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E. Kass

Achva Academic College of Education (ISRAEL)
What makes well-trained, devoted and experienced teachers have a subjective feeling of low competence, i.e. a low sense of self-efficacy? Self-efficacy is the perceived belief in one's own capability when facing a new task (Bandura, 1997; 2006). Research has shown that a person with a high sense of self-efficacy performs better on the job and attains higher achievements (Bandura,1997; Kass & Rajuan, 2012). Regarding teacher self-efficacy a strong positive relation between the teacher's self-efficacy and the quality of teaching was also found (Tschannen-Moran, & Woolfolk-Hoy, 2007). However, the issue of the teacher's gender is lacking. Since in Israel most teachers are women, it is important to study the reasons for the development of low self-efficacy of women-teachers.

This paper presents a less researched topic in the field of teachers' self-efficacy, i.e. the effect of the nuclear family on professional self-efficacy. This study used two methods: A quantitative methodology (a questionnaire developed by Friedman & Kass, 2002), used to identify participants; and a qualitative methodology (open, in-depth interviews). Thirteen women-teachers with a low sense of professional self-efficacy served as sample. Wishing to develop the model as faithfully as possible to the teachers’ voices and the reality of their lives, I chose the approach known as Grounded Theory Methodology (Glaser & Strauss, 1967), and implemented the axial coding procedure (Strauss & Corbin, 1994).

Findings indicate that these teachers experienced silencing by the dominant authority figures, in two spheres of life shaping their sense of professional self-efficacy: the nuclear family (parents), and the work place (school principal). In the nuclear family participants spoke of the lack of a supportive father figure, a difficult communication with the mother, and the instalment of family values of traditional female roles. In the school domain participants told of an inability to share feelings and hardships with the principal, a demand for covering up, and an inability to criticize the principal. Similarities between the two spheres and implications for teachers and principals will be discussed.

* The present study is part of a larger study researching teacher's self-efficacy.

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