An Analysis of the Relationships between Teacher Efficacy, Teacher Self-Esteem and Orientations to Seeking Help

Article excerpt

The relationships between teacher efficacy, teacher self-esteem and orientation to seeking help were investigated in this study. Three questionnaires were used with a sample of 151 prospective teachers and 67 experienced teachers. The three questionnaires were Personal Teaching Efficacy Scale (from the Japanese Teacher Efficacy Scale, Huang, Liu, & Shiomi, 2006a), Teacher Self-Esteem Scale (Tamura & Ishikuma, 2002) and Orientations to Seeking Help Scale (Tamura & Ishikuma, 2001). As a result of correlation analyses, the correlation coefficients between Personal Teaching Efficacy and Teacher Self-Esteem scores were found to be significant (p < 0.01), and a significantly positive correlation (p < 0.05) was found between Teacher Self-Esteem and Orientations to Seeking Help scores. The influence of gender and teaching experience on these findings was also examined.

Keywords: teacher efficacy, self-esteem, seeking help, gender, career.

Over the past three decades, the sense of teacher efficacy, that is, their belief in their abilities to have a positive effect on student learning (Ashton, 1985) has been proved to be an important teacher characteristic related to meaningful educational outcomes, such as teachers' persistence (e.g., Gibson & Dembo, 1984), enthusiasm (e.g., Guskey, 1984), belief about managing students (Woolfolk, Rosoff, & Hoy, 1990), and adoption of innovation (e.g., Guskey, 1988), as well as student achievement (Ross, 1992), motivation (Midgley, Feldlaufer, & Eccles, 1989), and self-efficacy belief (Anderson, Greene, & Loewen, 1988). In other words, not a few studies have demonstrated that teacher efficacy influences their students' attitudes and achievement as well as their own teaching behaviors. The powerful effect of teacher efficacy in schooling has become an important area of study in educational psychology. Researchers have investigated how to improve teacher efficacy, and how to focus on the factors that will raise teacher efficacy. Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, and Hoy (1998) have pointed out that, "We would do well to examine how efficacy is developed, when it is most malleable, and what factors may lead to its improvement" (p. 234). Milner and Hoy (2003) examined qualitative case studies of a teacher's sense of efficacy, social support, and respect. They followed two teachers for a year, and found that respect from students and parents played a key role in protecting the efficacy of these experienced teachers, especially during difficult times. Hoy and Spero (2005) found that the changes in teacher efficacy during the first year of teaching were related to the level of support received. Huang et al. (2005) found that social support can predict teacher efficacy to a significant level. These results provided a possible means of enhancing teacher efficacy. In order to further uncover the relation between social support and teacher efficacy, the researchers of this study chose to investigate the variable of teacher orientations to seeking help, which is closely related to social support.

On the other hand, according to Bandura (1977) and Leary et al. (1986), people with high self-esteem will take on any challenge, even a particularly difficult task, and as a result, they experience success which raises self-efficacy. Research shows that self-esteem correlates positively with self-efficacy (Woodruff & Cashman, 1993). What relations exist between teacher efficacy and teacher self-esteem? This is the first purpose to be addressed in this research. Moreover, two hypotheses have been posed in previous studies about self-esteem and the recognition of support requests. The recognition consistency hypothesis by Bramel (1968) states that the higher the self-esteem, the more there is refusal of support. In contrast, Tessler and Schwartz (1972) propose the easy to be injured hypothesis, that, the lower the self-esteem, the more sensitive the person is to criticism, and the less likely he/she is to seek support. …

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