Winter 2005     ISSN 1096-1453     Volume 9, Issue 4     Editorial (1)
Teachersí Self-Efficacy 
Why is it important to study teachersí self-efficacy?  Self-efficacy beliefs have 
been studied in teacher education, studentsí academic achievement, mental health, 
counseling, and sports, among other areas.  Many attribute this widely studied 
construct to Bandura, who defined self-efficacy as personal judgments of oneís 
capabilities to perform tasks at designated levels.  The conceptual focus of 
research on teachersí self-efficacy is derived from Banduraís (1997) social 
cognitive theory.  Stemming from Banduraís (1997) theoretical model of 
self-efficacy, various aspects of the teachersí self-efficacy construct have 
been examined in the articles featured in this issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly.  
These studies, as well as prior research, consistently show that teachers with 
higher self-efficacy are more likely to be effective in their classrooms by 
exhibiting enthusiasm for teaching, being open to studentsí ideas, using innovative 
instrumental methods that reflect their instruction, and motivating students to 
learn.  

These articles span international research in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, and 
Turkey as well as throughout the U.S.  They employ both quantitative and qualitative 
approaches and offer reviews of the literature on teachersí self-efficacy.  Kang and 
Neitzel, for example, conducted a literature review on empirical studies of teacher 
efficacy, focusing on a conceptual model and the constructís relationship with 
various personal and contextual variables.  This review offers a helpful background 
for understanding teachersí self-efficacy.  

The topic of mentor teachers is presented in several articles through the 
self-efficacy lens, particularly given the importance of mentoring novice teachers, 
professional development, and strengthening teachersí self-efficacy to address 
teacher retention.  In this light, Hall et al.ís validation and reliability testing 
of a self-efficacy measure focuses on its relevance to mentor teachers.  Ward 
articulates how her three-year university- and school-based partnership project 
impacted beginning teachersí efficacy during their early years of teaching.  Gulla 
also examined mentoring teachersí self-efficacy beliefs in her story-sharing study, 
documenting how novice teachers who heard mentor teachersí stories developed 
self-efficacy and improved their instruction.  Similarly, Saffold found that as 
mentoring teachers interacted with novice teachers in an urban setting, their own 
self-efficacy was strengthened.  

To better understand how teachers develop self-efficacy beliefs, a few studies here 
focused on preservice teachers and the sources that influence those beliefs.  
Specifically, Szabo, Bailey, and Ward studied two sources of efficacy (vicarious 
experience and verbal persuasion) that contributed to developing preservice teachersí 
self-efficacy beliefs.  Also examining sources were Aydin and Woolfolk, who found 
that preservice teachersí self-efficacy was related to positive relationships with 
mentors and teaching support.  Other important related sources were preservice 
teachersí self-regulation of time and study environment strategies, and their efforts 
exerted in studying, as Chen and Bembenutty demonstrated.

A range of content areas was featured throughout these studies.  Kim and Choy found 
that preservice teachers with greater content and pedagogical knowledge of music were 
more efficacious than those teachers without.  Similarly, in the sciences, Sarikaya, 
Cakiroglu, and Tekkaya found that preservice teachers with a higher science knowledge 
level and positive attitudes toward science teaching contributed to their efficacy 
beliefs.  In Mayís study, preservice teachers with higher science teaching efficacy 
were more knowledgeable about engaging with students and implementing activities, 
while in mathematics, Isiksal and Cakiroglu investigated preservice teachersí gender 
and course grades on math teaching self-efficacy, but found no significant 
differences.  Finally, in language and reading acquisition, Haverback and Parault, 
who compared two groups of preservice reading teachers, found that tutors reading 
to elementary school children did not significantly change their self-efficacy, 
compared to those without this experience.

In sum, these and the other articles on self-efficacy featured in this issue of AEQ 
are unique in their approaches to examining important and understudied issues in 
teachersí self-efficacy.  By working with in-service, preservice, and mentoring 
teachers; sources contributing to teachersí self-efficacy beliefs; and various 
settings, contexts (e.g., urban schools, teacher education programs, field sites), 
and content areas, these studies constitute a spectrum of practical research 
dedicated to understanding teachersí self-efficacy.
Dr. Peggy P. Chen, Assistant Professor
Hunter College, CUNY

CFP for the next Teacher Efficacy issue, Fall 2006.
See Index to all published articles.