STEAM is for ALL
The role of self-efficacy in STEAM
STEM stance is the way a person thinks about STEM-related activities (Science, Technology, Engineer and Mathematics), content, careers… especially expressed in a publicly stated opinion.
STEM stance has been traditionally approached in the literature through different angles represented in the following figure. Move the cursor over the image to know more about stance on STEM and its relation with under-represented groups in STEM.
In recent years, research has started to pay attention to the relevance of self-efficacy in STEM in the students’ stance on STEM. Self-efficacy in STEM refers to beliefs in one’s capabilities to accomplish a particular STEM task at a one designated level, which it is different that the real capacity for accomplishing this particular STEM task. Students can value their own abilities to perform a particular STEM task despite having demonstrated the same achievement, and these self-efficacy beliefs deeply configure their perceptions about their personal value for STEM or not. In other words, self-efficacy influence students’ behaviour in engaging and pursuing STEM activities. The higher students’ perceived their own efficacy, the greater the interest they have in STEM activities, and the wider the career options they seriously consider pursuing (Bandura, 1993). Thus, having a strong sense of self-efficacy results in people having the capacity to deal with challenges they encounter, which is highly relevant to have an actual success (Williams & George-Jackson, 2014).
Self-efficacy beliefs are difficult to modify, but not impossible. In the STEAM4U project we have undertaken different actions to raise 10-14-year-old teens self-efficacy both in formal and non-formal educational environments. From our experience in the project, and in previous researches in the literature, we have identified and grouped several strategies with promising results.