Academic journal article Journal of Behavioural Sciences

Effect of Teacher Efficacy Beliefs on Motivation

Academic journal article Journal of Behavioural Sciences

Effect of Teacher Efficacy Beliefs on Motivation

Article excerpt

Research on teaching and teacher education which has overemphasized knowledge and skills in building teacher so far has shifted its focus, during the last four decades, to teacher cognition, thought processes, and belief system. Numerous studies examined changes in beliefs and attitudes of teachers and its impact on teacher effectiveness (Pajares, 1992; Fang, 1999). Beliefs are a wide area indeed: This study explores teacher efficacy beliefs, as encompassed in the construct of4 Ieacher Efficacy ' and determines how these influence teacher motivation. Teacher efficacy beliefs pertain to a judgment that teachers have the capacity to impact student performance even where students are difficult to handle or are unmotivated (Guskey & Passaro, 1994). Teacher efficacy involves two related but different dimensions: Teaching Efficacy (TE) or 'Competence' and Personal Efficacy (PE) or 'Confidence'. The former pertains to teachers' evaluation of their ability to bring a positive change in student engagement and learning; the latter is teachers' cognition that pupils are teachable despite their background conditions. In short, efficacy effects the effort people invest in work. It shapes enthusiasm and level of teacher motivation (Allinder, 1994; Burley, Hall, Villeme, & Brockmeier, 1991). RAND studies (1976) which introduced the construct of Teacher Efficacy used only two items to measure it: One each tapping TE and PE and found the composite scores strongly related to reading achievement among university students. The score also related to amount of teacher change and percentage of project completed (Midgley & Feldlaufer, 1989).

Bandura (1986) held that teacher efficacy is a skill as well as a motivation guided by one's beliefs. Both in-service and prospective teachers develop their beliefs about teaching from years spent in the classroom both as student and teacher. In Bendura's terminology (1970) teaching efficacy is synonym with 'outcome expectation' - the degree to which teacher believes environment can be controlled in terms of school conditions, students' back ground factors etc. and personal efficacy would be closer to self efficacy or teachers' beliefs in their capacity to bring about a positive change in students. Unless people believe they can produce desired results to their actions they have little incentive to act or to persevere in the face of difficulty. Moreover, such beliefs appear to be consistent, stable and even formidable. According to Bendura, beliefs are best indicators of decisions people make including those about job. Assuming that problems in teaching are attitudinal more than that of capacity or skill in the context of Pakistan with 65% pass rate in matriculation and 45% in higher secondary school level, this study is focused on assessing thoughts and beliefs of teachers about their own selves, students and the work-environment and the motivational implications thereof. These environmental and context factors influence efficacy beliefs accounting for individual differences in teacher effectiveness (Gibson & Dembo, 1984).

Certain formidable beliefs such as 'concept of ability' account for academic achievement and intelligence in general and poor educational outcome in particular. Ability is popularly construed as a fixed and predetermined quantity (Elliot & Dweck, 1988). School teachers tend to generally endorse deterministic view of ability (Nicholls & Miller, 1983). There is evidence that those who take ability as a fixed quantity pursue ego-centered goals and involve pupils in self worth concerns more than in learning (Maehr & Nicholls, 1980) whereas those who take it as an incremental quality task-involve the pupils so that they learn better. In third world developing countries such as India and Pakistan, ability is assumed by the common folk as largely God-gifted, predetermined and a natural talent. Such beliefs undermine the importance of training and development in learning situations such as school and colleges. …

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