Teacher Self-efficacy

Publicerat 14 juni 2017

When writing this blog about the concept of ‘Teacher Self-Efficacy’ I am aware the title may scare off some readers from even making it to the introduction. However, if you do make it to the intro or are one of the few that make it to the end of the page I am sure you will find some connections with social learning theory and the field of education. In addition you will identify people you have worked with who have high-levels of teacher self-efficacy and wonder how do they do it?

Much has been written about Bandura’s social learning theory and its key concept of self-efficacy. Social learning theory proposes that individuals possess a self-evaluation system that allows them to exercise some control over their thoughts, feelings and actions. These self-evaluations help to determine how much effort an individual will invest in a particular activity, how long they will persevere even when confronting difficulties and how resilient they might be (Bandura,1986). Bandura further proposed that self-efficacy refers to an individual’s perceived ability to organise, and execute an action to perform a specific task. He further identifies that individuals with high self-efficacy promote positive perceptions of their own capabilities, usually set challenging goals for themselves, and strive to achieve this by sustained effort. Whereas, individuals with low self-efficacy will often give up on activities they perceive as difficult or challenging.


I believe this links in with people having internal locus of control where people believe they can control and influence the world around them. Whereas someone with external locus of control believes that outside influences will determine their fate. To put it simply if you wanted a million dollars someone with internal locus of control would develop a plan on how to save or invest the money to reach that target. Whereas, someone with external locus of control would buy a lotto ticket and hope the Gods are on their side. Self-Efficacy is much greater than just having confidence in one’s own abilities. I believe that people with high levels of self-efficacy are using some performance psychology constructs (even if they don’t know it), where they have a detailed level of self-knowledge and are able to adapt their skills and abilities to the needs of the environment they are working in to create success (My next blog I will talk more about the dark arts of performance psychology).

Self-efficacy beliefs may be strong indicators of performance. I have worked with many strong teachers who have high levels of teacher self-efficacy. In relation to teaching performance, a teacher’s self-efficacy refers to their ability to influence student outcomes regardless of the classes they teach. Accordingly, some levels of teacher self-efficacy may decrease if teachers believe that external factors, such as, perceived student’s abilities, socio-economic disadvantage, or poor home environments are defining or influencing factors.
Teachers with high levels of self-efficacy are better able to cope with difficulties, stress, and are more willing to accept and cope with change and adapt to new approaches when required. Teaching performance can also be enhanced by a concept known as, collective teacher-efficacy. This is when teachers perceive that groups, such as departments or teams within the school can positively influence outcomes for students.

On the flip-side it is believed that teachers with low levels of teacher-efficacy experience greater levels of stress, will likely be disengaged and are at greater risk of burnout or leaving the profession. In relation to education, teacher efficacy is a key to professional growth, development and improved performance. Therefore, experiences and strengthening a teacher’s level of efficacy are vitally important. If the goal of self-efficacy is to develop a mastery level at something then performance psychology might be the answer to help teachers achieve it. Stay tuned for the next instalment on performance psychology.

There are a range of articles on self-efficacy and teacher self-efficacy and for those really interested may even seek out one of the self-assessment teacher self-efficacy scales.

Please feel free to share any of your stories or experiences with people who display high levels of teacher self-efficacy and how they have positively impacted their students and colleagues.

Take care

Cj Bradley

Reference List
Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought in action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall

Om skribenten:

Hello fellow Educators,

My name is CJ Bradley and I am a passionate educator who works in Queensland Australia. My background is that I have worked as a Teacher, Guidance Counsellor, School Principal. I am currently working as an Assistant Principal in a large Secondary College.