Scholarly article on topic 'Professional Self-efficacy of Students in the Field of Teaching'

Professional Self-efficacy of Students in the Field of Teaching Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Yveta Pecháčková, Monika Drahokoupilová, Michaela Krámová

Abstract The topic of this paper is a research of professional self-efficacy of student teachers in relation to future parents of their children and pupils. Our goal is to provide the insight into the issue in conditions of preparation of teaching profession at Faculty of Education in Hradec Králové, Czech Republic. It is a quantitative survey, which used a questionnaire entitled: Self-efficacy of teachers to work with parents, by Majerčíková, J. and Gavora, P. The questionnaire contains 24 scale items in five dimensions: the ability to inform of a child's well-being, explain the functioning of a school as an organisation, advise parents in education, be transparent to parents and to convince parents to support the school. The research of professional self-efficacy does not reflect actual abilities of surveyed students but their subjective idea. This article presents pilot research results.

Academic research paper on topic "Professional Self-efficacy of Students in the Field of Teaching"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 171 (2015) 680 - 685

ICEEPSY 2014

Professional self-efficacy of students in the field of teaching

Yveta Pechäckoväa*, Monika Drahokoupiloväa, Michaela Krämoväa

*Department of Primary and Pre-Primary Education, University of Hradec Krälove, Rokitanskeho 62, Hradec Krälove 500 03, Czech Republic

Abstract

The topic of this paper is a research of professional self-efficacy of student teachers in relation to future parents of their children and pupils. Our goal is to provide the insight into the issue in conditions of preparation of teaching profession at Faculty of Education in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. It is a quantitative survey, which used a questionnaire entitled: Self-efficacy of teachers to work with parents, by Majercikova, J. and Gavora, P. The questionnaire contains 24 scale items in five dimensions: the ability to inform of a child's well-being, explain the functioning of a school as an organisation, advise parents in education, be transparent to parents and to convince parents to support the school. The research of professional self-efficacy does not reflect actual abilities of surveyed students but their subjective idea. This article presents pilot research results.

© 2015PublishedbyElsevier Ltd. This is anopenaccessarticleunderthe CCBY-NC-NDlicense (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-reviewunderresponsibilityofthe Organizing Committeeof ICEEPSY2014. Keywords: Self-efficacy; co-operation with parents; future teachers.

1. Introduction

The theme of the presented article are results of a pilot study, which surveyed professional self-efficacy of student teachers (specifically a three year bachelor course of Pre-primary Teaching at Pre-schools), in relation to future parents of their children. The aim was to map professional self-efficacy - cooperate with parents - on students of the

Corresponding author. Yveta Pechackova. Tel.: +4-204-933-31369; fax: +4-204-933-1313. E-mail address: yveta.pechackova@uhk.cz

1877-0428 © 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of the Organizing Committee of ICEEPSY 2014. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.01.177

final year of Teaching programmes for Pre-school at Faculty of Education in Hradec Kralove (in the Czech Republic) and to provide the insight on this issue in conditions of preparation for a teaching profession. The result of university preparation of future teachers should be a professionally educated personality but also a mature individual personality who is prepared also in communicative, attitude and opinion way. Its personal maturity is subsequently reflected in appropriate communication and co-operation with parents, a paediatrician, a psychologist and other experts with whom he/she can meet during profession. Student teachers learn how to plan, project, educate, communicate during their course, but not always we do not take into account the parents of children. The professionality in this field is developed implicitly during the studies, obtaining personal and a practical experience is undoubtedly influenced by the effort, motivation and professional preferences of the student teacher. As reported Bartosova (2009), the students' qualitative input parameters are also important.

Necessary presuppositions of the performance of the teaching profession are professional competences which the student teacher gains during his/her studies. It is relatively complicated set of competences that are based on knowledge, skills and attitudes, which are interdependent. The school graduate is not simply "the product" but its development is influenced by a variety of other factors, as the family, inheritance, social climate and local environment (Havlik, Kot'a, 2007), which are social determinants, that should be considered while assessment of the teacher's professionality.

2. Theoretical background

The author of the term self-efficacy is American psychologist Albert Bandura (1994, In Majercikova, 2012), who defines it as one's belief in one's ability to organize and perform activities which lead towards the results. It expresses the reviews of own; one's expressed potentialities for the performance of certain activities and is created on the base of authentic experience, mediated experience and belief. Within the framework of bachelor and master studies the future teachers of pre-schools and primary schools intensively build up their professional self-efficacy. The student gains professional knowledge, within the practical training develops its educational skills, verifies educational procedures, communication strategies and stabilizes attitudes towards educational reality and creates its own teaching philosophy.

The teacher's self-concept plays a big role on the success of a teaching profession as obtained professional competence. Blatny (1993, p. 446) defines the self-concept as mental presentation which is created during the process of individual's interaction mainly with social environment. The teacher's self-concept presents an idea or a feeling that the professional activity can be managed on a certain level. It is therefore a certain degree of self-esteem that is determined by the ability to reflect oneself and perceive the feedback of one's surroundings. Positive evaluation induces positive perception of oneself (as negative evaluation induces negative perception) and this mechanism works also in teaching preparation where next to the quality and effective professional preparation should be created positive and supporting background towards the development of professional self-concept.

Research by Hoover-Dempsey et al. (2002) with the title Teacher Beliefs About Parent Involvement detected the teachers' beliefs about the importance of co-operation with parents. Under the direction of Hoover-Dempsey there were made extensive researches at Vanderbilt University in the USA in the field of relations between school, a teacher and parents and already in the 90's of the 20th century (Hoover- Dempsey et al., 1992; 2002). The basic findings give evidence that teachers who are more involved as teachers and furthermore they expend more effort in engaging parents into co-operation is positively evaluated. The research presented under the title Family Involvement Teacher Efficacy Scale by D. C. Garcia (2004) brought similar results. It investigated statements of teachers in the issue of co-operation with parents whereas it was based on the typology by Epstein (6 types of theoretical Framework of parental engagement, Epstein, 2010). Furthermore the survey was involved in finding the frequency of using individual forms of co-operation of teachers with parents. Relations between personal teacher's beliefs to co-operate with parents and frequency of his/her co-operation with parents were positive. The research sample presented teachers of primary education from American state Florida. The results showed the fact that teacher's professional self-efficacy is actually an ability of the teacher to pay attention, deployment and effort in this issue (Gavora, In Majercikova 2012). In the recent years in Slovakia Gavora, Wiegerova and Ficova have been involved in the topic of professional self-efficacy (Gavora, 2011, Wiegerova, Ficova, 2012, In Majercikova, 2012). In research of P. Gavora there was made an adaptation of questionnaires TES (Teacher Efficacy Scale, authors

Gibson and Dembu) and OSTES (Ohio State Teacher Efficacy Scale, authors Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk, Hoy) in Slovakian educational environment (In Majercikova, 2012, p. 30). Apart from research of dimension of potentiality of teaching perceived by the teacher there were identified relations between the perceived teacher's self-efficacy and gender, the grade of the school and the length of pedagogical practice. It was found that professional self-efficacy of teachers is on a good level (teachers scored above the central value of the six point scale or nine point scale range).

3. Method

3.1 The research objectives

The objective of quantitative survey is to find out what is the perceived professional self-efficacy of students of teaching programme (Teaching in kindergartens and Teaching of the 1st grade of Primary school) to co-operate with parents. In this pilot phase of the research we present only the perceived professional self-efficacy of female student teachers of full-time study programme of the field Teaching for kindergartens. In the next phase of the research we would be interested if differences exist between the levels of professional self-efficacy of students depending on their level of teaching preparation. Finally, we would find out if there are differences between the levels of professional self-efficacy of students depending on the form of study (a full-time or a part-time form).

Specification of the pilot study objectives:

To find out the perceived professional self- efficacy at female student teachers of full-time study programme of Teaching for kindergartens and to co-operate with parents (by the analysis of questionnaire results: Self-efficacy of teachers to co-operate with parents - based on five dimensions).

3.2 The research methodology

Within the Framework of the survey there was used a questionnaire by Majercikova, J. and Gavora, P. with the title "Self-efficacy of teachers to co-operate with parents":

The questionnaire contains of 24 scale items, which are divided into five dimensions:

1. The ability to inform of child's well-being

2. The ability to explain the functioning of a school as an organization

3. The ability to advise parents in education

4. The ability to be transparent to parents

5. The ability to convince parents to support the school

The five point scale at all items allowed the answers in the range of 0 (no abilities) to 5 (great ability).

3.3 The research group

In this pilot study we present results collected from 32 female student teachers of full-time study programme Teaching for kindergartens (at Faculty of Education in Hradec Kralove). Specifically there were student teachers of the third year of the full-time study programme. The questionnaires were distributed at the end of the last term, i.e. before the completion of bachelor studies.

4. Results

During results processing we made a primary analysis of obtained data. Table 1. presents given arithmetical means of five dimensions. Individual dimensions are arranged according to decreasing values of arithmetic mean.

Table 1. Arithmetic mean of individual dimensions

Dimensions Arithmetic mean

Ability to inform of a child's well-being 3,64

Ability to explain the functioning of a school or an organization 3,43

Ability to be transparent to parents 3,17

Ability to advise parents in matters of education in the family 3,05

Ability to convince parents to support the school 2,98

From the Table 1. is clear that the differences between achieved average values in individual dimensions are not high, however the best self-evaluation of the students' abilities is perceived in activities that involve the giving information to parents about the child's well-being (3,64). This dimension is saturated by five items, which concern informing what is the child's relations with other kids, if the child is doing well, what is his/her behaviour and how he/she feels in the kindergarten. This result is not surprising, because informing parents belongs to the basic duty of the teacher towards parents, what is probably perceived by students as the basic professional competence. In the kindergarten it is practically an everyday activity, that is done in direct communication "Face to Face" a teacher with a parent.

The second highest average value was found at the ability to explain the functioning of the school as an organization (3,43). This dimension presents the clarification of how different school bodies work, how the money from parents is treated or how the school kitchen operates. Addressed students evaluate their abilities in the area well, whereas the most self-efficated ones feel while clarification of how the school kitchen operates and the least when clarifying the functioning of various school authorities (e.g. activities of parents' boards). Presumably the students have certain experience from their trainings, where they meet sufficient information about common operations (e.g. a kitchen), less informed with the information about existing school governing bodies. It would be interesting to follow the fact if there are any found differences in comparison with the students of Master studies, who have within the Framework of their study at our university so called master training where they closely meet the management and operation of a nursery school.

The third activity where the students have confidence is the ability to be transparent to parents (3,17). This dimension is saturated by these items: to present the results of children; to create enough opportunities in order that parents could see what they are interested in; to accept the presence of the parent in learning, anytime s/he wants to be; to accept the parent in the classroom, even if disturbs its atmosphere. In these activities there is the observation of the real life of the school and non-formal meetings take place, according to Bulla (Bull, 1989, In Majercíková, 2012) they present the key point for building up the partnership between the school and the parents. There would be interesting to observe how this ability will be perceived by practicing teachers, who are in everyday contact with the parents and to what extent would they perceive their willing to accept the wish of parents or their presence in the classroom.

The next item deals with the ability of students to advise parents in questions of the child's education in the family (3,05). These abilities belong to this area: an explanation to parents how they should build up a healthy self-esteem of the child; suggest parents the ways of solving of educational issues of the child; clarify the consequences of inadequate upbringing in the family; explain in what better way is to influence the behaviour of their child. The surveyed students feel the most self-efficacy in the explanation, how to build up healthy self-esteem of children and how to solve educational issues of children. The least self-efficacy is perceived on the level of explanation of inappropriate family upbringing. The students are within the Framework of the study introduced with educational and psychological disciplines that cover sufficient theoretical principle and should be able to provide basic professional counselling. This professionality is currently expected for university graduate teachers from parental public. The respondents perceive less self-efficacy in the field of clarification of inappropriate family upbringing that probably relates to the fact that the students perceive not sufficient experience in this issue.

The lowest average values were determined at the ability to persuade parents to support the school (2,98). This dimension is saturated by items which are linked with convincing parents to take part in some school actions and an organizational cover, financial and material support. The students consider these activities as demanding in relation to parents and probably are not convinced about their importance. The research results in the Czech Republic refer to the fact that parents nor teachers do not expect mutual co-operation in relation to involvement in internal or other concern of a school (Rabusicova et al., 2004; Walterova et al., 2010).

5. Conclusion

In this article we present how the specific stage of professional preparation reflect into professional self-efficacy of student teachers in relation to parents. In this pilot phase of the research we found out that the students of the full-time study programme of the field Teaching in kindergarten perceive their abilities in relation to parents as well (the results ranged in the centre of the five point scale), whereas the best evaluated abilities concern informing parents about the child's well-being, the least confident they are in the ability to convince parents to be involved in various school activities. According to the pilot phase of the research and to the small number of respondents we cannot, however it is interesting that the same order in individual dimensions resulted within the survey of professional self-efficacy of student teachers to co-operate with parents in the years 2011 - 2012 (Majercikova et al., 2012). The research sample of Majercikova et al., were students of graduation years of pedagogical and social academies and social academies and students completing bachelor studies in the field of Pre-school and Elementary Education at Faculty of Education, Charles University in Bratislava, furthermore teachers in Pre-primary, Primary and Lower Secondary education. Secondary school students were considered to have a higher level of perceived professional self-efficacy than at students of bachelor studies, that authors justify (inter alia) as promising formation of communicational competences with the emphasis on educational training within the study framework (Majercikova et al, 2012).

It is clear that into the professional self-efficacy in relation to parents there is a certain reflection of motivation and professional competence of student teachers. The teacher's professional competences are firstly formed in preparation of the profession. Next they are formed during the professional career by obtaining experience and further education. The output profile of the university graduates at Faculties of Education is mainly professional subject and educational competences, whose core is professional knowledge and pedagogical skills. Admittedly, there are changes in the recent years in deliminitaton of teachers' competences and in professional preparation. Professional preparation through activating, heuristic and complex methods corresponds to the requirements of modern pedagogy (Hornackova, 2009). The focus of attention displaces from adoption of theoretical basis of teaching subject to psychodidactic education and general cultivation of teacher's personality (Spilkova, 2004), where just also belongs the ability to negotiate, communicate and co-operate with pupils' parents.

Acknowledgements

This paper was supported by the Specific research of Faculty of Education of University Hradec Kralove number 2105 titled: Professional self-efficacy of students in the field of teaching.

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