Title

Exploring teacher efficacy: Teachers' perceptions of the influence of collaboration and empowerment

Date of Completion

January 2003

Keywords

Education, Administration|Education, Elementary|Education, Educational Psychology

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Teachers' sense of efficacy has proven to be a powerful force in teacher behaviors related to student achievement. Additionally, the construct has been related to academic expectations, effort, persistence, and classroom management. Given the significance of teacher efficacy, personal and organizational factors that may influence it are worthy of investigation. This study examined five elementary teachers' perceptions of personal teaching efficacy, empowerment, and collaboration. Furthermore, relationships among these constructs as perceived by the participants were investigated. ^ The methods used in this research involved case studies with a phenomenologic-type approach. This approach includes the use of intensive, iterative interviews with the five participants to explore these constructs. Participants in this investigation had a minimum of five years of teaching experience in order for them to have had time to develop robust efficacy expectations. The case studies involved participants from two elementary schools in the same middle socioeconomic community in Connecticut. Participants involved in this investigation taught in collaborative and empowered school settings. This was determined by the researcher through the administration of the School Collaboration and Empowerment Checklist. The Checklist was created by the researcher using information from the literature and was completed by the school principals. Due to the phenomenologic-type approach, participants were first interviewed regarding their past experiences with teacher efficacy, empowerment, and collaboration. The second interview focused on their current experiences, and the final interview integrated the previous two in order for participants to bring deeper meaning to how they constructed their perceptions. ^ The teachers in this study identified that the personal characteristics of knowledge and self-confidence contributed to their perceptions of empowerment. Furthermore, organizational opportunities for decision making and high-quality collaboration contributed to their perceptions of empowerment. Teacher efficacy was related to collaboration through the power of shared resources, particularly information and ideas. It was also related to empowerment through the role of self-confidence. The findings of this study indicate that these participants experienced relationships among all of the constructs investigated. ^