Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 28, Issue 4, p. 535-545. (May, 2012)
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study examined the sense of efficacy of final-year Australian pre-service primary teachers and the sources of information that contributed to it.
The participants were 573 final-year primary program students from Australia, who responded to the online survey. Most of the pre-service primary teachers were female (87.96%).
A multi-scale survey questionnaire was designed, which included two measurement scales: a sense of efficacy scale; and a source of efficacy scale.
The findings revealed that these beginning teachers have a healthy sense of efficacy for teaching as they begin their professional lives, with the majority feeling they can influence the education of their students quite a bit.
It was found that participants felt most efficacious about making their expectations clear about behaviour to their students, and least efficacious in getting through to the most difficult students.
Furthermore, the results suggest that respondents did not make any differentiation between classroom management, instruction or student engagement tasks.
It was found that classroom management items with the highest mean scores were tasks that could be seen as teacher-centred tasks, and more easily controllable by the teacher.
Items with the lowest mean scores were related to the few problematic students that exhibit the most challenging behaviours.
Coursework was not associated with respondents’ sense of efficacy as teachers, and it could be that classroom management coursework has little impact.
In addition, the feedback that preservice teachers received from their cooperating teachers in particular appeared to be very influential.
However, feedback from university supervisors was seen as less influential by the participants.
Finally, the pre-service teachers appeared to use four distinct sources of information when assessing their sense of efficacy in classroom behaviour management: enactive mastery experiences/verbal persuasion, personal qualities, vicarious experiences and physiological and affective states.
The first three components all positively added to their sense of teaching efficacy, however, for physiological and affective states, the less this component seemed to matter as an information source, the higher their TSES score.
Although enactive mastery experiences/verbal persuasion had the highest mean score, it was the personal qualities component that was the most significant predictor of their TSES score, with physiological and affective state as a secondary predictor.
Teacher preparation programs need to plan for how these components can be enhanced in the first case, and ameliorated in the second case to boost pre-service teachers’ sense of efficacy.