Teachers' Perceptions of the Sources of Collective Efficacy in an Organizational Environment Conducive to Collective Learning

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Williams, Letitia Marion
Mawhinney, Hanne
Collective teacher efficacy has emerged as a significant predictor of student achievement and is theorized to influence teachers' actions in ways that improve student learning. Bandura's theory of efficacy formation posits that efficacy beliefs are formed from the perception and interpretation of four sources of efficacy. This qualitative study explored the organizational antecedents of collective teacher efficacy, specifically, how the organizational context of the school, conceptualized as a professional learning community (PLC) influenced teachers' perceptions and interpretations of the sources of efficacy. Teachers were interviewed and observed interacting with faculty and administrators. The study found that the PLC conditions shared vision, collective learning, and shared and supportive leadership had the most significant impact on teachers' collective efficacy beliefs. In addition, the student demographic, predominantly minority, low-income students, influenced how teachers conceptualized the teaching task and how they assessed the competence of their colleagues. Individual-level attributes such as years of teaching experience also accounted for differences in teachers' perceptions and interpretations of efficacy sources. Finally, the study found support for the importance of the principal's role in the development of teachers' collective efficacy beliefs.