Doctor of Philosophy
Dr. Jacqueline Specht
Having a strong sense of self-efficacy for teaching has been shown to be associated with numerous positive benefits for both teachers and the students that they teach. As such, researchers have been interested in identifying factors and experiences that contribute to a strong sense of self-efficacy for teaching. However, very few studies have investigated these factors qualitatively and even fewer have compared the experiences of pre-service and early career teachers. This study examines the life experiences of pre-service and early career teachers, and how these experiences contribute to their self-efficacy for teaching within inclusive classrooms. Forty-nine pre-service and 86 early career teachers were interviewed and asked about their confidence for teaching within inclusive classrooms. Interviews were coded and analyzed using thematic analysis. The experiences which contributed to participants’ self-efficacy fell into three themes: 1: Practical, hands-on teaching experiences, such as directly teaching within a classroom, 2: theoretical learning and professional development such as the coursework taken within faculties of education, and 3: Past experiences such as previously worked jobs. Implications for both faculties of education and school administration, as well as how these experiences fit within the larger theory of self-efficacy are discussed.
Summary for Lay Audience
Teachers who believe in their own abilities to bring about desired outcomes within classrooms tend to provide higher quality lessons, experience less stress while teaching, and are less likely to burn out and leave the teaching profession. This sense of belief is called self-efficacy. This study explored the experiences which contributed to pre-service and early career teachers’ sense of self-efficacy for teaching within inclusive classrooms. Pre-service and early career teachers were interviewed and asked to describe the experiences which contributed to their levels of confidence for teaching within inclusive classrooms. These interviews were analyzed, and three broad categories of experiences emerged. The first category included hands-on, direct experiences such as directly teaching within classrooms. Both pre-service and early career teachers routinely described that the most significant contributors to their confidence was actually teaching within inclusive classrooms.
The second category included more hands-off, theoretical experiences such as coursework and professional development opportunities. These experiences were described less favourably, and were often seen as being too theoretical or as having too few opportunities to practice what was being learned. The third and final category included experiences which occurred before teachers’ entered their faculties of education. These included previously worked jobs, and personal experiences with diverse learners. The largest of its kind to date, this study tells a rich story of the experiences that contribute to the self-efficacy for teaching within inclusive classrooms of Canadian pre-service and early career teachers.
Charles, Evan, "Factors that contribute to Teachers' Self-Efficacy for Inclusive Teaching: :A Thematic Analysis" (2023). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 9764.