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Self-efficacy in foreign language learning

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Lucian Stephenson.

Within social cognitive theory, perceptions of self-efficacy are among the most central mechanisms of self-reflection. Self-efficacy refers to “beliefs in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments” (Bandura, 1997: 3) or, more simply, an individual’s beliefs in his/her ability to perform a designated task or complete an activity. Bandura (1997) suggests that self-efficacy beliefs can influence students’ decisions, expended effort and perseverance, resilience to adversity, thought processes, affective states, and accomplishments and others contend that self-efficacy beliefs may better forecast academic success than prior achievements, skills, or knowledge. For these reasons, it is suggested that self-efficacy beliefs affect almost everything people do; how they think, motivate themselves, feel, and behave. This presentation will provide an overview of the construct of self-efficacy in foreign language education research including the sources of self-efficacy, applications and pedagogical implications, and approaches to fostering foreign language students’ self-efficacy beliefs.


Nicole Mills is coordinator of the Beginning French Language Program at Harvard University. She is co-editor of the book Innovation and Accountability in Language Program Evaluation (2014) and has publications in various academic journals and edited volumes on topics associated with self-efficacy in foreign language learning and teaching, curriculum design, language program evaluation, and motivation. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Studies and French from Emory University.

This talk is part of the Second Language Education Group series.

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