Covid-19 has devastated the world socially, mentally, physically, economically and any other imaginable way. Educational system is the most affected sector where the online learning has exposed the digital divide all over the world including Pakistan. As a result, learning disparities have widened, leaving millions of students with no option but to opt out of the education system.
In this dire situation, educational leaders – principals and teachers – should pay special attention to self-efficacy. Self-efficacy can be defined as a person’s belief that they can be successful when carrying out a particular task. The role of education leaders in education is of utmost significance and advantageous for the obvious social, economic and political development of a country.
Moreover, it has been recognized in the context of both developed and developing countries that trained and skilled educational leaders are one of the essential elements of quality instruction by providing the competent knowledge, addressing and acknowledging the team efforts. However, these educational leaders with their self-efficacy could also demonstrate empathy and self-awareness and become open minded in adapting rapidly to the ever-changing socioeconomic external environment.
When people with self-efficacy experience a setback or any crisis like the pandemic we are having, they are quick to dust themselves off and try again to cope up with immediate and efficient efforts. For example, Better Up’s research found that people in the top 25 percent of self-efficacy are 10x more likely to be in the top 50 percent of goal attainment during this huge disaster, in the shape of coronavirus.
The teacher as a leader could foster self-efficacy by the following methods.
Use moderately difficult tasks: By doing complex tasks one could exert a pressure to perform the way you do. He/she develops confidence and keeps trying to acquire it.
Encourage as reinforcement: Reinforcement in the sense of reward and punishment is the powerful motivational factor to develop self-efficacy. The teacher has to adorn a special hat of motivator, because the students never get motivated only by achieving academic goals, rather they are given opportunities of constructive progress, collaborative programmes to reinforce their own learning by hands on activities.
Allow students to make their own choices with differentiation instructions: Students with independent interest or thoughts could learn the passage of self-efficacy where they are offered a pace of learning by doing with experiential efforts.
Peer modeling: It allows to learn social skills and think-pair-share (TPS) strategy. Apart from these methods, educational leaders could not possibly attempt to open schools, as it shuts for everyone across the globe, they lost their most important asset, which was face-to-face contact with their students and hands-on learning. But they could certainly communicate with the families of the learners to aware them about the new trend on online education, assure them about the proper and reliable form of assessment, so that the quality of education reserved if not improved. Similarly, it is quite challenging to turn a crisis into an opportunity, but nothing is impossible; the sky is the only limit.
Therefore, educational leaders are required to collaborate with civil societies to ensure free education and access to the people of that particular context. They could also ensure digital literacy to the teachers as well as learners, so that both get benefited and improve the retention rate. Having said that, leaders with self-efficacy could greatly improve the quality of education by creating a positive learning environment.
(The writer is an MPhil student from Turbat)
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021