Teacher Efficacy Research Proposal

Pages: 20 (5484 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching

Teacher Efficacy

Discourses about education abound and involve various examinations of different aspects of education. Among these discourses is the concept of teacher efficacy and the manner in which it impacts students and learning environments. The following literature review will provide information about teacher efficacy. This information will focus on three primary aspects of teacher efficacy including the characteristics of the concept of teacher efficacy, the impact of teacher efficacy on student achievement and teacher efficacy and variety of instruction.

Description/characteristics of teacher efficacy

According to Tschannen-Moran et al., (1998) teacher efficacy is "the extent to which the teacher believes he or she has the capacity to affect student performance…or "teachers' belief or conviction that they can influence how well students learn, even those who may be difficult or unmotivated" (Guskey & Passaro, 1994, p. 4; Tschannen-Moran et al., 1998). That is, teacher efficacy, involves an educator's belief about the effectiveness of their abilities as an instructor.

Tschannen-Moran et al., (1998) also explains that the theory of teacher efficacy was developed by RAND researchers. The RAND researchers examined the degree to which educators were convinced that they had command over the reinforcement of their performance. The researchers examined if the command over reinforcement was found in the environment or in the teachers. The results of this research demonstrated that both performance and the motivations of students reinforced the teaching actions of instructors. As such, educators who possessed who had increased levels of efficacy believed that they had a great deal of control over motivating students and student achievement. This idea of teacher efficacy impacting student achievement will be discussed in more detail in a later portion of this literature review.

The article further explains that other theories of teacher efficacy also developed as a result of research. One such strand was developed by Bandura (1977) who found the teacher efficacy was actually perceived as a type of self-efficacy in which individuals form opinions about their ability to perform at a specific level. These opinions that people hold about themselves are evident in the amount of effort that people make, their persistence levels when they face adversity, the amount of stress they feel when working through difficult circumstances, and the manner in which they deal with failure. The author explains that these two different but linked conceptual theories are responsible for the lack of clarity concerning the nature of teacher efficacy (Tschannen-Moran et al., 1998).

Although the nature of teacher efficacy can be difficult to define, there is no doubt that the concept exists and that it can have a serious effect on the educational environment. In fact, according to Hoy & Wolfolk (1993) teacher efficacy has an impact on the health of the entire educational institution.

The authors explain that the concept of school climate has been expressed in many different ways. In some instances researchers have utilized a personality metaphor to describe the interpersonal relationships that are an aspect of the school environment. Hoy & Wolfolk (1993) choose to explain these relationships in terms of health because it is a more accurate way to describe the school environment.

The concept of school health was developed to capture the nature of student-teacher, teacher-teacher, and teacher-administrator interactions. The idea of health in an organization is not new; it calls attention to factors that both facilitate and impede the development of positive inter- personal relationships within the organization (Hoy & Forsyth, 1986; Miles, 1969). A healthy school is one in which harmony pervades relationships among students, teachers, and administrators as the organization directs its energies toward its mission.

Healthy schools appear to be high- achieving schools (Hoy et al., 1990; Hoy,

Tarter, et al., 1991; Hoy & Wolfolk,1993 pg 356).

The authors further explain that in attempting to explain the differences between effective and ineffective schools, that are some organizational features that have been found and are correlated with the achievement of students (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993). These features include good relationships among co workers and high expectations for students can also determine the overall health of the school (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993).

The authors go on to explain that all social systems including schools are faced with resolving four basic issues if they want to last, prosper and improve. For schools these four basic issues involve both instrumental needs an expressive needs. The instrumental needs are adaptation and goal achievement. The expressive needs include social and normative integration. According to Hoy & Wolfolk (1993), this means that students must have the ability to handle their environments while attempting to achieve goals. This entails the meeting of instrumental needs (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993). In addition, schools must also be well organized while also creating their own values and cultures (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993). This entails the meeting of expressive needs (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993).

Additionally it has also been asserted that there are three levels of control through which instrumental and expressive needs are met (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993). These levels are technical, managerial, and institutional. The first level, the technical level, involves the teaching-learning activity (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993). The primary goal of a school is to ensure that student are learning. Resolving the issues correlated to effective teaching and learning are the responsibilities of administrators and teachers (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993).

As it pertains to the managerial level it is controlled by the administrative operations that are internal to the organization (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993). In this sense principals serve as the main administrators in a school setting (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993). As administrators principles are responsible for distributing resources and ensuring that teachers are performing the designated tasks. Administrators are also responsible for controlling the clime of a school as it pertains to the development of trust, enthusiasm, and allegiance (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993). Principal must also have the capacity to influence leaders who hold higher positions and are responsible for the distribution of resources for the schools (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993).

Lastly, the institutional dynamic involves the relationship that the school has with the surrounding environment. Schools must have the support of the community in order to operate effectively (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993). This support is need because teachers and administrators alike must have assistance if they are to carry out the tasks associated with their job s (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993). To this end the manner in which a school interacts with its community should be amicable and not consist of unreasonable pressure (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993). These three levels are instrumental in describing the measures that are needed in a healthy school (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993). The authors further explain,

"a healthy school is one in which the technical, managerial, and institutional levels are in harmony and the school is meeting both its instrumental and expressive needs as it successfully copes with disruptive external forces and directs its energies toward its mission. Six dimensions of organizational health-institutional integrity, principal influence, consideration, resource support, morale, and academic emphasis-have been identified to describe the health of a school. These critical aspects of organizational life meet the instrumental and expressive needs of the school social system and fall into Parsons's three levels of responsibility and control within the school (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993)."

Understanding these levels is essential to understanding how school health influences teacher efficacy and vice versa. These health of schools and teacher efficacy are dependent upon one another.

In their study Hoy & Wolfolk,(1993) 179 elementary school teachers were randomly selected from a total of 37 New Jersey elementary schools. The sample was heterogeneous composed of schools from different geographic area and The socioeconomic levels. However the authors report that of the 37 participating schools more that half (27) were from districts with above average wealth (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993). As such the sample is partial toward more advantaged schools (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993). This should be taken into consideration when examining the results of the study. There were a total of five teachers that participated in the study from each of the 37 schools (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993). Of these teachers 97% completed usable questionnaires. The average numbers of years of experience was 14.43 years and the mean age was 42. Eighty three percent of the participants were women and 80% of the participants had tenure. Additionally participants had an average class size was 21 (Hoy & Wolfolk,1993).

The findings of the study demonstrate that the personal characteristics of teachers and their opinions of their school are paramount in the forming of teacher efficacy. The study found that the surroundings of the teacher effected their sense of efficacy as it pertained to motivating students . The findings also found a reciprocal relationship between efficacy and the school. This means that teacher efficacy affect the school environment and the school environment affect teacher efficacy. The research also found that

Two aspects of organizational life predicted personal teaching efficacy-principal influence and academic emphasis. Not only were the zero-order correlations significant, but the beta coefficients in the regression analysis demonstrated that both variables were significantly related to a sense of personal teaching efficacy after controlling for the influence… [END OF PREVIEW]

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