Exploration of New Early Childhood and Elementary Teachers’ Efficacy Based on Collaborative Conversations of Self-Identified Practice Dilemmas Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 19, 2019
Creator
  • Mallous, Ritsa
    • Affiliation: School of Education
Abstract
  • The transition from being a preservice teacher education student to a beginning teacher is a difficult shift centering on conflicts between new teacher beliefs and values and the reality of teaching. It is during this vital career stage, when new teachers are constructing their sense of professional self and beliefs about teaching, that they are most vulnerable and prone to leave the teaching profession. This study investigated new early childhood and elementary teachers' efficacy based on collaborative conversations of their self-identified practice dilemmas from a new teacher support program conducted at a Southeastern University. This issue is a high priority for teacher preparation programs, school districts and new teachers, given that many new teachers feel they lack the confidence and competence to be effective teachers, and our educational system is at a critically low level of retaining these teachers. Through the use of new teacher support groups modeled after a Critical Friends Group protocol, teacher efficacy is explored in early childhood and elementary teachers using Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory and Rotter's Locus of Control as frameworks. Results indicated that several factors affect beginning early childhood and elementary teachers' efficacy. These include school culture, school policies and procedures, parents, students and classroom management, teacher preparation, teacher burnout and staying in the teaching profession. As part of teacher efficacy problem-solving in collaborative conversations, participants offered empathy, ideas and strategies to resolve dilemmas, and helpful advice, which appeared to result in teacher empowerment. Furthermore, participants' updates revealed that many `felt better' and more confident about their daily practice dilemmas, which seemingly led to a higher sense of efficacy. Implications suggest teacher preparation programs could play an important role in fostering the resiliency and persistence that help novice teachers ensure high levels of teacher efficacy and success during their initial years of teaching. Teacher preparation programs should include courses focusing on Bandura's four sources of efficacy complete with practice teaching in challenging settings, so as to prepare teachers for the reality of teaching in diverse areas. Additionally, learning communities and support groups like the program seminars can likely be an avenue to increase efficacy by engaging a network of like-minded teachers in collaborative conversations of challenges they face as beginning teachers. Exploring new teacher efficacy has the potential to inform teacher preparation programs and induction efforts on necessary support systems for new early childhood and elementary teachers to improve their ability, confidence, practice, and student learning, and ultimately to reduce teacher attrition.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Rong, Xue Lan
  • Glazier, Jocelyn
  • Able, Harriet
  • Vernon-Feagans, Lynne
  • Eaker-Rich, Deborah
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2014
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Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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