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Contribution to Book
Teacher Self-Efficacy of Graduate Teaching Assistants of French
From Thought to Action: Exploring Beliefs and Outcomes in the Foreign Language Program (2007)
  • Nicole A Mills, University of Pennsylvania
  • Heather Allen, University of Miami
Abstract
Teacher efficacy is described as “the extent to which the teacher believes he or she has the capacity to affect student performance” (Berman, McLaughlin, Bass, Pauly, & Zellman, 1977, p. 137). Studies of teacher efficacy have revealed its relation to teachers’ effort (Guskey, 1988; Stein & Wang, 1988), enthusiasm for teaching (Allinder, 1994), goals and persistence (Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, and Hoy, 1998), commitment to students and teaching (Coladarci, 1992; Evans & Tribble, 1986), and teacher effectiveness (Ashton & Webb, 1986; Moore & Esselman, 1992). Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, and Hoy (1998) introduced a new teacher efficacy model that reconciled the conceptions of teaching task and context with self-perceptions of teaching competence. The present study used Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, and Hoy’s Teacher Efficacy model (1998) to create a semi-structured interview in which 11 native and non-native graduate teaching assistants in French were interviewed on their sources of efficacy information (mastery experiences, physiological and emotional cues, vicarious experiences, and verbal persuasion), their analysis of teaching tasks and contexts (considerations of students’ abilities and motivation, instructional strategies, and technology), the assessment of their personal teaching competence, and their goals, effort, and persistence as teachers. This data was triangulated with a language teaching background questionnaire, the teacher assistants’ teaching evaluations by the director of the French language program, and the Tschannen-Moran and Hoy (2001) Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale. Results of this study describe the relationship between sources of teacher efficacy information and language teaching beliefs and practices in native and non-native French teacher assistants. Preliminary results reveal that overall the teaching assistants possessed a moderately high level of teacher efficacy (M=7.1 of a possible 9 points). Perceptions of teacher efficacy were linked a variety of sources including positive feedback about their language teaching, teacher training programs, varied contacts in their teacher support system, and teacher observations. In reference to school context variables, the teaching assistants unanimously claimed to feel “well-supported” by the institution, professors, peers, and advisors. Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk-Hoy, and Hoy (1998) claim collective beliefs or collective efficacy to be linked to group performance; therefore, the supportive context of the institution may have positively impacted the efficacy and performance of the teaching assistants of French. Moreover, overall the teaching assistants were aware of the contextuality of the teaching task, specifically as it related to language and literature teaching. They claimed moderately high perceived levels of competence when teaching language, however, expressed feelings of insecurity or inability about their competence to teach literature professedly due to their inexperience with that particular teaching task. Moreover, linguistic proficiency as it related to the native and non-native status of the teaching assistants appeared to influence perceptions of teacher efficacy, with non-native speakers often perceiving themselves as less competent. This manuscript incorporates more detailed study results and discussion of strategies to enhance teacher efficacy among teaching assistants.
Disciplines
Publication Date
2007
Editor
Jay Siskin
Publisher
Heinle & Heinle
Series
AAUSC Annual Volumes
Citation Information
Nicole A Mills and Heather Allen. "Teacher Self-Efficacy of Graduate Teaching Assistants of French" BostonFrom Thought to Action: Exploring Beliefs and Outcomes in the Foreign Language Program (2007)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/nicole_mills/9/