Managing Behaviors, Motivations, and Emotions through the Lens of Self-Efficacy

Managing Behaviors, Motivations, and Emotions through the lens of Self-Efficacy

By Ben Potts: RM Freestyle Chair, Alpine Examiner, & PSIA-AASI Team Member

The freestyle environment is often associated with a heightened emotional experience.  Just the word freestyle can elicit an emotional response ranging from fear to confidence.  One of the tools used for understanding and managing emotions when teaching freestyle is the concept of self-efficacy and the impact it has on performance.  Self-efficacy is an individual’s belief in their capability to perform a task or achieve a goal.  Individuals with high self-efficacy are more motivated to work towards challenging goals.  The concept of Self-efficacy is equally relevant in all types of teaching when addressing the People Skills Fundamental: Recognize and influence the behaviors, motivations, and emotions of others.  To understand self-efficacy and how instructors can influence it you need to understand its four primary sources.

Mastery Experiences or Past Performances

Past performance is the single greatest contributor to a students’ self-efficacy. If students have been successful at a particular skill in the past, they will probably believe that they will be successful at the same skill in the future.  Building on past success is commonly referred to as a mastery experience.  Progression building is a great way to create mastery experiences that become increasingly challenging and amplify a students’ confidence through finding success.  Mastery experiences also allow us to create a connection between effort and success.  Students that believe their ability is not predetermined and can be improved through effort have higher levels of self-efficacy.  The belief that ability or skill can be improved through effort is created through experiences that reward effort.

Vicarious Experiences

Students can also increase their self-efficacy by watching a peer perform an activity, skill, or trick successfully.  Creating a session environment where students can not only observe each other’s performances, but also share each other’s experiences through communication and reflection can increase their self-efficacy and accelerate their learning curve.  As an instructor you can tactically shape your lesson environment to promote vicarious or shared student experiences.

Verbal Persuasion

Giving your students positive reinforcement that is specific to the activity they are performing is another way to increase self-efficacy.  The effectiveness of verbal persuasion can be directly linked to trust.  The stronger your history is with your student on providing positive, relevant, and effective guidance, the more their self-efficacy will increase through verbal persuasion.  Your student’s perception of your expertise and how much you care for their well-being are equally relevant when establishing trust for effective verbal persuasion.

Emotional state

Self-efficacy is greatly impacted by being in a positive or negative emotional state.  Be attentive to your students’ emotional state and understand that emotions cannot be stopped, they can only be managed or replaced.  If managing emotions is proving ineffective you may need to step back from the situation and distract your students with a more positive emotional association.  Returning to an activity later in a positive emotional state will increase their self-efficacy and set them up for success.

Managing self-efficacy is one way that you can recognize and influence the behaviors, motivations, and emotions of others.  A higher level of self-efficacy is empowering and motivating for your students.  Pairing a heightened level of self-efficacy with the physical skill sets your students need to reach their goals will promote learning and leave them wanting more.

For more information on self-efficacy and managing emotions, please refer to the PSIA-AASI Freestyle Technical Manual.

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