Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency

Why develop teacher efficacy?

In 1993, Albert Bandura released a groundbreaking study on collective teacher efficacy that many studies since then have replicated Bandura’s initial conclusions: 

  1. Student achievement is significantly and positively related to collective teacher efficacy.
  2. Collective teacher efficacy has a greater effect on student achievement than socio-economic status.

Teachers with low efficacy cannot initiate new strategies...
Peter Dewitt, author of Collaborative Leadership, Six Influences that Matter Most,  shares  research from Ashton and Webb that states, “Teachers with low teaching efficacy don’t feel that teachers, in general, can make much of a difference in the lives of students, while teachers with low personal teaching efficacy don’t feel that they, personally, affect the lives of the students”.  According to Dewitt, teachers with low self-efficacy regarding practices such as scaffolding, classroom management, etc. cannot initiate new strategies. Dewitt provides advice from  Tom Guskey that can support growing a teacher’s self-efficacy. Guskey suggests that , “within any new strategy that teachers are being asked to implement, there MUST be a built-in mechanism whereby teachers gain EVIDENCE THAT THEY TRUST that shows the strategy is making a difference for THEIR STUDENTS in THEIR CLASSROOMS. Equally important, they must gain that evidence rather quickly -- within weeks, not months!”

Teachers with high efficacy can impact student learning...
Self-efficacy has a .63 effect size and teacher collective efficacy has an effect size of 1.57, well beyond the .40 effect size that equates to one year of student growth with one year of input, according to John Hattie, author of Visible Learning. To empower teacher collective efficacy, teachers need scheduled and consistent  time to collaborate about how to hone their craft based on student needs. Collaboration can take place in a PLC or one-on-one coaching.

How are teacher leaders supporting growth in teacher efficacy?
Survey results published by the American Institute for Research regarding the evaluation of the TLC Program provides districts with the percent of teachers who agree somewhat or strongly agree to the questions below.

Teacher leaders at my school…

  • have helped me improve my instruction.
  • helped increase student achievement.
  • have helped promote collaboration.

Might an analysis of teacher responses to these three questions  provide fruitful insights for teacher leaders about the impact they are having with growing teacher efficacy and what else needs to be done?

How might Tom Guskey’s suggestion above support teacher leaders in identifying what else needs to be done; that is, what evidence do teachers trust and how quickly are teachers seeing this evidence?

What motivates teachers to collaborate and learn from each other?
Scott Geller shares the psychology of motivation in this Ted Talk. Taking 15 minutes to hear his message provides insights into what is needed for teacher collaboration that impacts student learning.

Please contact Jaymie Randel,, for a collaborative conversation regarding the content of this article. 



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