Cheung and Lai (2012) examine the relationship between personal development self-efficacy (PDSE) and classroom teaching in secondary classrooms. Historically researchers have studied the influence of school guidance and counseling, and the impact of classroom instruction on PDSE has been ignored. Five domains of PDSE were defined in this study; understanding self, stress management, understanding others, handling setbacks and managing leisure time. Performance accomplishments, vicarious experiences, verbal expression, physiological and emotional states were the four instructional measures used to determine results. It was determined that students who are in a classroom that utilizes constructivist learning instructional strategies, and were told they are learning in a classroom designed to raise self-efficacy, showed the highest measures of PDSE.
The strength of this study is that the researchers chose to investigate a connection between PDSE and classroom instruction at all, considering this relationship has been given little attention in educational research. Another strength of this research is that students were asked if they feel improvements in self-efficacy after engaging in a program designed to strengthen this character in them. The researchers pulled a large sample of students and administered a thorough questionnaire that measured all aspects of PDSE. However, I agree with Cheung and Lai (2012) that implementing multiple measures could have reinforced this study. For example, an objective third party could have observed the students over time to determine PDSE growth.
From my experience of teaching in a school for three years that supports PDSE, I have a practical experience with the strong connection between classroom instruction and PDSE. This study reinforces and fortifies my plan to integrate strategies into my curriculum for building strong PDSE in all my students. I agree with Cheng and Lai (2012) that constructivist teaching gives students a sense of control over, not so much what, but how they are learning, and being transparent about how this helps students to have PDSE is essential. One example of PDSE development I have practiced during my internship is teaching Roots of Empathy. This program promotes social/emotional literacy through a yearlong educational relationship with a baby and their caretaker/s. Students learn about how babies develop and learn, and in turn reflect on their personal developmental journey. Students infer that everyone was once a vulnerable baby, needing to be cared for and stimulated in order to grow. Roots of Empathy has been shown to substantially reduce incidences of bullying and contribute to overall academic achievement in classrooms. I hope to welcome the Roots of Empathy program into my classroom in the future because I think it is a highly effective program for building personal development self-efficacy in students.
Cheung D., & Lai, E. (2013). The effects of classroom teaching on students’ self-efficacy for personal development, British Journal of Guidance & Counseling, 41:2, 164-177. Retrieved from:
https://bbwebprod.spu.edu/bbcswebdav/courses/EDU6655_6017320145 0/Week%206%20Readings%20- %20Effects%20of%20Classroom%20Teaching.pdf