Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Prospective Teachers' Professional Self-Efficacy Beliefs in Terms of Their Perceived Autonomy Support and Attitudes towards the Teaching Profession: A Mixed Methods Study *

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Prospective Teachers' Professional Self-Efficacy Beliefs in Terms of Their Perceived Autonomy Support and Attitudes towards the Teaching Profession: A Mixed Methods Study *

Article excerpt

Teachers are a most important factor contributing to students' learning. Hettie's (2009) meta-analysis, which examined the factors influencing students' learning, found that after genetics, teachers have the greatest influence on students' learning; however, only teachers who have profound pedagogical knowledge with high expectations from all their students and who create positive teacher-student relationships, follow students, and give them feedback can strongly influence students. Teachers are also known to require six areas of knowledge for specializing: content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, knowledge about learners and how they learn, personality knowledge, high-level conceptual knowledge, and corporatecommunication knowledge (Garmston, 1998). The places where teachers now receive knowledge and skills in these areas are the institutions that train teachers, and training qualified teachers depends on the quality of undergraduate education.

Many problems are seen in Turkey regarding training qualified teachers during their undergraduate education (Adem, 1988; Demircioğlu, Bulut, & Yıldırım, 1997; Kavcar, 1980; Sözer, 1989). The Council of Higher Education (CoHE) made some alterations to education faculties' teacher-training program in 1998 and 2006 to overcome these problems. These alterations have increased the course hours that prospective teachers spend on formation and content knowledge, making these two courses occur side by side and having hours of exercises added to the formation course. These changes aim for prospective teachers to be able to transfer their knowledge and skills gained in undergraduate education to their assigned schools, as well as to have them know the teaching profession in detail by discussing its basic features, difficulties, and joys (CoHE, 1998). One of the reasons for this change can be argued in terms of having prospective teachers be autonomous individuals who take responsibility for their own learning and feel good about themselves professionally by having them develop a positive attitude towards the teaching profession. This is because teachers' ability to transfer their knowledge and skills to school is closely related to their feelings of autonomy and competence, while knowing the profession's difficulties and joys is closely related to their attitudes towards the profession. The purpose of this study is to determine how prospective teachers' perceptions of autonomy support and attitudes towards the teaching profession contribute to teaching self-efficacy, as well as to identify the factors that affect teaching self-efficacy at the end of undergraduate education. When compared to those with low self-efficacy, prospective teachers with high teaching self-efficacy are known to perform better at lecturing, providing active student participation, and managing their classes (Saklofske, Michayluk, & Randhawa, 1988). Therefore, identifying the factors that affect prospective teachers' self-efficacy can contribute to the literature in the field.

Autonomy Support

The concept of autonomy is defined as the self-initiation and self-regulation of one's behavior (Deci, Vallerand, Pelletier, & Ryan, 1991). A person must experience self-affirmation or will of one's own behavior in order to meet the requirement of autonomy (Ryan & Grolnick, 1986). This experience can be achieved in the classroom by having students undertake the responsibility of self-learning on their own. Therefore, the learning climate a teacher creates in class will influence students' perceived autonomy (Black & Deci, 2000). The factor that determines the in-class learning climate is teachers' styles of interpersonal motivation (Williams & Deci, 1996). While motivating students, teachers use styles of interpersonal motivation that vary from being highly controlling to autonomy supportive (Rigby, Deci, Patrick, & Ryan, 1992). Teachers with highly controlling styles pressure students to think, feel, and behave a certain way; while with styles that support autonomy, teachers demonstrate a variety of behaviors to identify and improve students' sources of intrinsic motivation (Reeve, 2009). …

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