Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why Don’t We Use What We Know?

We’ve known for some time that self-efficacy and resiliency play major roles in a person’s success. Yet it is difficult to find either of these attributes mentioned in discussions about improving education, increasing employability, or meeting the needs of returning veterans. I’ve heard several conversations recently about math anxiety, but none about math efficacy. Most workforce development staff that I know are more experienced at identifying barriers to employment, than on helping individuals acquire the resiliency necessary to overcome them. And while many professionals who work with veterans are well aware of PTSD, few mention the power of self-efficacy and resiliency when addressing it.

To address these concerns, the Center for Efficacy and Resiliency (CER) was launched just about a year ago, and has generated a considerable amount of interest in Washington State. Nine individuals recently completed two days of CER Facilitator Training, and are now spreading the efficacy-resiliency message throughout their organizations. Some of them want to become CER trainers. We have also teamed up with a sister agency, the Veterans Training and Support Center, to begin offering efficacy-resiliency workshops for individuals and organizations that serve veterans. (Note: Self-efficacy and resiliency are as important for organizations, as they are for individuals.)

Last month CER submitted a Letter of Interest to a funding agency proposing that we help create cultures of efficacy and resiliency in two alternative high schools. Our goal is to transform the schools from being curriculum-centered to becoming student-centered. We want to utilize the research suggesting that increasing self-efficacy and resiliency for both students and faculty will improve learning and retention rates as much as (or even more than) more traditional approaches, e.g., changing the curriculum, buying off the shelf motivation programs, hiring tutors, or lengthening the school day.

We at CER strongly believe that understanding the power of self-efficacy and resiliency, and helping others understand it, can contribute immeasurably to our nation’s growth and survival during these difficult economic times.

Question: Why aren’t we using what we know about self-efficacy and resiliency? If you are using this information, let us know what you are doing and how it is working. We are always looking for good ideas. Best wishes to all.

Cal Crow
Director, CER

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