John Hattie, in his book Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning, defined teacher self-efficacy as the “confidence or strength of belief that we have in ourselves”. Hattie’s meta-analysis of the effect of different influences on educational outcomes indicated that teacher self-efficacy was the eleventh most significant influence of 252 impact factors.
So clearly, when teachers believe they can make a difference, they make a difference.
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.
In other words, developing your own skills and confidence is good. But, bringing your colleagues with you on that journey is even better.
This is why it breaks my heart when I see so many teachers hurt each other on social media. Somehow, the collecting of “likes” has become more important than collective well being.
Why do we do this?
In a July 2021 article in Optimistsminds.com entitled Putting Down Others To Feel Better (The psychology behind it), people engage in this behavior because they feel threatened or are suffering low self-esteem. And really, who in education is not feeling threatened these days? Since the COVID outbreak, we’ve been on a ceaseless treadmill of professional upheaval and personal anxiety.
But, is the solution to your own personal woes to pile abuse on to your peers? On a psychological level, according to the above article, the answer is, sadly, yes. Putting others around you down a step keeps oneself feeling a step higher in the hierarchy and, therefore, a step happier. Throw in some imaginary/meaningless social media “likes” into the mix and you have yourself a new and powerful bad habit.
Continuous improvement is a noble and necessary path. It builds confidence in our abilities and has an incredibly significant impact on student achievement. But, as revealed by John Hattie’s research, it is more important for educators to improve collectively.
Let’s stop tearing individuals down and, instead, work to bring each other up. I would click “like” for that!