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The article begins by introducing a personal experience which sparked the idea of investigating. It proceeds to state the purpose of preparing the article; that is the impact of education on an individual’s self-efficacy in the social or informal setting. The paper goes ahead to conduct a literature review on self-efficacy regarding the US region. Various links and attributes of self-efficacy with respect to education are investigated such as performance, values, fulfillment as well as socialization. Bandura’s work as well as other scholars in the discipline have been analyzed in the article through descriptive or qualitative research methodology to establish a link to social factors such as family, ethical behavior and democracy. The multiple links of education’s impact on self-efficacy in the social setting have also been demonstrated in the research findings section before finalization on conclusion and discussions. It is concluded that education has a strong effect on self-efficacy in the informal arena. An individual’s ability to handle social matters is stronger if he underwent through the process of education. The research has shown that education is a critical factor in influencing an individual’s self-efficacy in the social setting.
After migrating from Africa to the USA, I had to confront the urge to self-develop myself. I knew two things were critical for the desired level of the self-development. First, USA has always been referred to as a land of opportunity where individuals are allowed to dream big. I understood that if hard work was a constant factor in any activity or situation I faced, the possibility of success was high; the intensity of the dreams or visions didn’t matter. Secondly, to succeed in any setting education is essential for an individual. For one to qualify for a particular job or be accepted in a particular field of expertise, he or she has to show the understanding of the field. My desire to shape my social life resided in education. Obtaining relevant academic qualifications needed to pursue a particular profession increases one’s confidence and ability to accomplish various social barriers such as the family, live in a better neighborhood or work in a dream job would be easily tackled.
Changing country and school system that year was a challenge for me. Once I found myself in a class of native speakers in an American school I felt less confident and shyer. I believe that education has been deeply influencing my perceived self-efficacy since the beginning of that year. Therefore, I asked myself: how can education shape an individual’s self-efficacy?
This paper examines the broad literature concerning the impact of education on self-efficacy. The paper will also consider extensively the implications of education on an individual’s view of his/her outside life such as the family, workplace, personal interests. It will further discuss the various self-efficacy concepts established within the US setting as well as analyze other secondary data concerning the research. Finally, the paper will also carry out discussions based on the empirical data of the impact of self-efficacy on individual’s interactions with the outside world.
This section examines the various literature pertaining to self-efficacy in the informal interaction with the society. The paper rests on insights and theories developed by Bandura in his social cognitive theory. His studies assert that individuals possess a ‘self-system’ that allows them to control their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Bandura defines self-efficacy as a belief of one’s self in his/her ability to perform a certain task that will lead to his/her success. Albert Bandura is recognized for introductory of the social learning theory in the discipline of education (Bandura, 1991, p229). He postulates that perceived self-efficacy of an individual can impact him/her in a positive as well as a demoralizing way. Individuals with self-efficacy possess a belief or a conviction of their ability to engage in activities that can lead to their success in life as opposed to those who don’t have it. On the other hand, education is defined as a set of organized socializations.
According to Bandura (1986, 1997), a person’s aspects concerning his/her performance are related to his/her motivation to achieve or succeed in life. In the American society, self–efficacy amongst the people is the basis of their prosperity in different social contexts such as sports, education, work as well as family matters. Per Meyer, Jain & Canfield-Davis (2011), education is a critical factor that shapes individuals’ mindsets who are in pursuit of their dreams and visions. Through education, a person acquires skills, attitude, and values that guide him or influence their image of the society. Most individuals in the society who have gone through an educational system are not only confident enough to handle life challenges or professional duties but also are more successful than those without an educational background. In light of this point, Americans’ views of social matters such as freedom of expression, right to privacy as well as their diverse views on sexuality and gender are spearheaded by impact of education on self-efficacy.
Research by Schwarzer (2014), portrays education as a catalyst to a person’s self-efficacy. This point rests on the grounds of early socialization in education, modern values, and orientations that enable individuals to realize their purpose sooner. The education system in the US as well as in other regions of the world allows individuals to develop key areas that they need to be competent that will lead to their success. The American education system orients an individual’s attitudes, values, and abilities to a specific direction. It would be hard for an individual to pursue a task if he/she is not conditioned to focus or look in a certain direction.
Meyer, Jain & Canfield-Davis, 2011, refer to the education system as an allocation theory whereby individuals are legitimately classified and assigned positions in the society. The social status in the society is apportioned on the basis of education, for example, medicine, law, and teaching. Unsal & Kasikei, 2010, assert that this is a matter of laws or rules in the education process. For example, to teach in a high school, an individual must have a diploma, certificate or a bachelor’s’ credential from a recognized institution. Thus, for that person to operate as a professional in any field in the society, an educational background is required. Without education, the self-efficacy to pursue personal goals such as seeking a formal employment, start a family as well as pursue a desired interest in life will be affected. Self-efficacy is born out of education; an individual cannot progress sufficiently with lack of education since rules about academic credentials are part of key requirements in most organizations (Rabren and Carney, 2014, p29).
Self-efficacy is about fulfillment. According to Unsal & Kasikei (2010) a key outcome of self-efficacy is recognition in the society as well as accomplishing one’s goals and objectives. The relationship or link between self-efficacy and education is quite direct. Research by Rabren and Carney (2014), shows the relationship or effects of a person’s education on status and attainment. In the American context, the link between an individual’s transition from being under-developed to successful is straight forward. As a former resident in the USA, I have observed that access to education has been made possible for minorities, immigrants as well as natural citizens. Through understanding that education plays a crucial part in success of an individual as well as a promoter of social well-being, the Americans have been able to develop extensively their society.
The paper primarily relied on qualitative research to investigate the impact of education on an individual’s approach to social arena. The paper explicitly focused on literature from the American context. Data from the UK and other developed countries played a primary source of secondary data to cover gaps within the US context. Peer reviewed articles on self-efficacy were also studied from online sources as well as other print copies in the library. The descriptive research allows the paper to develop deeper meaning from the established theories on self-efficacy. However, the topic, ‘effect of education on self-efficacy’ has limited content established by the scholars. This presents an opportunity for quantitative as well as qualitative studies to be conducted in the future.
Previous research has demonstrated that education facilitates socialization of individuals in the society (Raelin, 2014). Education is paramount when it comes to democracy. The leadership status in the American Society is built on strong value and respect for democracy. Democracy is the right of individuals to choose their leader. Exposure to education allows the individual to consider critical factors before electing leaders such as his performance records, any previous arrest and the reasons behind it, his/her friends as well as educational background (Raelin, 2014). The quality of leaders elected by an educated person is very different from one who is not exposed to education. Self-efficacy promoted by education enables the US citizens to handle social matters in most fair and equitable manner. The ability of individuals to recognize the rights of other individuals such as freedom of expression and other civil rights is impacted through education.
The second line of research shows that education impacts self-efficacy of an individual on the way he/she views social matters. The American society just like the UK, demands strongly the need for individuals to be educated in the society. An informed person’s approach to social problems and life challenges is different from that of an uninformed person (Schwarzer, R. 2014). A key social area that education has a strong effect in the American region is the family setting. For example, a well-educated family is able to make informed decisions regarding the family issues such as household expense, healthcare, parenting, and family investment. Education also affect the crime levels within the society. For example, studies have shown that in US regions where uneducated population resides, criminal activities tend to be more frequent as opposed to regions of highly educated individuals.
Thirdly, research has demonstrated that education is a strong basis for integrity of individuals in the society as well as in the workplace. Ethics describes a set of codes for understanding and denoting what is morally right or wrong according to the society (Teo, 2011). In the US, ethical behavior in the society have been channeled through education. An individual can naturally practice ethics in the society as well as workplace without undergoing education. In such a situation, the decisions on what is right or wrong are informed by his/her cultural, religious, legal and philosophical principles. The foundation of various industries in the US such as financial institutions, the judiciary, education, and manufacturing are built on ethical grounds to protect the consumers/the citizens. Education helps an individual to be exposed to different perspectives. As a result, they become open-minded, use diverse methodologies when making judgment and develop tolerance towards diversity which is crucial to overcoming ethical dilemma. Such insights are acquired through the effect of education on self-efficacy, which strongly affect the behavior of individuals in the society (Selçuk and Valk, 2012).
The research has also demonstrated the relevance of education on an individual’s self-efficacy in matters to deal with religion. The American society is the most diverse in the world in terms of color, religion as well as personal views. The American constitution endows individuals with the freedom of worship as well as expression. Diversity is not only limited to the society but also crosses to the modern workplace that is full of people from different backgrounds. Education allows individuals to interact or associate with diversified persons in a respectful and civilized manner. For example; a learned person will be conscientious of a colleagues or other members of the society who are Muslim, Buddhists, Christian or Jewish. On the other hand, the tendency of an uninformed person to mock the individual hence lead to conflict is also high. Personal conflicts within the workplace are kept to the minimal due to the presence of educated workers in the organization (Mafakheri and Behzadi, 2013, p4).
The effect of education on an individual’s self-efficacy is stronger in the workplace as well as the society. Hence most people get education in order to gain the confidence to pursue other vital areas of their lives that they need to be successful in. From the paper, it can be established that through education, individuals acquire skills, attitudes, and values that guide or influence their image of the society. Their ability to respond to challenges at the workplace as well as the social scene is improved tremendously as an efficacious individual is motivated by the knowledge gained through education.
The paper adds weight to the discipline since it helps understand why individuals pursue certain goals or objectives in life. The article has established that education has a profound effect on the level of success of individuals in the society. Education is a key variable to an individual’s self-efficacy in the social or informal setting. It allows people to gain knowledge that helps develop the society. Eradicating stereotypes and crime that are impediments to development can be attained if individuals valued education as a tool to impact their efficacy to solve social matters. Education can shape positively one’s self-efficacy and help to develop society but it is important not to blindly follow the Education Gospel (Grubb and Lazerson, 2007) that presents schooling as a solution to all societal problems. This belief that has been held in the USA over the past century but is still very popular to hear it nowadays.
From the research, it can also be established that education is a necessary factor in impacting an individual’s self-efficacy. However, it is not sufficient. This is because, in the absence of education, individuals are able to succeed in certain areas of their social life. Despite lacking education, they have self-efficacy to handle challenges or opportunities that present themselves. However, research in this area is limited to determine factors outside education that are contributors in self-efficacy in the informal areas of the society. For example; with lack of proper education individuals can make interest or careers in the society and become great musicians without enrolling in music school. This is an interesting area that future scholars ought to consider in the discipline.
The findings prove that education not only affects self-efficacy in the formal setting but is also important at the community level. Hence it coincides with various researches relating to education’s impact on self-efficacy.
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