Exploring the Relationships of Teachers' Efficacy, Knowledge, and Pedagogical Beliefs: A Multimethod Study

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2003-11-21

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Teacher efficacy has been related to many positive educational outcomes (e.g., Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk-Hoy, & Hoy, 1998). However, a literature review revealed little research assessing the relation of teacher efficacy to pedagogical knowledge or pedagogical beliefs. This work explored the relations among these constructs. A proposed model was tested in which efficacy served as a mediator between teachers' demonstrated knowledge, pedagogical beliefs, and performance.

One hundred-twenty preservice and 102 experienced teachers completed a test packet that assessed demographic information, knowledge, efficacy, beliefs, and teachers' ability to assess common instructional situations. Three experienced high-knowledge teachers with differing efficacy levels participated in in-depth interviews for instrumental case study analysis.

Correlational analyses demonstrated a significant relation for pedagogical beliefs and efficacy. The data for preservice and experienced teachers was fit to the proposed model and analyzed by path analysis. The resulting models differed for each group. Preservice teachers' knowledge related directly to performance, and did not relate to efficacy. Beliefs related to performance as well as efficacy. Experienced teachers' knowledge and beliefs related to teacher efficacy. However, efficacy was not related to performance. The relation between demonstrated knowledge and teacher efficacy was negative in nature, indicating that teachers with greater demonstrated knowledge tended to have a lower sense of efficacy.

Case study analysis revealed a tendency in these teachers to verbalize efficacy beliefs as explanations for not engaging in particular teaching practices. Teacher beliefs also emerged as a common theme in the case studies, specifically beliefs about the nature and evaluation of teaching.

This investigation confirmed the need to further explore the relations of teachers' knowledge, pedagogical beliefs, and efficacy. Of particular interest are the beliefs teachers hold about the value of pedagogical knowledge, the nature of teaching, and the knowledge content (e.g., subject matter) that is most essential for successful teaching. Future studies should explore in greater depth the interrelations of these constructs.

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