Leonie Bennett
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Learner Efficacy in a Junior Classroom August 2016 By Leonie Bennett @leonie_hastings
Below link to google doc- Learner Efficacy in a Junior Classroom


Learner Efficacy in a Junior Classroom

By Leonie Bennett (August 2016) @leonie_hastings

Thomas the Tank engine says, “Little engines can do big things.”(3) So when a teacher asks, “Can we do it?”
The answer is, “Yes we can.” (9) (Bob the Builder).

Learner efficacy is, “the extent or strength of one’s belief in one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals.” (10)
Self (learner) efficacy has been shown to play an important role in classroom engagement and learning.
For instance, Washington, (8) reports that one important factor affecting student self-efficacy is,
“positive mastery experiences that give students a sense of accomplishment when they have faced a challenge.”
Hence incorporating learner efficacy into a Junior, or for that matter any classroom,
should help students achieve ‘big things’ with their learning. (8)

How, then, can we as teachers, harness this learner efficacy and give it wings to fly?

Some people may believe that learner efficacy could not work effectively in a Junior classroom.
Well how about in a low decile 1a classroom where some New Entrants, (5 year olds beginning school),
have few positive preschool experiences, where a pencil or a book could be a foreign object
and where a mobile device might be ‘Mum’s phone?’
These New Entrants either bounce into the classroom on their first day of school full of wonder and excitement
or shyly shuffle in with a whanau (family) member in tow.
Teachers need to nurture that wonder and promote students that are motivated, engaged, confident and achieving.
Often teachers in senior classes state that students have lost some of that wonder, excitement and passion.
Learner efficacy is a way of maintaining that.

The first building blocks of learner efficacy should be entwined by the teacher around a student’s everyday learning.
Two examples that stand out are -Relationships- Whakawhanaungatanga and Respect- Manaakitanga.(5).
These can be nurtured through students, students-teacher(s), family and community.

Learning buddies, Tuakana-teina (older-younger), work well not only within the classroom but between classrooms too.
A senior student, who may not be as successful academically as others in his class, can be an expert and awhi (care/support) a younger student
providing ako (learning) and guidance. In class buddies can also provide feedback and questions and help their buddy set goals of ‘where to next’,
as well as praise and celebrate learning. This helps promote that self- confidence, self -belief and learner efficacy,
not only within their learning buddy but within themselves too. “Can we do it? Yes we can.”(9)

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Learning Buddies

Another way of teachers incorporating learner efficacy in the classroom is Inquiry learning.
The pedagogy behind this enables teachers and students to not only work in guided situations, if needed,
but also independently. Wonderings eg questions based on Kipling’s seven servants (7) reiterates Gregg Levoy’s idea that,
“Nothing shapes our journey through life so much as the questions we ask.”(4).
Te Ihi (fire/excitement),in Inquiry promotes a student’s passion and agency.
Learners become teachers, inquirers, creators, thinkers and processors not only of knowledge
and information but in moulding and enhancing their own learner efficacy.
Students are excited to share aspects and results of their inquiries and this helps develop a learner voice.
For example, the students in my class often produce a co-constructed keynote near the conclusion of their Inquiry to present at a School Assembly.
They are already role models of and leaders in their learning.

We also use Structured Observed Learning Outcome (SOLO) taxonomy rubric (1) to record our progress.
With SOLO the students are learning how to learn, what they have learnt and ‘where to next?’
SOLO taxonomy has been extended in schools by educationalist Pam Hook (Hook Ed),(1)
and endorsed by John Hattie and John Biggs (1) as a model that provides different levels of understanding
and is powerful for students in, “changing the way they think about their learning outcomes.”(1).

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Keynote. Our Inquiry wall includes SOLO taxonomy,Inspiration created multistructural
Describe map, wonderings and student’s learning.

Ways to promote learner efficacy
Well, as educators there are many possibilities. Digitally we are a 1 to 1 ipad school.
The Juniors use ipads to inquire, explore and reinforce their learning.
Apps that promote learning can be used independently or, as some prefer, with buddies.
Students can learn to code (eg ScratchJnr) as young as 5 years old and inquire (eg Google-teacher/adult monitored)
or just share their learning (eg Book Creator, Comic Life, Write about it, Explain Everything apps).

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Book Creator app----------------------------------------------- Explain Everything app

Sometimes that ‘sparkle’ is needed. Teachers can still teach but it does not have to be boring.
Dave Burgess (Teach like a Pirate) (2), has amazing’ hooks’ for learning. He is as inspiring in person as he is an author,
because he practises what he says. Not only does Dave do this in his classroom but in his presentations worldwide.
He is engaging, motivating and promotes learner efficacy both within his students and his audiences.
He asks the question. “If your students didn’t have to be there, would you be teaching to an empty room?”(p58) (2).
Dave Burgess uses terms such as passion, immersion, rapport, transformation and enthusiasm.
These can all be related to learner efficacy. He uses teaching hooks to promote learner efficacy
such as mystery bag, kinaesthetic, student directed hook and many more.
He asks another question too. If you are a teacher, “are you a lifeguard or a swimmer?” (p14) (2).
He also uses other educators’ quotations such as Thomas J Watson. “Would you like me to give you a formula for success?
It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure.” (p154) (2).

When I think of learner efficacy I also think of Ken Robinson’s book ‘The Element’ (6).
He describes the element as, “the place where the things we love to do and the things we are good at come together.”(xiii)(6).
There are two main features- aptitude and passion and its conditions are attitude and opportunity.
“The sequence goes something like this. I get it, I love it, I want it, where is it?”(p22)(6).

There are many more ideas and educators in the field saying and doing amazing things in education, globally and especially in New Zealand.
I believe that we, as teachers and educators, have a responsibility to promote nurture and fire up that wonder and sparkle in students.
We need to promote learner efficacy in our students as well as encourage and mentor them to be independent,
engaged, motivated and achieving learners and leaders of today and for the future..

Biggs, J.B., & Collis, K.F. (1982).Solo Taxonomy. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from:__http://www.pamhook.com/Solo-taxonomy__(1)

Burgess, Dave. (2012). Teach like a Pirate. California,USA. Dave Burgess Consulting, INC. (2)

IMDb. (2000). Thomas and the Magic Railroad. Thomas the Tank Engine-Quotes-IMDb.
Retrieved July 14, 2016, from: http://www.imd.com>character>quotes (3)

Educators- ( Proof- readers/Mentors)-
-1.Weston Mark (Ph.D) @ShiftParadigm- USA
-2. Salakas Brett @MRsalakas- Australia

Levoy,G.(2015). Author and Speaker. Retrieved July15, 2016, from:__http://www.gregglevoy.com__ (4)

Pearson. (2009). Maori Dictionary.Retrieved July 14, 2016, from: http://www.maoridictionary.co.nz (5)

Robinson,Ken.(2009). The Element. How finding your passion changes everything.USA. Penguin Books.(6)

Tangient , LLC. (2016). The Thinkers’ Toolbox. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from:__https://thinkerstoolbox.wikispaces.com/SevenServants__(7)

Washington.(2015). Do It. Retrieved July 16, 2016, from:__http://www.washington-edu/doit/what-factors-affect-student-self-efficacy__(8)

Wikipedia. (2015). Bob the Builder. Retrieved July 14, 2016, from:__https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob The_Builder__. (9)

Wikipedia.(2016). Self Efficacy. Retrieved from :
__https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?search=learner+efficacy&title=Special:Search&fulltext=1&searchToken=229r26f35vaa82u5xn1577rnl__ (10)