Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Effect of EFL Teachers' Attitude toward English Language and English Language Proficiency on Their Sense of Efficacy

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Effect of EFL Teachers' Attitude toward English Language and English Language Proficiency on Their Sense of Efficacy

Article excerpt


Researchers in education have documented that teachers' sense of efficacy has strong impacts on various aspects of teaching and learning. Yet, in the field of TESOL, inquiry into teachers' sense of efficacy is extremely scarce. The present study, by adopting the notion of teachers' sense of efficacy as the theoretical framework, has explored Iranian English Institute teachers' confidence in teaching English. The study has also examined teachers' attitudes toward the English language and teachers' English language proficiency, respectively. An exploratory survey methods design was employed in the present study and data were collected in the quantitative format, by which 68 English institute teachers working in Mazandaran responded to the survey. The results indicated that teachers' current level of English proficiency and EIL (English as an International Language) attitude toward the English language were the significant predictors for teachers' English teaching-specific efficacy beliefs or confidence. Also, efficacy for oral English language use was found as an additional dimension of teacher efficacy in teaching English, indicating that in a foreign language context, oral target language use would be a significant dimension to be considered in examining teachers' self-efficacy in teaching the target language.

Keywords: self-efficacy, attitudes toward English, English proficiency, Iranian EFL teachers

1. Introduction

Teachers' sense of efficacy has been defined as "the teacher's belief in his or her capability to organize and execute courses of action required to successfully accomplish a specific teaching task in a particular context" (Tschannen-Moran, & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001, p. 233). It is now understood that teachers' efficacy beliefs have a profound effect on the educational process. Teachers' sense of efficacy has been linked to many positive teacher behaviors and attitudes (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001), as well as student outcomes and attitudes (e.g., Henson, 2002). In addition, it has been discovered that teacher's efficacy beliefs become somewhat stable with years of experience (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001), so researchers have concentrated on the development of teacher's efficacy in pre-service teachers. Some of the most influential experiences on the development of teachers' sense of efficacy are mastery experiences during student teaching.

Teachers' efficacy stems from Bandura's (1997) social cognitive theory of self-efficacy. According to Bandura, self-efficacy beliefs are an assessment of one's personal capabilities - to take action, produce results, and have control over a given situation. For example, when people with positive and negative senses of self-efficacy succeed, they both attribute that success to ability; however, when both fail, a person with a positive sense of self-efficacy attributes the failure to insufficient effort, while a person with a negative sense of self-efficacy attributes the failure to lack of ability (Gist & Mitchell, 1992). Not all researchers agree that possession of a positive sense of teacher efficacy is necessary in order to be a successful teacher. It is possible that teachers who have doubts in their efficacy beliefs may actually be spurred to be more innovative, whereas teachers who have a very positive sense of efficacy will feel that their teaching needs no improvement.

Examining teachers' sense of efficacy or confidence in teaching English appears to be particularly pertinent and, as researchers have pointed out that teacher development is a key to its successful implementation. Teacher factor, particularly their lack of English proficiency, has been pointed out as one of the biggest obstacles for successful teaching and learning of English (Butler, 2004). In literature on the subject, it is largely assumed that teachers' lack of English proficiency has a causal relationship with their low confidence in teaching English. …

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