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Penny Webb

Abstract

This research explored influences on self-efficacy and confidence for ITE students when teaching children with autism. Self-efficacy, defined by Bandura (1997), is a person’s perception of their capacity to carry out a course of action which will enable their attainment. The language of confidence was adopted when considering how ITE students experience self-efficacy.  Qualitative data from interviews and a focus group discussion were analysed adopting an interpretative approach. Initial thematic analysis revealed the perceived importance of first-hand experience to develop knowledge and confidence, echoing Bandura’s (2006) argument that self-efficacy is developed through mastery experiences.  The transversal influence of emotional competency was also identified as pervading the discourse (Bunăiaşu, 2018). Interpretative analysis of the group discussion identified an increase in the perceived confidence of participants. Findings therefore support Bandura’s claim that talking develops self-efficacy and confidence through vicarious and persuasive experiences (Bandura, 1997). The vicarious experience enabled through the focus group appears to have supported emotional competence. Consequently, confidence and self-efficacy appear to have increased, when reflecting on teaching children with autism. Further research is needed to explore whether such experiences in focus group discussion can potentially inform pedagogical approaches to develop self-efficacy, confidence and emotional competence.

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