Source:Teaching and Teacher Education ,Volume 23, Issue 6, August 2007, Pages 944-956
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study examined several potential sources of teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs to see if differences could be found between novice and experienced teachers.
The contextual elements explored included teachers’ rating of the abundance of available teaching materials and various forms of verbal persuasion such as the interpersonal support from administrators, colleagues, parents, and the community.
The authors also examined mastery experiences in the form of teachers’ satisfaction with their past teaching performance as a source of efficacy judgments.
The participants were 255 teachers who were graduate students at three state universities, two in Ohio and one in Virginia as well as teacher volunteers from two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school in those same states.
Teachers in the sample had from 1 to 29 years of teaching experience, and ranged in age from 21 to 57 years. Two-thirds of the participants were female.
In examining the self-efficacy beliefs of novice teachers compared to experienced teachers, the authors found somewhat lower mean self-efficacy beliefs among the novices than among the career teachers.
The results of this study revealed quite different patterns among the set of variables examined and their relationship to the self-efficacy beliefs of novice and career teachers.
For novice teachers, who have few mastery experiences to draw upon, other sources of self-efficacy seem to be more salient in their self-assessments of efficacy, including vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and emotional arousal.
The findings in this study begin to define more and less important sources of information that teachers consider when making self-efficacy judgments and how these sources are weighed differently by novice and experienced teachers. In determining self-efficacy for teaching, novice teachers do seem to make a more explicit analysis of the teaching task than career teachers, as evidenced by the greater contribution of contextual factors to novice teachers’ efficacy judgments. The availability of teaching resources was a particularly salient aspect of the context for novice teachers.
Verbal persuasion, assessed as the interpersonal support of administrators, colleagues, parents, and members of the community, also appeared to be more pertinent for novice teachers’ than for career teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs. Experienced teachers have apparently adapted to the typical isolation of their work lives and have learned to base their efficacy judgments on other sources.
Neither novice nor career teachers seem to base their self-efficacy beliefs on the support of their administrators.
It was found that mastery experiences made the strongest contribution to self-efficacy judgments for both beginning and career teachers. This variable was especially strong for novice teachers. Career teachers, with an abundance of mastery experiences, may have a fairly stable sense of efficacy whether they are happy with how the current school year is going or not.
This study has demonstrated that, compared to career teachers, novice teachers’ self-efficacy seems to be more influenced by contextual factors such as verbal persuasion and the availability of resources.