and on their relationships. Teacher self-efficacy is associated with numerous student and teacher positive outcomes, such as teaching effectiveness, achievement, and motivation (Knoblauch & Hoy, 2008; Eun & Heining-Boynton, 2007; Barkley, 2006; Milner, 2002; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998). However, researches conducted on this construct have mostly focused on its outcomes and little attention has been paid to make teachers more self-efficacious. If this study establishes the proposed relationship, a practical way towards self-efficacy reinforcement is suggested.
On the other hand, a large body of research has been devoted to investigating teachers’ experience, and its relationship to effective teaching. In addition, many researchers have scrutinized different aspects of reflective teaching, theoretically and practically. Furthermore, teachers’ self-efficacy is the core subject of many research papers and dissertations. Nevertheless, there is little published research in the professional literature investigating the relationship between teacher experience and teachers’ success as reflective practitioners (Akbari, Behzadpoor, & Dadvand, 2010; Akbari, 2007). In this section, accordingly, the most related researches conducted in the aforementioned disciplines have been reviewed. In so doing, two main areas emerged. First, teachers’ self-efficacy and the endeavors in developing reliable scales to measure it were scrutinized. secondly, the area of reflective teaching and its relationship to teaching quality was reviewed and selected literature regarding teachers’ self-efficacy and reflective teaching was discussed. The results of these reviews are presented in the current chapter.
2.2 Teachers’ Self-efficacy
Defined as “the extent to which the teacher believes he or she has the capacity to affect student performance” (Bergman, McLaughlin, Bass, Pauly, & Zellman, 1977, p. 137, cited in Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998), teachers’ self-efficacy is recognized as a variable that reflects teaching effectiveness by mediating relationships between knowledge and behaviors (Dellinger, Bobbett, Olivier, & Ellett, 2008; Cruz & Arias, 2007). A review of researches conducted to find out the relationships between teachers’ self-efficacy and other constructs reveals that teachers’ self-efficacy is closely related to student, school and teacher outcomes.
On the one hand, teachers’ self-efficacy is related to students’ achievement (Barkley, 2006; Milner, 2002; Henson, Kogan, & Vacha-Hasse, 2001; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998), students’ motivation (Milner, 2002; Henson, Kogan, & Vacha-Hasse, 2001; Brouwers & Tomic, 2000; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998), students’ own self- efficacy (Henson, Kogan, & Vacha-Hasse, 2001; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998), students’ persistence (Milner, 2002), and students’ self-esteem (Brouwers & Tomic, 2000).
On the other hand, in addition to affecting school effectiveness (Brouwers & Tomic, 2000), teachers’ self-efficacy affects teachers’ commitment to teaching (Chan, Lau, Nie, Lim, & Hogan, 2008; Ware & Kitsantas, 2007; Milner, 2002; Brouwers & Tomic, 2000; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998), teachers’ persistence (Knoblauch & Hoy, 2008; Milner, 2002; Henson, Kogan, & Vacha-Hasse, 2001; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998), teachers’ confidence (Egel, 2009), teachers’ innovation (Saracalo & Dincer, 2009; Evers, Brouwers, & Tomic, 2002; Henson, Kogan, & Vacha-Hasse, 2001; Brouwers & Tomic, 2000), teachers’ classroom management strategies (Brouwers & Tomic, 2000; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998; Gibson & Dembo, 1984), teachers’ stress levels (Brouwers & Tomic, 2000), teachers’ being less critical (Henson, Kogan, & Vacha-Hasse, 2001; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998), teachers’ self-esteem (Huang, Liu, & Shiomi, 2007), teachers’ burnout (Evers, Brouwers, & Tomic, 2002; Milner, 2002), teachers’ affective commitment (Kent & Sullivan, 2003), and teachers’ professional development (Eun & Heining-Boynton, 2007).
A few researches, however, associate some undesirable outcomes with high levels of self-efficacy, too. They identify a number of benefits associated with inefficacious teachers. They believe that doubts about one’s abilities might foster reflection and motivation to learn. It might also result in greater responsiveness to diversity (Hoy & Spero, 2005)
Self-efficacy and self-esteem are sometimes mistakenly considered synonymous. Although positively related (Huang, Liu, & Shiomi, 2007), self-esteem and self-efficacy are not interchangeable concepts (Bandura, 1997). Self-efficacy deals with personal capability, while self-esteem concerns judgments of self-worth. According to Bandura, no established association exists between beliefs about one’s abilities and whether one likes or dislikes oneself (Bandura, 1997). Self-esteem does assist people in completing tasks effectively, but it is not enough for success in designated tasks.
2.2.1 Theories of Teacher Self-Efficacy
Rooted in two different theories, teacher self-efficacy is an elusive concept. The two major theories of teacher self-efficacy are Rotter’s Social Learning Theory (Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998) and Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1994).
22.214.171.124 Rotter’s Social Learning Theory
The first theory of teacher self-efficacy, social learning theory, was developed in 1966 by J. B. Rotter in an article entitled “Generalized Expectancies for Internal Versus External Control of Reinforcement”. Based on this theory, when teachers believe that the influence of the environment overpowers their ability to influence students’ learning, reinforcement of their teaching efforts lies outside their control (external). On the other hand, teachers who confidently feel that they can teach unmotivated students, exhibit a belief that reinforcement of their teaching activities lies within their control (internal) (Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998). Researchers in RAND organizations, inspired by Rotter’s theory, added two questions to an already existing questionnaire. Teachers were asked to determine the degree of their agreement with these questions. The sum of these two items were called teacher efficacy, which indicated the degree to which teachers could internally control student motivation and learning (Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001). The two items were as follows.
Item one. When it comes right down to it, a teacher really cannot do much because most of a student’s motivation and performance depends on his or her home environment (Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001). A teacher who strongly agrees with this statement indicates that environmental factors overpower any control that teachers can exercise in schools. Such teachers regard factors such as parents’ ideas of educational value; the conflict or violence in the home or society; the social and economic characteristics such as class, race, and gender; and the physiological, emotional and cognitive needs of a student of great importance in controlling his or her motivation and performance in school (Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001). “Teachers’ beliefs about the power of these external factors compared to the influence of teachers and schools have since been labeled general teaching efficacy (GTE) (Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001, p. 785)
Item two. If I really try hard, I can get through to even the most difficult or unmotivated students (Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001). Teachers who see such ability within their reach express confidence in their capabilities to overcome factors that could hinder students’ learning. Such teachers feel efficacious in their own teaching and are confident of their training and experience. This aspect of efficacy is generally called personal teaching efficacy (PTE) (Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001).
To sum up, although Rotter’s theory focuses on teachers’ belief on their ability to exert changes upon students, it is very general and does not discuss teacher efficacy on different aspects of teaching and learning.
126.96.36.199 Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory
The second theory informing teacher self-efficacy developed out of Bandura’s social cognitive theory, assimilating it with self-efficacy. In his theory, Bandura defines self-efficacy as, “people’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives. Self-efficacy beliefs determine how people feel, think, motivate themselves and behave” (Bandura, 1994, p. 71). He describes self-efficacious people as those who view problems as challenges that they need to master, and not obstacles that they fear to approach. For him, self-efficacy is a mechanism of behavioral change and self-regulation (Henson, Kogan, & Vacha-Hasse, 2001). According to Bandura, the belief that one can produce desired effects by what they do provides incentive to act. As a result, he sees efficacy beliefs as major basis of action (Bandura, 1997). He regards self-efficacy as a construct that has an impact on every aspect of actions – the courses of action people pursue, their perseverance when they face failure, their control of stress and depression, and their levels of accomplishment (Bandura, 1997). Bandura states that beliefs of inefficacy results in despair and apathy (Bandura, 1995). He proceeds so far as to believe that people will not attempt to do anything if they believe that they have no power to gain results (Bandura, 1997; 1994).
Bandura introduced four main forms of influence affecting self-efficacy (Bandura, 1994; 1995; 1997). According to him, mastery experiences have the most significant influence on the way to become more self-efficacious. Just as successes reinforce the belief that one has what it takes to be more successful, failures undermine it. Bandura called the second chief source of influence vicarious experiences. He believes that watching other people similar