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DOI: 10.1515/jtes-2016-0007
Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability,
vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 84ñ94, 2016
The Effect of Professional Development on
Teacher Efficacy and Teachersí Self-Analysis of
Their Efficacy Change
Julia H. Yoo
Lamar University, USA
Abstract
The current study examined the effect of an online professional development learning
experience on teachersí self-efficacy through 148 (Male=22; Female=126) K-12 teachers
and school educators. The Teachersí Self-Efficacy Scale (TSES) developed by TschannenMoran and Woolfolk Hoy (2001) was administered twice with a five-week gap. Additionally, all participantsí descriptive self-analysis of their own score change was examined
to analyze teachersí attributions of their self-efficacy change. Both quantitative and
qualitative methodologies were used to analyze the data. The findings indicated that
teacher efficacy increased as a result of their online professional development experience.
Participantsí self-analysis of their efficacy change provided some possible explanations
for mixed reports for the influence of experience on teacher efficacy.
Keywords: teacher efficacy, teacher reflection, self-efficacy change, teacher professional
development for sustainable development
The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of professional development on
teacher efficacy and how teachers interpret their efficacy change. The sense of selfefficacy has been widely studied in the field of education as it has been recognized as an
important factor that influences student achievement and behavior (Skaalvik & Skaalvik,
2007; Tschannen Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001). Within the realm of social-cognitivism,
Albert Bandura (1977) identified the concept of self-efficacy as missing, yet an important
factor in his seminal publication, ìSelf-efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral
Change.î Self-efficacy is defined as individualsí beliefs and judgments of their capabilities
to manage and execute necessary courses of action (Bandura, 1997). The concept of
teacher efficacy soon grew out of Banduraís self-efficacy, and a group of researchers
from RAND, which is a nonprofit research organization, made an early effort in defining
teacher efficacy (Armor, D., Conroy-Oseguera, P., Cox, M., King, N., McDonnell, L.,
Pascal, A., Pauly, E., & Zellman, G., 1976; Berman, McLaughlin, Bass, Pauly, & Zellman, 1977).
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Literature Review
The concept of a teacherís self-efficacy refers to what he or she can do, and this
area of research can be broadly categorized into three. First, this line of research reported
the effect of teacher efficacy on students. Research has shown that a teacherís judgment
of how much he or she can do affects student learning due to its impact on instructional
choice (Ashton & Webb, 1986; Bandura, 1997; Guskey, 1988; Ross, 1998) and persistence (Dembo & Gibson, 1985; Soodak & Podell, 1994; Woolfolk, Rosoff, & Hoy,
1990). For instance, efficacious teachers tend to maintain high levels of student engagement (Good & Brophy, 2003), and spend more time with struggling students by perceiving
them as teachable with extra attention (Gibson & Dembo, 1984). Wolters and Daugherty
(2007) even suggested a correlation between teacher efficacy and mastery goal oriented
classrooms they create in their classrooms. In a recent empirical study, Fackler and
Malmberg (2016) showed a correlation between teacher efficacy and student learning
achievement, and claimed a universal pattern in fourteen OECD countries.
Researchers also examined teacher efficacy in contexts or conditions in which a
teacher performs tasks. Many teacher efficacy researchers commonly include school
environment characteristics or job satisfaction with their perceived work environment
as contextual factors. For example, teachers with low self-efficacy tend to show higher
stress that is associated with their profession (Betoret, 2006), and it is also closely related
to job satisfaction and teacher burnout (e.g., Klassen & Chiu, 2010; Skaalvik & Skaalvik,
2007). The reported findings regarding the close link between teacher efficacy and
contextual variables are perhaps due to the nature of teacher efficacy that is context
specific (Bandura, 1977; Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001).
Third, many researchers studied teacher efficacy with a teacherís own demographic
factors including teaching grade level and years of teaching experience. By conducting
a study involving preschool to high school teachers, Wolters and Daugherty (2007)
reported an inversely related correlation between teacher efficacy and their grade level
they teach. As an antecedent of teacherís self-efficacy, teaching experience in this line of
research has been extensively studied. Although many researchers have reported the
positive effects of teacher efficacy on student learning and teaching, mixed results have
been found regarding the change of teacher efficacy over time (e.g., Ghaith & Yaghi,
1997; Woolfolk Hoy & Burke Spero, 2005). While Bandura (1997) believed that the
sense of efficacy remains somewhat stable, Tschannen-Moran et al. (1998) reported
that teacher efficacy could either solidify over time or change with their experience in
teaching.
In spite of the mixed repots on the efficacy change over time, there is a need for the
continued scholarly interest in teacher efficacy because it provides important information,
which deals with teacher quality and sustainability. The high correlation between the
quality of a teacher and student performance is a widely accepted notion, and thus the
focus on teacher quality has had a long history in the field of education. In 1983, the
National Commission on Excellence in Education called for a national attention to
increasing a quality teacher workforce in a report called, A Nation at Risk. Spurred by
the report, many educators, policymakers, scholars in the field have been putting efforts
for improving teaching force. National Council on Teacher Quality and National Board
for Professional Teaching Standards are some of the good example organizations that
embodied the idea, and the need and importance of more rigorous standards and
accountability for teachers continue to get emphasized.
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In accordance with the call for highly qualifying teachers in the field, National
Commission on Teaching and Americaís Future (1996) emphasized the need for highquality continuing education, and education schools have paid attention to strengthening
continuing education for teachers through masterís programs (Putnam & Borko, 2000).
Consequently, the percentage of teachers who either hold or seek masterís degree in
education has only risen. According to the Council of Graduate Schools (2005), during
the academic year of 2008 and 2009, the field of education remains as the discipline
that awarded the most number of masterís degrees, which is 23.8% of all graduate
students. More recent report shows that the percentage of teachers who have either a
masterís or higher degree increased up to 38 (National Center for Education Statistics,
2012).
While the number of teachers who hold masterís degrees and the emphasis on
increasing teacher quality through professional development education has increased in
various forms whether on campus or online, there continues to be a scarcity of research
specific to innovative programs (Tom, 1999), such as fast growing online professional
development programs. With the growing population of teachers who actively seek
advanced degrees or professional continuing education opportunities, there is a need to
examine how this continuing education affects teacher efficacy. More careful examination
of how teaching experience affects teachersí self-efficacy is needed, especially with the
changing demographics of teaching workforce (Klassen & Chiu, 2010). Most of the
existing literature on teacher efficacy has looked at teaching experience simply as a
number of years in teaching. In particular, little attention has been given to how teacher
efficacy evolves as a result of professional enhancement programs or through teachersí
own reflection within the context.
Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine teacher efficacy change using
the Teachersí Self-Efficacy Scale (TSES) developed by Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk
(2001). Two research questions guided this study:
1. How does teacher efficacy change with an online professional development
experience?
2. What are the teachersí attributions of their increased or decreased sense of
self-efficacy?
Method
Participants
A total of 148 teachers and school educators who were enrolled in an online professional development program participated in this study. Although participants resided
in various locations, at the time of their participation, they were taking an advanced
Masterís degree program at a state universityís college of education. They came from
various grade levels of teaching (29.7% high school, 25% middle school, 35.1% elementary school, 6.8% kindergarten, 3.4% unknown). Female participants were predominant
(85.1%), and the following races and ethnicities were represented in the sample: 63.5%
White/Caucasian, 17.6% African American, 7.4% Hispanic, 3.4% American Indian/
Alaskan, 2% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 6.2% Other or Unknown. Participantsí average
age was 36.94 (Mdn=36, SD=9.27), and their average year of teaching was 8.77 (Mdn=7,
SD=6.29).
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Measure
Teachersí Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES), developed by Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk Hoy (2001), is comprised of three subscales: Instructional Strategies, Student
Engagement, and Classroom Management. A total of twenty-four items are rated on a
9-point Likert scale, one indicating nothing and nine indicating a great deal. The instrument has been widely used in the education field to assess teacher competence of using
a variety of instructional and assessment strategies in their teaching contexts. Prior to
completing the professional development session, the participants were asked to fill out
the teacher efficacy scale, TSES. Post survey was sent out for them to fill out upon
completion of the online learning session. For the teacher efficacy self-analysis, participants were asked to write down their self-analysis of efficacy change by comparing
their pre and post questionnaire responses. All responses were collected online. Thus,
there was no face-to-face contact with the researcher. The following instruction was
given to all participants at the end of their professional development learning: add your
scores for each subscale of TSES, and analyze your sense of self-efficacy, especially by
comparing your scores from the beginning of your learning and now.
Treatment
The professional development consisted of five-week online learning module, which
was broken down into weekly learning so that participants could receive constructive
feedback from their professional learning coaches along the way. In multiple ways, the
learning module contributed to the four sources of efficacy identified by Bandura (1997):
mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, social persuasion, and physiological and
affective states. First, for mastery experience, participants were introduced to effective
instructional strategies to engage students through motivational theories with classroom
application strategies. Theoretical part of the participantsí learning includes online
tutorials to watch and scholarly journals and books for reading. Over the period of five
weeks, the participants were involved in applying motivational theories and concepts in
their classrooms through various learning mediums, such as online discussions with
peers, readings of current research on the topic, and applying tasks of the learned materials. Second, for vicarious experiences, participants were given tasks to observe their
colleagues on campus bringing about student learning, and to observe an exemplary
teacherís classroom and see how she engaged students in learning by using various
instructional strategies. Third, for social persuasion, participants were given encouragement and appropriate feedback during their professional development learning experiences.
Fourth, for physiological and affective states, participants were coached to make abstract
and big ideas into more concrete and smaller chunks because feelings of stress and
anxiety negatively affect teacher efficacy. Through weekly online discussion forums,
participants were also given ample opportunities to share their stressful situations along
with possible solutions or actual cases where they resolved difficult cases amongst each
other.
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Analysis
To explore the first research question on the effect of online professional development
session, a paired T-test and one-way ANOVA were conducted with three dimensions of
teacher efficacy (instructional strategies, classroom management, and student engagement) along with their years of professional experience, grade level they teach, and sex.
Constant comparison method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) was used for the second research
question in order to analyze participantsí self-description of their efficacy change.
Results
To explore the main effect of the online professional development session on teacher
efficacy, a paired samples t-test was conducted in each of the three dimensions of teacher
efficacy: Instructional Strategies, Classroom Management, and Student Engagement.
There was a significant difference in scores for pre (M = 7.46, SD = .85) and post
(M = 8.08, SD =.79) scores of instructional strategies; t (147) = -13.92, p = .05.
A significant score difference was found for pre (M = 7.64, SD = .99) and post (M = 8.15,
SD = .83) scores of classroom management; t (147) = -9.57, p < .001. Also, there was a significant difference in scores for pre (M = 7.08, SD = .07) and post (M = 7.90, SD = .07) scores of student engagement (see Table 1). Table 1 Comparisons of Group Means and Standard Deviations for Teacher Efficacy Scale Score Scale TSES_IS TSES_SE TSES_CM Pre M 59.67 56.68 61.09 Post SD 6.82 7.02 7.95 M 64.63 63.22 65.18 SD 6.31 6.46 6.65 Note. IS = Instructional Strategy; SE = Student Engagement; CM = Classroom Management. These results suggest that online professional development education does have a positive effect on teacher efficacy. However, one-way ANOVA analyses revealed no significant differences at p < .05 for all three dimensions of teacher efficacy against the independent variables of sex and grade level they teach. Descriptive Data Analyses Regarding the second research question, there were three emerging themes for teacher efficacy change: professional enhancement, frame of reference change, and learned helpless (see Table 2). Unauthenticated Download Date | 6/29/19 8:12 AM The Effect of Professional Development on Teacher Efficacy and Teachersí.. 89 Table 2 Attribution to Teacher Efficacy Change ñ Themes, and Example Quotes from Participants Definition Theme 1: Professional enhancement Example quotes Teachersí knowledge gain through learning or positive outcomes Theme 2: Frame of reference change Teachersí adjustment of their own judgment or evaluation system Theme 3: Learned helplessness Teachersí repeated unsuccessful or negative experience I love knowing that I can set goals for myself as a learner and a teacher, and meet them. I learned so many concrete strategies about student engagement and have been able to apply them into my instruction throughout my learning. Ö on the first time around I scored myself lower because I was unsure. After learning about all the instructional strategies, I see so many thingsÖ I believe this made me feel more confident in those areas. At the end of my five-week learningÖ I think I was over confident and not truly understanding all that was involved the first week of my learning. In the district I teach, my hands are somewhat tied in regards to curriculum. This may contribute to my studentsí level of engagement to some degree. There is only so much a teacher can do. The first theme, professional enhancement, is characterized as teachersí professional enhancement through knowledge gain or their successful outcomes. Many participants interpreted their increased teacher efficacy as the outcome of their knowledge gain through the online professional development opportunity. During the five weeks, participants were engaged in scholarly article discussion, forming learning communities with their colleagues, and classroom instruction application exercises. Developing a solid foundation of theories and concepts through an online professional development platform seemed to positively affect participantsí efficacy as teachers. Below are some example self-analysis comments under this theme: I did not expect such change [of teacher efficacy]. I really thought as I was completing the questionnaire that my scores would be the same. After I tallied my points, I looked back at my week 1 scores and I have increased in all three areasÖ I believe the reason I feel so good about my teaching abilities is because I feel Iíve been given some very useful information and tools that I can apply in classÖ I love knowing that I can set goals for myself as a learner and a teacher, and meet them. That gives me great satisfaction. ñ Female, middle school teacher with 10 year of teaching experience I believe that the reason the increase [of teacher efficacy] is so high is that I learned so many concrete strategies about student engagement and have been able to apply them into my instruction throughout my learning. ñ Female, middle school teacher with 1 year of teaching experience Another emerging theme, frame of reference change, is characterized as teachersí adjustment of their own judgment or evaluation system, which seems to be associated with experience and knowledge gain. For their teacher efficacy score change, many participants believed that it was due to the fact that their awareness of learning and Unauthenticated Download Date | 6/29/19 8:12 AM 90 Julia H. Yoo teaching has changed over time. It is noteworthy that this frame of reference change was applied to both teacher efficacy increase and decrease. Below is an example selfanalysis comment: My scores went up quite a bit. I believe maybe on the first time around I scored myself lower because I was unsure. After learning about all the instructional strategies, I see so many things. I actually do apply some in my own classroom. I believe this made me feel more confident in those areas. ñ Male, elementary school teacher with 7 year of teaching experience Interestingly, a similar self-analysis of efficacy change was also made from participants to interpret their either same or decreased efficacy. Below are example selfanalysis comments: After looking at my scores from the first week, all my scores have gone down. Maybe I was scoring myself higher than I am or maybe my frame of mind is different... ñ Female, elementary school teacher with 4 year of teaching experience I scored 70 points originally and only 64 points at the end of my five-week learning. I am not sure what factors contributed to the decrease but my scores were lower in each area. I think I was over confident and not truly understanding all that was involved the first week of my learningÖ Usually the more you learn about a concept, the more you realize your deficiencies and I guess this is what happened. ñ Female, elementary school teacher with 20 year of teaching experience Finally, the third emerging theme, learned helpl ... Purchase answer to see full attachment Student has agreed that all tutoring, explanations, and answers provided by the tutor will be used to help in the learning process and in accordance with Studypool's honor code & terms of service. Tags: education professional development teaching techniques teaching strategies Alzahra School online professional development

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