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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Teacher efficacy : its relationship to school level organizational conditions and teacher demographic characteristics Cavers, Lloyd


This empirical study explored the relationship between teacher efficacy and each of school level organizational conditions and teacher demographic characteristics in order to provide information which could be used in school improvement planning. Teacher efficacy, the extent to which teachers believe they have the capacity to affect student performance, has two components as defined in this study: teaching efficacy, and personal teaching efficacy. Teaching efficacy, considered to be a general measure of teacher efficacy, describes the teacher's belief in the ability of teachers, as a group, to influence learning. Personal teaching efficacy, considered to be the more specific and important measure of the two, describes the belief that the individual teacher has the skills and abilities to bring about student learning. The teacher's sense of personal teaching efficacy is believed to have the most potential for affecting the teacher's motivation and future behaviour. A teacher's sense of efficacy is believed to be affected by several variables including school level organizational conditions and teacher demographic characteristics. Nine school level organizational conditions and five teacher demographic characteristics were selected for study from the literature because they had been positively related to good schools. A volunteer sample of 339 school-based teachers in one Alberta school district were surveyed and the principal of each of 15 schools was interviewed. Quantitative analyses were used with the teacher as the unit of analysis; these findings were verified and amplified using a qualitative analysis with the school as the unit of analysis. The main conclusions were: (1) teacher sex and teaching grade level were significantly related to teacher efficacy, while teacher age and experience were not; and (2) teachers' perceptions of student behaviour and horizontal communication were significantly related to teacher efficacy. The study suggests seven implications for school administrators and others interested in enhancing teachers' sense of efficacy. These include: (1) providing opportunities for teachers to discuss instruction-related topics; and (2) implementing a school discipline policy aimed at improving student behaviour. Ten implications for further research include the consideration of a secondary school focus and also the use of research methods with the potential to establish a causal relationship between teacher efficacy and school level organizational conditions.

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