Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. William Charland

Second Advisor

Dr. Christina Chin

Third Advisor

Vince Torano


Artist, efficacy, adolescent, fostering, education

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Low self-esteem and insecurity is common among adolescents. In the secondary-school art room, students often stop engaging in art practice, believing that they lack talent, when the truth is that they lack specific skills. Students who are fortunate to have teachers who help them develop their skills experience a boost in feelings of self-efficacy, and often reengage with art production. This thesis project focuses on strengthening students’ self-efficacy in the visual arts at the secondary level. Clarifying the differences between related terms – self-esteem, self-concept, and perceived control – I focus on self-efficacy as a characteristic that plays a significant role in educational success. I analyze why and how students acquire low efficacy in the arts by examining the stages of artistic development, and the influence of increasing knowledge of exemplary professional art. Finally, I offer practical suggestions for increasing artistic efficacy by emphasizing four pedagogical approaches: mastery of experiences, vicarious experiences, forms of persuasion, and physiological reactions.