Click for video about using models.
Modeling is a type of social
comparison that has an important influence on children’s
self-efficacy during skill acquisition. Modelingan occur
in two forms:
- Children who observe a successful
model similar to themselves are likely to believe that
they can perform as well as the model and thereby experience
higher self-efficacy (this section).
- Children can also serve
as their own model by observing tapes of themselves or
by mentally reviewing the steps they need to complete
a project (next section).
Deeper: Research on Models
Considerable research has shown the usefulness of models. Teachers
are important models, of course, but Dale Schunk and Antoinette
Hanson (1985) found that students can be just as potent. When they
showed elementary students a video of peer models learning a skill,
the observers gained more in self-efficacy and achievement than
when they watched a video of a teacher. Predictably, both types
of models were more effective than no model at all.
Donald Meichenbaum (1971) found that models
who verbalized their coping strategies were more effective than
models who appeared to immediately master a task. Dale Schunk and
Jo Mary Rice (1984) learned in their research that students who
verbalized strategic steps had higher self-efficacy and listening
comprehension performance than students who did not. They also found
that verbalization prior to performing a task also had a positive
impact. It is possible that verbalizing draws attention to the progress
the model is making, similar to the way goal-setting allows one
to monitor progress.
The variety and number of models provided also
has been found to influence self-efficacy. Alan Kazdin (1974, 1975)
reported that subjects who imagined multiple models rather than
a single model showed greater progress. Multiple models increase
the likelihood that the observer will perceive himself as similar
to at least one of the models.
Remember, another important principle of modeling
is perceived similarity between the observer and the model.
When the observer considers herself similar to the model, learning
is more likely.
How to Effectively Use Models to
Increase Students' Self-Efficacy
Student Models During Lessons
Many learning activities do not provide objective standards for
assessing performance, and students must evaluate their capabilities
in relation to the achievements of others. Within a classroom, students
make judgments about their own abilities by assessing their progress
in comparison with their classmates, as well as by observing how
well classmates progress. The more a student perceives himself
to be like a classmate, the more the classmate’s success or failure
will have an impact on his judgment of his own ability. This
perceived similarity to the model is an important factor. Models
who are similar in competence provide the best yardstick for students
to assess their own skills and ability.
You can easily include your
students in classroom demonstrations. Select students with a variety
of skill levels for the demonstration, and confirm that the student
can accomplish the skill correctly in the demonstration prior to
having her model it in front of the class. This modeling strategy
is NOT intended for use at the end of the lesson, where students
may be tempted to compare their work with what the model has accomplished.
In order for the models to be effective with the student you are
working with in this study, the student must perceive herself to
be as skillful or more skillful than the models you are using. If
your student sees someone succeed whom she believes is less skilled
than herself, then she will believe that she can also perform the
task. Using a model that your student believes is more skilled,
will do little to improve the student's confidence.
The common classroom practice of oral questioning provides a continual
daily environment in which students assess classmates’ competencies
and make comparisons. When a student correctly answers a question,
a positive experience should result for the student. When
a student fails to respond correctly to a teacher’s question,
not only is the student’s self-appraisal of his own skill diminished,
the self-efficacy of students in the classroom who perceive themselves
as having abilities similar to or less than him may also decline,
since they may begin to question their own ability.
The benefits of oral questioning may be limited.
Although it affords teachers an easy method to assess what students
have learned, it also can build inadvertent roadblocks into
the learning process. Imagine that a teacher is presenting
new information to her class. Suppose she asks one of the
highest achieving students a question and that student is unable
to answer the question. How will the incorrect answer affect other
members of the class? While it may have a limited impact on those
who believe they know the answer, the self-efficacy of those students
who are somewhat unsure about the new material may substantially
decline. They may be thinking, “This must be hard. Jane
is really good at math and she could not figure it out.
How will I ever be able to do it?”
Now imagine that one of the low achieving
students is asked the question, and she is able to correctly answer
it. Those students observing may be thinking, “This stuff
is easy. Jane has trouble at math and she can do it.
I will be able to easily do it.” In the latter case,
the self-efficacy of the class may actually increase. The
problem for teachers is that it is sometimes hard to predict how
well the target student will respond. You may wish to:
Ask open-ended questions that
allow for a variety of responses.
Develop a hand signal system with
your class. You might have the students show thumbs up
for a “risk-taker” answer that they are unsure about, but would
like to share.
Let students know that they do
not have to proceed alone. When they are unsure or incorrect,
allow them to consult with other students to develop a better
Acknowledge all who contribute
to solving a question. Even students who have risked giving
an incorrect answer at the start of a lesson have contributed
toward the solution.
Students can put their answers
on slate boards or sheets of paper and display the boards toward
the teachers. There is something less intimidating about
writing an answer that can easily be erased.
in Small Groups
Students who already understand concepts can also serve as
models by demonstrating the concepts to other students. Learning
with and from each other takes advantage of the power of modeling.
Pairing students or allowing them to work in small groups
where students serve as each others' models can be more potent
than having the teacher model the lesson. Naturally, group
work should be structured such that each member of a group
can contribute to the process. For example, this might include
having some record responses, while others look up information.
High achieving students need opportunities to work with each
Cross-age tutoring is another effective use of modeling. Not only
do the younger students look up to the older students, the older
students often act much more responsible when they assume a modeling
role. Cross-age grouping also gives older students an opportunity
to recognize how much progress they have made, as they compare their
knowledge level with younger students. It goes without saying that
any one technique should be used in moderation. You may arrange
for your student to tutor younger students in a lower grade.
It is important to note that
students should not be expected to replace the teacher or to be
private tutors. Bright students have a right to learn at a pace
commensurable with their ability and it is unfair to slow their
learning so they can play teacher. This is not to say that it is
not possible to arrange learning opportunities in which they can
serve as learning models.
Involving Former Students
Another way to use modeling is to ask some of your former students
to visit your class and talk about their experiences. The
value of modeling is that it lets students know that others like
themselves have successfully accomplished what they are about
to attempt. The more your students see themselves similar
to the successful model you provide, the more confident they will
be about doing well on the new task. Peers usually serve
as coping models– someone who succeeds, but with some effort.
Coping models are often more influential than mastery models,
who appear to do well without much effort. You might arrange to
have an older student from an upper grade work with the student
involved in this study.
Pitfalls to avoid
Do not have high achieving students dominate recitation sessions.
Despite our efforts to the contrary, students often report that
teachers call upon a limited pool of students. Avoid saving
the hardest questions for the highest achieving students.
Not only does this practice send a message to other students about
your confidence in their ability, but high achieving students often
complain that they are only called upon when no one else knows the
answer. Like everyone else, they don’t enjoy being stumped
- In order for students to set high
standards and have model examples, it is effective to showcase
the best students' work.
In the next section we will discuss how to
use self-modeling with your student.
Next Section: Help
Students Serve as their Own Model
Previous Section: Help
Students Document Their Growth
c. 2000 - Del
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