Teachers' Self-Efficacy

Article excerpt

Why is it important to study teachers' self-efficacy? Self-efficacy beliefs have been studied in teacher education, students' academic achievement, mental health, counseling, and sports, among other areas. Many attribute this widely studied construct to Bandura, who defined self-efficacy as personal judgments of one's capabilities to perform tasks at designated levels. The conceptual focus of research on teachers' self-efficacy is derived from Bandura's (1997) social cognitive theory. Stemming from Bandura's (1997) theoretical model of self-efficacy, various aspects of the teachers' self-efficacy construct have been examined in the articles featured in this issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly. These studies, as well as prior research, consistently show that teachers with higher self-efficacy are more likely to be effective in their classrooms by exhibiting enthusiasm for teaching, being open to students' ideas, using innovative instrumental methods that reflect their instruction, and motivating students to learn.

These articles span international research in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, and Turkey as well as throughout the U.S. They employ both quantitative and qualitative approaches and offer reviews of the literature on teachers' self-efficacy. Kang and Neitzel, for example, conducted a literature review on empirical studies of teacher efficacy, focusing on a conceptual model and the construct's relationship with various personal and contextual variables. This review offers a helpful background for understanding teachers' self-efficacy.

The topic of mentor teachers is presented in several articles through the self-efficacy lens, particularly given the importance of mentoring novice teachers, professional development, and strengthening teachers' self-efficacy to address teacher retention. In this light, Hall et al.'s validation and reliability testing of a self-efficacy measure focuses on its relevance to mentor teachers. Ward articulates how her three-year university- and school-based partnership project impacted beginning teachers' efficacy during their early years of teaching. Gulla also examined mentoring teachers' self-efficacy beliefs in her story-sharing study, documenting how novice teachers who heard mentor teachers' stories developed self-efficacy and improved their instruction. Similarly, Saffold found that as mentoring teachers interacted with novice teachers in an urban setting, their own self-efficacy was strengthened. …