Taxing Taxonomies: Lessons in Self-efficacy, Self-direction, and Reflection

A Taxonomy for Self-Efficacy

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Last week we were required to create four taxonomies as a roadmap to personal achievement. As our lecturer aptly stated, we all entered this task with different “capital” or skill sets. Unfortunately, technological dexterity was not one of mine (blame my age!). I began the task, drawing on two mind mapping apps that were already in my meager repertoire: Xmind and Bubbl Us. The results were satisfactory, but the content of the taxonomies as well as my mantra of being a “life-long learner” challenged me to the core; I knew it was time to improve my digital literacy.

I had dabbled in SmartArt in Word before, but due to time restraints, bad experiences, and (perhaps) a lousy attitude, I had yet to produce anything “smart” or “artsy” for that matter.

Roll the tape forward… after several hours (I’m not kidding!) spent Googling, YouTubing, tinkering, and much sighing, I finally produced my four taxonomies. The whole process was challenging; I had to dig deep, engage myself in problem-solving, and continuously reflect in order to decide how I would overcome the technical obstacles.

The biggest takeaway lesson was that I had to muster every ounce of self-efficacy to complete the task, and the process of creating the digital files themselves reflected the content of the taxonomies: self-direction (Cherry, 2016), reflection (Pappas, 2010), and self-efficacy (Smith, 1996). At certain times during the process, I reviewed the content of each taxonomy in order to centre myself and get my thinking and attitude back on track.

It was yet another reminder that there is so much to learn and that mastery builds confidence and self-satisfaction. It also served to remind this teacher of the challenges of learning and how my students feel when presented with a task which stretches them yet is attainable with substantial effort and a resilient attitude.

Yes, self-efficacy, self-direction, and reflection are essential mindsets and skills that our students and we (as educators) need to develop. Developing roadmaps such as these are a fantastic activity to duplicate with our students at the beginning of the year, so that we equip and scaffold them in their development of their personal learning space, facilitating their journey as life-long learners.

I have also experienced three new “aha” moments through the experience:

  1. Not many tutorials exist for Word 2008. (I’m working with a dinosaur and should have updated the app years ago!)
  2. Many features in subsequent versions are not present in Word 2008. (Hmmm…)
  3. Templates in SmartArt for Word deal only with small chunks of text; large slabs of text “break them”. (Oh…)

The three remaining taxonomies are posted below; I can happily say that my digital toolbox contains a new app and here is the proof:

A Taxonomy for Self-Direction

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A Taxonomy for Reflection

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A Taxonomy for Creating a PLN

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Still learning,


Has the development of your self-efficacy been challenged recently? How can we develop these qualities in our students? Please feel free to share your experiences or ideas for taxonomies in the comments section.



One thought on “Taxing Taxonomies: Lessons in Self-efficacy, Self-direction, and Reflection

  1. Pingback: Learning is Messy Business… and Other Reflections | Schooled For Life

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