During online teaching, many of us lost confidence in our ability to successfully impact student learning. The transition from the room to the Zoom happened so unexpectedly. Afterwards, our priorities, schedules, and tools seemed to shift daily. Often, we were learning new strategies as we were employing them.
As the COVID outbreak (hopefully!) begins to wind down and schools start to transition back to some version of normality, it’s critical that we set aside the time to rebuild our mojo – our sense of self-efficacy. Here’s why:
What is Teacher Self-Efficacy?
John Hattie, in his book Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning, defined teacher self-efficacy as, in terms of making learning happen, the “confidence or strength of belief that we have in ourselves”. In other words, it is the belief that what we do actually matters.
Does Self-Efficacy Have an Impact on Learning Outcomes?
Hattie’s meta-analysis of the effect of different influences on educational outcomes indicated that teacher self-efficacy had a significant impact on learning outcomes. In fact, self-efficacy is ranked as number 11 on Hattie’s list of 252 impact factors. His 2018 list indicates that self-efficacy has an effect size of 0.92 – which is higher than what is considered a statistically large difference of of 0.8.
Martin Héroux, in the article Cohen’s D: How To Interpret It?, explains that the higher the effect size of a variable (Cohen’s d – the measurement of the size of the impact of something on something else – developed by statistician Jacob Cohen) the greater the shift in outcomes.
In other words, when teachers believe they can make a difference, they make a difference.
We Can’t Forget to Make Time for Ourselves
When the next school year begins, many of us will be back in our classrooms, reconnecting with our colleagues, and working with our students. We’ll be utilizing skills and strategies that we adopted during online teaching, as well as bringing back the high-impact instructional and assessment fundamentals. There’ll be lots of ideas to consider and implement. But, if the above is going to have any impact, we need to make time to strengthen what was shaken this year. We need to rebuild our self-efficacy so that we maximize our influence – to ensure that what we do next year will matter.
…And Time for ALL of US!
Yes, teacher self-efficacy occupies the 11th place in the ranking of influential factors on student learning outcomes. But, first place on that list (with an incredible effect size of 1.57) belongs to collective teacher efficacy – the shared belief, among a staff, that by working together we can have an even more profound impact on student learning. Jenni Donohoo, in her article Collective Teacher Efficacy: The Effect Size Research and Six Enabling Conditions, says that with a shared high degree of confidence, teachers “show greater effort and persistence, a willingness to try new teaching approaches, set more challenging goals, and attend more closely to the needs of students who require extra assistance.”
In preparing for next year, it would be crazy if we failed to focus on rebuilding our individual and collective teacher mojo. It may seem a little self-indulgent and not very student-centered, but the impact on student learning would be epic.
So, when you are preparing for the 2021/2022 school year, take some time to remember who you were before 2020.
Remember your awesomeness.
Then reach out and share that awesomeness with your colleagues. Maybe even plan some social events to cement your trust and sense of community!
And together let’s start shifting that curve.