When ideas cross frontiers : an exploration of the cultural relevance of United States based self-efficacy research
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
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The benefits of high self-efficacy beliefs for student learning is something that is widely acknowledged and supported within educational circles. High self-efficacy beliefs are known to help students set challenging goals, maintain commitment to their goals and persevere in the face of adversity. Hence, having high self-efficacy beliefs is often seen as the preferred state of being for students, resulting in copious amounts of research into how educators can help foster high self-efficacy beliefs. Consequently, research by social psychologists such as Geert Hofstede and Gabriele Oettingen has addressed how cultural dimensions can impact personal self-efficacy beliefs, with Oettingen noting the benefit of certain cultural dimensions over those of others in regards to promoting self-efficacy. However, seemingly little attention has been paid to how the ways in which educators raise self-efficacy beliefs can impact cultures themselves. A critical review of Frank Pajares’ work on ways to raise self-efficacy beliefs was conducted to highlight the cultural dimensions being promoted via the self-efficacy model, before the work of Vanessa Andreotti and Lynn Souza was used to demonstrate how, in raising self-efficacy as suggested by Pajares, cultures can be undermined or harmed. Research was conducted to establish how culturally sensitive post 2010 self-efficacy focussed pedagogical research papers from the United States were towards ethnicity and gender. A secondary focus was also made to attempt to determine whether the analysed research demonstrated an awareness of self-efficacy’s ability to impact cultures via the use of the qualitative data. Data was collected through the use of a rating template and qualitative summaries for each paper. Results showed that, although recent research papers demonstrated a moderate awareness of the impacts of ethnicity and gender on their research, no papers explicitly addressed how implementing self-efficacy can impact cultures. Ultimately, research showed a need for increased attention to cultural issues in self-efficacy research, and a culture focussed re-evaluation of methods educators use to attempt to raise self-efficacy in students.
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