Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 19, No. 4, 398–418, 2013
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The purpose of this research is to identify the factors within the school environment that enhance and facilitate a teachers’ innovative behavior. Furthermore, it aims to examine whether it is possible to predict a teachers’ innovative behaviour with the proposed two-layer model (with self-efficacy being the first layer and teaching practices being the second).
It is supposed that teachers’ innovative behavior appears in school environments and may be supported by the following factors: interaction and involvement, need and freedom for innovation.
The sample of this study consists of the Estonian sample of TALIS survey (OECD, 2009), with a total of 3321 teachers of grades 7–9 from 198 schools. From the total sample, 548 were males, 2645 females.
The authors have applied regression analysis to identify the factors of school environment which can predict the innovative behaviour of teachers. The study is carried out as a secondary data analysis, based on a sample of Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) survey. The questionnaire is divided into four parts: background information, teachers’ professional development, feedback to teachers and evaluation of their work, activities, beliefs and attitudes related to teaching and teaching of a subject in one particular class.
In this study, a model for predicting teachers’ innovative behaviour was proposed, with three general factors of school environment: interaction and involvement, need for innovation and freedom for innovation.
The results show some evidence that the proposed model of a three-component concept of teachers’ innovative behaviour has both strengths and weaknesses. As for the strengths, there are significant correlations between interaction and involvement, and the innovative behaviour of teachers. Involvement in decision-making processes at the school level reinforces teachers’ self-efficacy – as one of the founding aspects of innovative behaviour, building up teachers’ self-confidence and strengths in the school environment. The need to use innovative teaching practices is a result of recognition that teachers receive for their achievement in self-development. The results show some evidence that teachers’ self-efficacy is strongly supported by such forms of feedback, where the importance of innovative behavior and professional environment is emphasized.
The results indicate that although the three factors mentioned do not constitute the integrated phenomenon, they do describe different aspects of a teachers’ innovative behaviour. The fact that only the cooperation factor showed correlations with all three proposed components of innovative behaviour of teachers shows that there might be more aspects, unrevealed in the present study, but which combine to make up the phenomenon of innovative behaviour of teachers as a whole. The findings indicate that despite teaching language and cultural background of schools in a post-Soviet country, it is consistent policies towards unifying curricula, combined with bridging the gap between different cultures, that enable all participants of educational system to move closer to common understanding of importance of innovativeness and creativity within school context.
Nevertheless, the proposed model of predicting the innovative behaviour of teachers provides insights into what kind of environment is needed in order to foster teachers’ innovative potential. The authors are able to conclude that a teachers’ innovative potential is developed and used in the best possible way, when the school environment provides them with possibilities for self-development, recognition for their innovative behaviour and professional development and also constructive feedback from school management and the students’ parents. Teachers’ self-efficacy, on the one hand as a predictor and on the other hand as a facilitator of the teachers’ innovative potential, should be emphasized and consistently developed.
OECD. (2009). Creating effective teaching and learning environments: first results from TALIS. Teaching and learning international survey. OECD.