The accuracy of self-efficacy beliefs in outdoor education

Scott Schumann
In the present era of outcome assessment and accountability, self-efficacy is a popular outcome measure in outdoor and adventure education. Self-efficacy beliefs are context specific perceptions an individual possesses about a likelihood of success in future tasks and are related to well-being confidence, and persistence. However, recent research findings refute the traditional view that more is better, when it comes to selfefficacy beliefs. Specifically, findings indicate that these beliefs
more » ... at these beliefs can be inaccurate and can easily become inflated resulting in decreases in motivation and performance. Outdoor and adventure-based education is one such context to avoid the inflation of selfefficacy beliefs due to the physical and educational consequences associated with failure (e.g., psychological harm, injury, or death). The following research examined a proposed seven factor structure of outdoor education practice. Exploratory factor analysis results (N = 303) indicated a 23-item, 5factor structure which included (a) instruction and assessment, (b) outdoor classroom management, (c) technical skill, (d) interpersonal skill, and (e) environmental integration. Confirmatory factor analysis (N = 200) examined the fit of this model. Results indicated an acceptable fit with strong internal consistency and convergent validity for the Teaching Outdoor Education Self-Efficacy Scale with 22 items (TOE-SES 22). Subsequent research examined the effects of a monitoring intervention on the accuracy of teaching outdoor education self-efficacy beliefs. Treatment group participants on National Outdoor Leadership School Instructor Courses predicted their performance (a self-efficacy belief) before teaching a course topic, self-assessed that performance, and compared the accuracy of their predictions and self-assessments to an expert evaluation of their performance. Results indicated outdoor educators-in-training integrated this information and calibrated their TOESE beliefs better than the control group. Attending to the accuracy of teacher self-efficacy beliefs early in an educator's career may help him approach or avoid tasks when appropriate and ultimately, direct him toward developing the skills he is lacking. Teaching outdoor education is a complex task involving several factors, monitoring interventions are a strategy outdoor educator trainers should consider in their efforts to help emerging outdoor educators hone a complex set of skills to effectively and safely teach in the outdoors. iv
doi:10.26053/0h-pe3c-he00 fatcat:y3oiyl4wajccnncjabgi63dwku