Source: Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 41, No. 4, 363–376, 2013.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The main goal of this study was to investigate the differences between the pre-service and in-service teachers in terms of their levels of teaching efficacy and teaching professionalism.
The participants were 593 teachers in Korean Early Childhood Education and Care.
They were divided into two subgroups consisting of 273 pre-service teachers and
320 in-service teachers who had agreed to participate in the study.
The levels of both pre-service and in-service teachers’ teaching efficacy were assessed by the Early Childhood Teacher Efficacy Scale (ECTES).
In addition, teachers’ perceptions of their level of professionalism were assessed by the Teachers’ Professionalism scale.
This research was based on the assumption that there would be different patterns in predicting teaching efficacy between pre-service vs. in-service teachers in early childhood education and care.
The results found that in-service teachers had higher scores than their counterparts in only one of the six subscales of teaching efficacy, which is the subscale “Teaching Strategies”.
The novice teachers had higher levels on the subscale of “Care”, and no significant differences were found in the other four domains of teaching efficacy.
The results also revealed some similar and different patterns among the set of variables examined.
First, the results showed that the subject’s college major specialisation and some domains of professionalism were found to be predictive to both groups.
In addition, the teachers’ perceived level of professionalism was found to be predictive to teaching efficacy, and this result was consistently observed for the two groups.
As noted in the regression equations, the teachers’ overall professionalism was found to be the most powerful predictor in all domains of teaching efficacy for the two groups.
This result supports the notion that the degree to which teachers exhibit certain attitudes and behaviours to make their decisions in the teaching profession based upon their knowledge should be recognised as one of the determinants of teaching efficacy.
The different regression result patterns among the sets of variables and their effects on teaching efficacy were observed between the two subgroups.
The effect of internship experience on pre-service teachers was a small but meaningful predictor for the total teaching efficacy score.
It may be that pre-service teachers who are struggling in their teaching tend to rely on the interpersonal support of experienced in-service teachers, contributing to their levels of teaching efficacy.
This result suggests that the effects of in-service teachers’ background characteristics still reflected in their levels of teaching efficacy.
In particular, an in-service teacher’s number of years of teaching was found to be predictive of their teaching efficacy.
In accordance, in-service teachers’ income was found to be a significant predictor of their teaching efficacy.
The autonomy subscale of the Teachers’ Professionalism scale was a stronger predictor than responsibility in pre-service teachers, but the opposite result pattern was observed with the in-service teacher sample.
The results from the current study reaffirm the view that provision of on-the-job training and career development opportunities to inservice teachers is imperative to improve their teaching efficacy levels.
Based on this result, in-service teachers must improve their qualifications to keep their career development up to a satisfactory level.
Additionally, the university training curriculum for in-service teachers before their current employment seems important in contributing to teaching efficacy on the continuum of career development.
The authors conclude that the main results of this study confirm the contention that if significant effects of teachers’ confidence in teaching were taken seriously into consideration, this could bring about significant changes in the way teachers are prepared for the early years in their profession and provide lessons for teachers, especially for pre-service teachers.
This study found that the perceptions of pre-service and in-service teachers on their teaching efficacy had similar patterns of predictors as well as unique predictors for each group.
Efforts should be made to improve the quality of teachers, accreditation qualifications, teachers’ salaries, and career development opportunities, especially for childcare staff who are employed in poor working conditions in Korea.
For early career teachers to feel confident in their teaching efficacy, it is important to recognise their demands and needs for job training programs.