Teacher self-efficacy is a complex topic. The concept, founded on Bandura’s (1977) social cognitive theory, captures the teachers’ beliefs in their own ability to guide students’ learning-even in difficult situations (Schunk, Pintrich, & Meece, 2008). And collective efficacy (Donohoo, 2016) refers to how a group of teachers understand their ability to effect positive results. Self -efficacy impacts instructional practices, individual and collective efforts among teachers, and persistence within the profession. Some research has found experienced teachers’ self-efficacy is higher in comparison to pre-service teachers and those just entering the classroom (Putman, 2012) while others have found that practicing teachers generally have lower self-efficacy than pre-service teachers (Benz, Bradley, Alderman, & Flowers, 1992). Hence, it appears, teachers’ self-efficacy may vary depending on different circumstances placed upon a teacher (Klassen & Chiu, 2010). Litvinov, Alverez, Long and Walker (2018) list ten different pressures that many teachers face which include: lack of money for wages and supplies; lack of safe environments for teachers and their students; accountability pressures place on teachers; lack of discipline; chronic absenteeism, and supporting undocumented students.
Research also questions whether a teachers’ high sense of self-efficacy determines positive benefits for teachers and their students. As well, if a teacher (preservice or inservice) has low self-efficacy, that does not necessarily mean a teacher will be unsuccessful (Siwatu & Chestnut, 2014; Wheatley, 2002). Wheatley argues that, in fact, self-efficacy doubts can actually motivate teachers to investigate and to develop new skills, which leads to a more affective learning environment for teachers and students.
Wheatley (2002) believes novice teachers entering the field should be guided to be cautious of unrealistic confidence that may lead to shattering their self-efficacy which in turn could cause them to leave the teaching field prematurely. It appears that not only developing the skill to teach matters, but also that teachers will face important issues or barriers during their career. They must be able to problem solve while remaining resilient.
Various research topics align with and contribute to teacher self-efficacy. We invite researchers to submit manuscripts focused on an important aspect of teacher-efficacy and the implications for teacher education.
Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215.
Donohoo, J. (2016). Collective efficacy: How educators’ beliefs impact student learning. Corwin Press.
Klassen, R., & Chiu, M. M. (1010). Effects on teachers’ self-efficacy and job satisfaction: Teacher gender, years of experience, and job stress, Journal of Educational Psychology, 102 (3), 741-756.
Litvinov, A. Alvarez, B., Long, C., & Walker, T. (August 3, 2018). 10 Challenges facing public education today. National Education Association (NEA) Today. http://neatoday.org/2018/08/03/10-challenges-facing-public-education-today/
Schunk, D. H., Pintrich, P. R., & Meece, J. L. (2008). Motivation in education: Theory, research, and applications (3rd Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Siwatu, K. O., & chestnut, S. r. (2014). The career development of preservice and inservice teachers: Why teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs matter. In H. Fives & M. Gill (Eds.), International handbook of research on teachers’ beliefs (pp. 212-229). New York: Routledge.
Wheatley, K. F. (2002). The potential benefits of teacher efficacy doubts for educational reform. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 5-22.