Title

Preservice elementary teachers' self-efficacy: A single group study of the effects of an integrated methods course

Date of Completion

January 1994

Keywords

Education, Teacher Training

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The need for reform in science education has been demonstrated by an overall decline in science proficiency and interest among American students (Muller & Jenkins, 1988). Gibson and Dembo (1984) suggested that self-efficacy played a major role in teacher behavior and that teacher self-efficacy was consistently related to student achievement. Using social learning theory as the foundation, Bandura (1982) defined self-efficacy as judgments of how well one can execute courses of action required to deal with prospective situations.^ The purpose of this research was to ascertain the effects of a discipline-integrated, elementary methods course on the science teaching self-efficacy of preservice teachers. Seventh semester education majors enrolled in the integrated science/mathematics/social studies elementary methods course at The University of Connecticut during the Fall semester of 1993 participated in the study. The Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument-Form B (Enochs & Riggs, 1990) was administered as a pre- and posttest. Data were analyzed by means of a 2 $\times$ 2 factorial ANOVA and paired and independent t-tests to determine the effects of the integrated methods course on preservice teachers.^ Quantitative data was supported by qualitative data collected by means of student interviews, science autobiographies, and the researcher's reflective journal. Results on the self-efficacy scale revealed significant differences between the low-group pretest scores and the low-group posttest scores as well as between the high group pretest scores and the high group posttest scores. In contrast, an analysis of the outcome expectancy scale data revealed no significant differences between the low-group pretest scores and the low-group posttest scores as well as between the high group pretest scores and the high group posttest scores. A significant main effect for group was demonstrated on the outcome expectancy scale and a significant within-subject main effect was shown on the self-efficacy scale. The qualitative findings of the study were used to further clarify the quantitative results.^ A major conclusion of this study was that discipline-integration is an effective method for preparing elementary school teachers. This study will be useful to better meet the needs of preservice elementary teachers and will provide a foundation for researchers attempting to apply discipline-integration to teacher education programs. ^