Mediational Effects of Classroom Management on Teacher Self-Efficacy and Teaching Effectiveness
Background: Highly effective teachers have been shown to be the single most important school-based factor impacting student achievement. Despite this well-established relationship, it is still not clear why some teachers are better than others. Common and easy-to-measure characteristics like age, class size, post-baccalaureate coursework, professional degrees, professional exams, specialized certification, and participation in continued professional development have shown minimal to no significant impact on student achievement. Research on teacher’s attitudes and beliefs in defining teacher quality has found mixed, but promising results for its relationship to self-efficacy. However, while self-efficacy and certain classroom practices have shown significant relations, self-efficacy has failed to yield significant correlations with teacher quality overall. Furthermore, few studies have explored potential mediating variables that impact the relationship between teacher self-efficacy (TSE) and teacher quality. One promising variable is classroom management, which has been cited as a foundational component of quality teaching and one that is typically skillfully practiced by teachers with high self-efficacy for teaching. Purpose: The present study investigated whether teachers’ classroom management mediates the relationship between perceived teacher self-efficacy (TSE) and teachers’ teaching effectiveness (TE). The study hypotheses are that (1) TSE will directly predict TE, (2) TSE will directly predict classroom management, and (3) TSE will have an indirect impact on TE via classroom management. Hypotheses were investigated with two different operationalizations of classroom management and TE (i.e., self and observer reports), resulting in four mediation models. Methods: Archival data was utilized from a three-year study that used mixed methods (e.g. self-report, archival records, ecological momentary assessment, and observational ratings) to assess teacher stress and its relationship to TE and student behavior. Participants were 202 6th-8th grade teachers from two urban school districts. Four multilevel path models were fit to examine if classroom management mediates the relationship between TSE predicting TE. Data are nested within teacher across time. Results: Partial support was found for all three hypotheses among the four models. TSE directly predicted both self-reported TE and classroom management. TSE did not predict observer-reported TE and classroom management. Regarding the third hypothesis, the two models based on self-report provided support for the indirect relationship of TSE on TE when classroom management was self-reported. Additionally, in each of the four model’s, classroom management, whether self- or observer-reported always significantly predicted self- and observer ratings of TE.