Partnerships in Learning: University Students Enriching Self-efficacy in Fifth Graders
Background - This work brings university students (ages 18-20), who have recently emerged from the troubled waters of adolescence, together with fifth grade students (ages 10-11). Children in the fifth grade are just beginning to enter the difficult adolescent stage of the life cycle these young adults are leaving behind. The work was set within the theoretical frameworks of Erikson's (1963) theory of life span development and Bandura's (1977, 1982 and 1986) intersecting concepts of modeling and self-efficacy. Goal - The primary goal was to empower the preteens in a way that would promote positive choice making in the face of ever-increasing adolescent social and peer pressures. High self-efficacy in the area of social competence is seen by many as a preeminent factor in good decision making and the intent was to bring the university students into the classroom to teach this competence through modeling. Method - Carefully selected university students came into the fifth grade classroom to facilitate discussions of personal and social issues. Prior to the first of three visits, letters and photos were exchanged and the elementary students submitted anonymously written questions. Perceived self-efficacy of the fifth grade students was measured before the first and after the third visit. As a control, subjects' scores were compared to those of a comparable fifth grade class whose members did not meet with the university students. Conclusion - Pre and post self-efficacy scores are compared both within and between the fifth grade groups, details and success of the intervention are discussed and suggestions for future partnerships are explored.
Keywords: Partnerships between the university and the elementary school., Social competencies and the need for making good choices in preadolescence., Bandura's concepts of modeling and self-efficacy., Erikson's theory of life span development.
Professor S. Kathleen La Voy, Ph.D.
University Professor, Chair, Department of Psychology, Seattle University
Ms Patricia A. Sheehan
Fifth grade teacher, Poulsbo Elementary School, North Kitsap School District