How Leaders Create Schools with High Collective Efficacy: Research Is Clear about What Is Needed to Lead a School Where the Best Teachers Demand to Be on the Leadership Team, and Students Know They Will Be Successful

By Manthey, George | Leadership, March-April 2012 | Go to article overview

How Leaders Create Schools with High Collective Efficacy: Research Is Clear about What Is Needed to Lead a School Where the Best Teachers Demand to Be on the Leadership Team, and Students Know They Will Be Successful


Manthey, George, Leadership


Having written a dissertation on teacher collective efficacy, it was an honor for me to be asked to review an article on individual and collective student efficacy for publication in the European Journal of Educational Psychology. According to the researchers, a student's belief in him or herself ("I will be able to improve my poorest marks throughout the year") is a better predictor of that student's success than his or her efficacy feelings about school ("As a group my class is able to achieve good grades in all subjects"). That's probably not surprising news to anyone.

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But contrast it with research about individual and collective teacher efficacy, in which the collective efficacy beliefs of teachers ("Teachers at this school are able to get through to difficult students") are a better predictor of academic success than a teacher's belief about his or her own efficacy ("I can motivate students who show low interest in school work").

A casual glance at these two contrasting conclusions might lead one to predict that the best chance of a school to have "success for every student" would be to have students with high personal efficacy and teachers with high collective efficacy. Again, this is another no brainer.

But what if that is not your situation? What leadership implications are there for those who might be in schools where student self-efficacy is mixed, at best, and collective teacher efficacy is near the bottom of the scale? I'm reminded of an outstanding teacher at a school where I consulted who refused to be on the school improvement team unless I would guarantee him that it would make a difference.

"George," he said, "I have too much work to do with my students to take any time away from that unless I know it will help." If I'd known about these studies at that time, I might have been able to convince him that he'd never be truly successful with his students unless all teachers at his school became more effective. …

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