Novice Teachers' Self-Efficacy in Literacy Instruction
The purpose of this study was to examine if a teacher’s self-efficacy in teaching reading varies according to the type of preparation program in which s/he participated. This study also examined if there are difference in the key components of traditional teacher preparation program and Alternative Certification Program (ACP) and, if so, how the key components are related to the level of teacher self-efficacy in teaching reading. The study focused on novice teachers (less than 2 years of teaching experience) currently teaching reading in kindergarten, first, and second grade in the nation’s seventh largest urban district, Houston Independent School District (HISD). The conceptual premise for this study was Bandura’s (1977) theory of self-efficacy. A teacher’s self-efficacy belief influences how s/he feels, thinks, motivates themselves and behaves when faced with challenges. This study used the Novice Teacher Self-Efficacy in Literacy Instruction Survey (NTSELI), which incorporated items and scales from several surveys, to explore novice teachers’ self-efficacy in teaching reading and those components of their teacher preparation program that were related to their self-efficacy in teaching reading. 104 novice teacher participated in taking the survey. Their responses was collected and analyzed to address the three research questions guiding the study. First, an independent sample t test was conducted to analyze whether there were any significant differences in teachers’ self-efficacy in literacy instruction between teachers prepared in a traditional program and those prepared in an ACP. To examine the relationship between teachers’ self-efficacy and their preparation in literacy instruction a Pearson’s correlation test was conducted. Finally, two independent sample t test was conducted to analyze if differences exist in the key components of traditional (four-year institution) teacher preparation programs and Alternative Certification Programs (ACP). Some of the results of the analyses provided support for the research hypotheses, while other results did not. First, the results suggested that traditional teacher preparation programs offer significantly more coursework and field experiences than ACPs. They also indicated that only field experience was related to teachers’ level of self-efficacy in teaching reading. The results also indicated that there are no significant difference in the level of teacher self-efficacy to teach reading based upon teacher preparation programs. These findings suggest that teacher self-efficacy is not necessarily impacted by the program they attend but more importantly it is influenced by the quantity of field experience during their preparation. Therefore, it would be potentially beneficial for traditional teacher preparation programs and ACP’s to offer field experiences in reading to increase teachers’ self-efficacy, previous to becoming a teacher of record.