Self efficacy: An integral component of teacher professional development

Year: 1996

Author: Butcher, Jude, Debus, Ray

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The importance of self efficacy in studies of professional development was shown in a study of teacher development in the management domain where student teachers' changes in their general conceptualisations of management or schema types were found to be associated with changes in teacher efficacy . The study of the role of teacher efficacy in development was facilitated through the use of three efficacy factors, one of which, difficult student efficacy, was more directly related to the management domain than the other two factors, teacher efficacy in producing outcomes and contextual efficacy in overcoming the influences of pupil context.

These changes in efficacy sometimes entailed the adoption of a more realistic sense of difficult student and/or contextual efficacy by student teachers. Changes in schema types across a low to high schema type developmental threshold were accompanied by changes in efficacy scores. The particular efficacy score and the direction of the change varied according to the nature of the student teachers' developmental pattern and/or the direction of the schema type change.

An examination of the relationships between teacher efficacy and situational or field experience variables and schema development showed how teachers' sense of efficacy is integral to the way teachers perceive and respond to management situations. Other personal influences on schema development were identified and their roles in development, with relation to efficacy, are explored.

This paper shows the importance of including efficacy in studies of teacher development, and the need for efficacy to be studied with consideration of likely sub-factors is discussed. The discussion draws upon the analysis of both longitudinal case study and cross-sectional extensive phase data comparing experts and novices at varying levels in teacher education courses.