The Path to Self Efficacy in Teaching: A Longitudinal Study of Beginning Teaching

Year: 1995

Author: Nimmo, Graham, Smith, David

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper is based on a longitudinal, in-depth study of a the development of a secondary school teacher during her first two years of teaching. The study is underpinned by a theoretical framework adapted from those advanced by Bullough, Knowles and Crow (1992) and Scardamalia and Bereiter (1989). These theoretical frameworks emphasise four qualitative indices of professional growth in teachers, viz.

teaching schema, problem framing, problem setting, and preparedness to tackle more complex problems. The study also examined the relative contribution of theory-based knowledge and personal practical knowledge to the teacher's thinking and decision making.

While the study gives some support to stage theories of teacher development (eg. Fuller and Bown, 1975; Marshall, Fittinghoff and Cheney, 1990; Ryan, 1986) the findings demonstrate the need to take account of the subtle interplay of idiosyncratic personal factors and contextual factors in charting the course of teachers' professional growth. Implications of the investigation for both teacher educators and school personnel are also considered.