Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Efficacy Sources for Preservice Teachers

Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Efficacy Sources for Preservice Teachers

Article excerpt


Research shows that teachers' beliefs about their efficacy play a powerful role in teaching outcomes. This study was conducted to provide preservice teachers with opportunities to develop and increase efficacy beliefs through classroom experiences. Preservice teachers were provided with two sources of efficacy: vicarious experiences and verbal persuasion. Data obtained from the preservice teachers via feedback indicated development and increase of efficacy beliefs.


Teachers' sense of efficacy plays a major role in the actual teaching process and is based on beliefs about personal teaching proficiency, through the amount of time, effort, and persistence invested in the process. Teachers' beliefs about personal efficacy ate mostly developed when teachers enter the teaching force; however, it is advantageous for preservice teachers to establish and develop a sense of efficacy prior to entering the workforce. Research shows that teacher efficacy is most malleable early in the learning process (Bandura, 1977, 1997). The level of one's competence will influence one's functioning when teaching in classroom context. Research shows that if teachers gain experience their effectiveness will increase also (Martin, Crossland, and Johnson, 2001). Since teacher efficacy and teaching outcomes are related, ir is important to consider how teacher efficacy might be developed and increased.

Applied to the teaching process among the sources of efficacy identified by Bandura (1977, 1997), vicarious experiences (observing others teach) and verbal persuasion (intellectual resources) do not require direct teaching experience. These two sources of efficacy are most important for preservice teachers since their teaching experiences come late in their coursework. The student teaching experience, for preservice teachers, is not sufficient to develop and establish strong teaching efficacy beliefs that would enable them to act confidently and at maximum potential once certified. Tasan (2001) shows that "lack of adequate preparation, either in teaching methodologies or in subject matter content, will certainly be reflected in lower feelings of efficacy." For this reason it is very important that teacher preparation programs provide a diversity of experiences in teaching where preservice teachers have the opportunity to apply the content learned in required courses. We suggest that preservice teachers' efficacy beliefs would benefit from teacher preparation programs that provide earlier and additional opportunities for vicarious experiences and verbal persuasion.

Conceptual framework for teacher efficacy

One major conceptual framework concerning teacher efficacy comes from the work of Rotter (1966), who defines teacher efficacy as the extent to which teachers believe that they could control the reinforcement of their actions, and if this control of reinforcement comes from within themselves or from the environment. Rotter (1966) found that teachers with a high level of efficacy believed that they could control, or have a strong influence on student achievement and motivation. Berman, McLaughlin, Bass, Pauly, & Zellman, (1977) define teacher efficacy as "the extent to which the teacher believes he or she has the capacity to affect student performance" (p. 137). Similarly, Woolfok-Hoy & Tshannen-Moran (2002), as well as Guskey & Passaro (1994) define teacher efficacy as "teachers' belief or conviction that they can influence how well students learn, even those who may be difficult or unmotivated" (p. 4). A second conceptual framework in defining teacher efficacy grew out of the work of Bandura (1977, 1986, 1997). Bandura (1986) defines efficacy as a person's response to the question "Do I have the ability to organize and execute the actions necessary to accomplish a specific task at a desired level?" Related to this question, Bandura states the outcome expectancy question as, "If I accomplish the task at that level, what are the likely consequences? …

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