Teachers' Perceptions of Ability: Measuring Teacher Efficacy for Instructing the ESOL Student
Advisor:Woolfolk Hoy, Anita
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Series/Report no.:2008 Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum. 22nd
This study seeks to develop a valid and reliable measure of teacher efficacy as it pertains to English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction. The timing for such an instrument is apropos. As the proportion of language minority students grows, a better understanding of the role that teacher beliefs play in meeting their academic needs becomes crucial. Minority groups are expected to account for nearly 50% of the U.S. population by 2040 with significant increases expected from individuals emigrating from regions where English is not the native language (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2004a, 2004b). Unfortunately, there is currently a significant disparity between the academic outcomes of non-Hispanic Whites and some minority groups (Kao & Thompson, 2003). Clearly, there is need to have a better understanding of these students and their teachers if these needs are to be met. One way to better understand these students is through the lens of teacher self-efficacy. Teacher self-efficacy refers to a teacher’s belief in her or his ability to bring about student engagement and learning outcomes—even when the students are challenging (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001). A teacher’s sense of efficacy is “one of the few individual teacher characteristics that reliably predicts teacher practice and student outcomes” (Ross, Cousins, & Gadalla, 1996, p. 385). However, teacher efficacy is domain specific. ESL students present a unique set of challenges to overcome. Therefore, a valid measure of a teacher’s sense of efficacy to bring about desired outcomes with ESL students will tap into the specificity of this domain. Methods The Self-Efficacy for Teaching English as a Second or Other Language (SETESOL) scale was developed to fill this gap. The SETESOL was based on the Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES) (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001). All items from the TSES were modified so that participants would be primed to consider tasks in relation to ESL students. Additional items were constructed to tap into tasks specific to TESOL (c.f. Hall & Verplaeste, 2000; Norton Pierce, 1995) resulting in 46 items. Items were further modified in response to recommendations from scholars of educational psychology. In all, 46 items were constructed, plus 15 questions to obtain demographic information. Ninety-two, primarily white female participants from four teacher education programs from a large Midwestern university completed the SETESOL. Findings A correlational analysis was performed showing that items had a strong correlation to one another (α > .8). An exploratory factor analysis, principal components with varimax rotation was performed indicating the presence of six factors: instruction, classroom management, motivation, conveying of expectations, creating a cohesive environment, and empowerment. Implications A self-efficacy measure specific to the domain of ESL education would enable researchers to explore areas related to cultural and linguistic differences between teachers and students and the relationships between beliefs and the instructional, student engagement, and classroom practices that teachers implement. The SETESOL is a step in that direction.
Education: 3rd Place (The Ohio State University Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum)
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