SELF-EFFICACY IN PRESCHOOL AND PRIMARY TEACHERS: DOES EXPERIENCE, EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND, AND TEACHING LEVEL MATTER?
Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon (MEXICO)
About this paper:
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:In the light of education teachers and their teaching are amongst the most important factors that can positively influence student academic performance (Lee, Cawthon, & Dowson, 2013). As a matter of fact, teachers’ beliefs and perception of their own teaching abilities make an essential and integral part of their practice. Owing to that, many researchers have studied self-efficacy (SE) as one of the crucial variables that impacts the teaching-learning process. Zimmerman (1995) describes SE as the ability of individuals to organize actions according to their personal decisions in order to become successful in the field of their interest. However, teachers’ SE cannot be treated as a single construct, as it is composed by several domains that teachers might feel stronger or weaker at. Based on that, Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk Hoy (2001) developed and validated the Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES, Likert scale from 1 [low SE] to 9 [high SE]) measuring three major components of SE:
1) Efficacy for Instructional Strategies (EIS);
2) Efficacy for Classroom Management (ECM); and
3) Efficacy for Student Engagement (ESE).
Taking into account the positive relationship between efficacy and the overall teaching-learning process, raising teachers’ efficacy has become an integral part of many pre-service and in-service professional development and training programs (Lee, Cawthon, & Dowson, 2013). Yet, in order to plan an appropriate intervention program, it is essential to understand the initial level of teachers’ efficacy, as it can provide teacher trainers with an important insight on teachers’ perceived weak points. At the same time, it can demonstrate the strength of one’s beliefs about his/her abilities. This is a very important factor, as it can explain teachers’ resistance to change due to their satisfaction and belief of perfection (Linnenbrink & Pintrich, 2003). Thus, understanding the level of SE, whether low or high in both positive and negative ways is an important step that should be taken before planning any training program. The aim of the study was to explore the SE beliefs and their relation to teachers’ experience, teaching level, as well as teachers’ educational background. Our sample consisted of 26 ESL female teachers (12 preschool, 14 primary school). The long form of the TSES was used to collect the data. We run Mann-Whitney U test and Kruskal-Wallis H test to analyze our data. Our results highlighted significant differences in all three dimensions: novice had lower scores than experienced teachers in both ESE (p = .014) and EIS (p = .042); in addition, they obtained lower scores than medium experienced teachers in both EIS (p = .002) and ECM (p = .012). Compared to preschool teachers, primary school teachers were found to have a significantly higher SE in all the three domains: ESE (p = .0054), EIS (p = .0013), and ECM (p < .001). Contrary to our expectations, no significant differences were found in any domain related to educational background. Analyzing the results on an individual basis, 12 out of 26 teachers were found to have very high SE scores (SE > 7). Based on these findings, we can create more suitable intervention programs that would enhance less efficacious teachers, as well as allow teachers to have a perception of the teaching-learning process closer to the reality (e.g. using video-based reflection).
Keywords: Self-efficacy, ESL teachers, teaching-learning process, teachers' training.