Student Failure Must Always Be Associated with Teacher Failure

By Cassel, Russell N. | Journal of Instructional Psychology, June 2000 | Go to article overview

Student Failure Must Always Be Associated with Teacher Failure


Cassel, Russell N., Journal of Instructional Psychology


Teachers in our public schools are professional licensed individuals typically certified by state agencies to be qualified to teach students in a professional manner. When students fail in relation to school learning programs, at the same time, and in the same manner their teachers fail. Since teachers are paid to provide an effective learning program for students, when even one student fails in that program, there is clear evidence that the learning program paid for was not effective for that student. When more than a single student fails in one class, or for one teacher, there is increasing evidence that the learning program provided was not effective for more students. When a house builder, or a bridge builder, builds a product that is found to be ineffective, the builder is required to return and rebuild the failed equipment; can we ask teachers to do the same for failed students?.

Self-efficacy and Learning

Bandura (1997), who won the Thorndike Award for 1999 by the American Psychological Association for his research in relation to self-efficacy has demonstrated repeatedly that learning and school achievement are intimately related to both student and teacher expectations. Teachers with a high sense of instructional efficacy operate on the belief that difficult students are teachable through extra effort and appropriate techniques and that they can enlist family support and overcome negative community influences through effective teaching. Self efficacy, then, for Bandura is a judgment of one's ability to organize and execute given types of performances. People may use their efficacy to adapt to their environment or to change it, but the self-assurance with which people approach and manage difficult tasks determines largely whether they make good use of their own capabilities. He insists that outcomes are always a product of human actions, and the outcomes people anticipate depend largely on their judgments of how well they will be able to perform in given situations. In contrast, teachers with low instructional efficacy believe there is little they can do if students are unmotivated. Bandura insists that if teachers believe they have no power to produce results, they will not attempt to make things happen. He insists that outcomes are always a product of human actions, and the outcomes people anticipate depend largely on their judgments of how well they will be able to perform in given situations. Insidious self-doubts can easily override the best of skills.

Students with high self-efficacy not only prefer normatively difficult activities but also display high staying power in those pursuits. The more encompassing the social milieu to which students gravitate, the higher their staying power in relation to learning. The stronger a student's belief in his/her personal expectations, the greater the effort in pursuit of such goals, and the greater the interest for learning and staying power in relation to learning.

Clarification of Grading Standards

Early at the beginning of each learning period teachers need to spell out in considerable detail the standards to be used for the grading of their students. …

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Student Failure Must Always Be Associated with Teacher Failure
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