SELF-EFFICACY, GRIT, SELF-CONTROL AND MOTIVATION
Growth mindset is built on theories that develop students’ social-emotional strength. The key attributes that seem to be embedded in growth mindset include self-efficacy, grit, self-control and motivation. These attributes provide a strong foundation so learners can be resilient when they face challenges and adversity. These qualities also pave the pathway for students to become life-long learners who can adapt to the changes of our society. As educators, we need to understand the importance of each component so we can identify strengths and next-steps in our students’ emotional development.
Books to Support Teaching Grit
Chester is a determined pig who works hard to become a performer in the circus. On the way to stardom Chester meets obstacles, but this doesn't stop Chester. Through grit he perseveres with his dream until he finally gets noticed by a circus performer. (Grades 2-6)
Clara arrives in America and can't speak English. She goes to work to earn a living but she doesn't want to trade schooling for a job so she goes to school at night and works in a factory during the day. She never gives up on her dream to have an education. She also fights to enforce fair working conditions for girls at the factory. (Grades 4-8)
Philo is a boy who enjoys inventing new machines. When he is 13 he enters an inventions contest. He invents a lock for a car door and he wins. At the age of 14 he comes up with the idea to invent a television, but he was unable to work on it because he is in school. Several years later Philo has two businessmen give him money to make his idea a reality. After several failed inventions he is finally successful in making a working TV set. (Grades 1-6)
What is Grit?
When students have grit they are passionate about reaching their goals and they have stamina to continue to strive even when faced with adversity. They are persistent and resilient individuals. “The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina” (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews & Kelly, 2007, p. 1088).
Self-control is described as “the capacity to regulate attention, emotion, and behaviour in the presence of temptation” (Duckworth & Gross, 2014, p. 319).
Self-control has three attributes:
1. monitoring your outcomes
2. following the standards or rules
3. regulating your energy to demonstrate self-control
Students who demonstrate self-control can follow the expectations for behaviour and academics. With self-control they can remain focused on learning tasks until they are complete. Having a stronger willpower to persist and learn inevitably means students will obtain more academic success than those students with little self-control (Baumeister, Vohs & Tice, 2007).
Self-control develops with age. "Some of the biggest changes in self-control happens between the ages of 3 and 7" (Dewar, 2014). Younger children tend to be more impulsive because they have low working memory or attention issues (Dewar, 2014). Teachers and parents can work together to cultivate self-control.
What is Self-Control?
Dr. Dewar (2014) suggested that parents and teachers can profoundly effect the development of self-discipline by:
1. Providing an environment that has clear and consistent expectations.
2. Building mind and body breaks into routines to help students increase their focus.
3. Designing learning tasks that hook the child's interests so they will be motivated to engage in doing the task.
4. Cultivating a growth mindset so they can understand that resilience and determination are necessary for success.
5. Helping develop working memory so children can focus for longer, using memory recall games like Simon.
6. Playing games that practice self-control, which help students follow rules.
Red Light, Green Light: Goal is to reach the end line without getting out. Person calls green light and the child is able to run towards the end line, but when the person calls red light the child must stop right away. If the person calling red light/green light sees them move after saying red light, the child must return to the start line. Can modify to have red and green represent the opposite movements to enhance self-control.
Dance and Freeze: Children dance when the music plays and freeze when it stops. Dance quickly for fast tempo songs and slow for slow tempo songs and freeze when the music stops. Can modify the movement to the fast and slow music to enhance self-control.
Drum Beats: Children respond to the sounds of different drum tempos. A fast beat might mean the child performs jumping jacks and a slow beat might have them hopping on one foot.
7. Coaching children to recognize emotional reactions to stressful situations as children often don't know what they
are feeling or why.
8. Providing students with a plan for the day or a task. A visual schedule can help prepare children for transitions
at home and in the classroom.
How Do You Foster Self-Control
What is Self-Efficacy?
Self-efficacy is having the belief that you can accomplish a task. Feelings of self-efficacy can change with the task and situation. People who have high self-efficacy work hard to achieve a goal because they believe they can do it. If an individual has low self-efficacy they will give up because they don't believe they can be successful.
Four factors influence self-efficacy:
How someone has previously performed in a task affects how they approach a similar task.
2. Vicarious Experiences: Observing others complete a task can affect peoples' beliefs that they can be successful. If a peer is successful at completing a math task, then the student will believe that they too can achieve success.
3.Verbal Persuasion: The impact of other's opinions can enhance an individual's beliefs about their ability. If a teacher, parent or peer makes a comment that they believe you can do a task, then that will have a positive effect on your self-efficacy. Coaching is an example of verbal persuasion.
4. Emotional Arrousal: A positive mood can enhance self-efficacy and a negative mood can diminish it. Stress and anxiety lead to self-doubt and lower the belief in one's ability to be successful, so the learner will disengage from the task.
What is Motivation?
Motivation is at the heart of learning!
There are two types of motivation:
1. Intrinsic Motivation:
The individual obtains personal satisfaction from gaining knowledge or achieving mastery of a concept, so they work harder to reach their goals (Criss, 2011).
2. Extrinsic Motivation:
The individual relies on teachers, parents, friends and the environment to provide incentives such as gifts, good grades and praise in order to be inspired to learn (Sengodan & Iksan, 2012).
It is critical that parents and educators work together to develop intrinsic motivations rather than extrinsic motivations in students. Students who are externally motivated never develop an internal drive to achieve success, so there is the risk that once the external motivators are gone, student success will decline (Criss, 2011).
Teachers want to cultivate independence in learners and that comes from fostering an ambition for success (Criss, 2011). Develop self-efficacy (a belief they can achieve success), they need to value the learning they are doing, and they need to worry about the outcome which drives them to excel (Falco, Summers & Bauman, 2010; Sengodan & Iksan, 2012).