Self-efficacy of early career teachers: A longitudinal study

Year: 2013

Author: George, Sindu

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy supports the claim that teacher self-efficacy is most malleable in the early years of teaching. Nevertheless, there are not many studies reported tracking the changes in self-efficacy of teachers during their early career years, and those studies have yielded varied results too. It is against this background, the present study analyses the self-efficacy of teachers at two time point in five years’ time, addressing the call for paying attention to longitudinal research in the self-efficacy research. The concept of self-efficacy can be traced back to the Social-Cognitive Theory proposed by Bandura (1977). Bandura's key contention regarding the role of self-efficacy beliefs in human functioning is that an individual’s motivation to do a particular task and his/her actions may not be based on what they really are, but on what they believe they can. Extrapolating from the Bandurian concept of self-efficacy, Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk Hoy, and Hoy (1998) proposed an integrated model of teacher self-efficacy. They developed Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES), measuring teacher self-efficacy as a multidimensional construct, which is employed in this study. The results are drawn from two studies. Study 1 was conducted by Watt and Richardson in 2007 with 1365 early career teachers, who were in the first year of their teaching, rating their self-efficacy using the TSES on a 9-point scale. A follow-up survey was sent out to these teachers (who had expressed their willingness to participate in future studies) in 2012, when they were in their sixth year of teaching, requesting them to rate their self-efficacy employing the same scale. The number of participants in Study 2 was significantly low (98), and 74 cases (83.4% females and 17.6% males) with matching IDs and other relevant information could be identified, which were included in the analysis. The teachers rated themselves high in the three dimensions of self-efficacy, expressing higher confidence in their ability for classroom management at both time points (M1=6.664, SD1=1.148; M2=7.60, SD2=.848) when compared with their self-efficacies for instructional strategies and student engagement. The paired sample t-test results emphasised the statistically significant increase in the reported self-efficacies for classroom management at Time 1 and Time 2 with t(69)= -7.442, p<.001; for student engagement at Time 1 and Time 2 with t(68)= -5.551, p<.001, and for instructional strategies; t(69)= -8.360, p<.001. Further results comparing the difference in self-efficacy among the different subsamples are also discussed in this presentation.