorienting as failure and offers a simple — though hard — way to carry on, regardless of outcomes.

Even she experienced setbacks, mistakes and disappointments. So if we want our lives to be different, lets pull on our gown up pants and start looking at mistakes as guides, sherpas, teachers…not self-esteem wreckers.


Change

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Over the next few weeks, I am going to start uploading a series of videos that I have created to help enhance the learning process. I truly believe that any type of life training, whether that be in a conventional school setting, on the job or in your life, learning can change everything for the better. For me, school profoundly changed by life by allowing me to gain greater control over my ability to support myself and my destiny. I believe that people can learn and grown and the following topics are what I know to be the most fundamental skills needed to succeed in any learning endeavour.

  • Project Managing Your Academic Experience: Organization & Time Management
  • Note-Taking Strategies: Capturing the Knowledge
  • Leaning into Your Studies: Attitude, Learning Style, Active Learning and Memory Enhancement.
  • Being Tested: Strategies for Writing Quizzes, Tests and Exams.
  • Learning to Communicate: Research and Writing Skills
  • Presentations: Learning the Tips & Tricks
  • Working in Groups: Strategies for Making the Process Smooth and Effective

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There is no need to base your entire student self-esteem on past experiences. When you know better you do better. So let’s start making some mistakes together, feel a wee bit awkward and then start enjoying your new found success skills!


Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca