Pre-service Teachers and Self-Efficacy: A Study in Contrast

Abstract

With increased emphasis on student achievement in schools, teacher education programs are challenged to meet the demand for highly effective teachers. Ensuring that pre-service teachers feel confident in their ability to teach, prompted one Midwestern University to implement an extended student teaching placement. The idea behind this endeavor was two fold; first to provide future teachers a more robust and diverse classroom experience; and secondly to provide more opportunities for students to get experience in high-risk school settings. There is very limited research on the impact of year-long student teaching on a teacher’s sense of efficacy. The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of teacher candidates placed in a year-long student teaching placement to teacher candidates placed in a traditional one semester (16 week) placement. All teacher candidates completed a 24 question Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale as well as nine demographic questions. The survey developed at Ohio State University by Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk Hoy (2001), measures teacher attitudes towards working with students, student engagement, instructional practices, and classroom management. Specifically, the questions represent essential tasks in teaching such as assessment, differentiating lessons for individual students, dealing with students with learning challenges, repairing student understanding, and encouraging student engagement and interest. The results of the study indicated that pre-service teacher candidates in a year-long student teaching placement were more satisfied with their ability to engage students and manage classroom behavior than their counterparts in a traditional one semester placement.

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