ISLAMIC AZAD UNIVERSITY
AT CENTRAL TEHRAN
A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN TEACHING ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE (TEFL)
The Relationship between Teacher-Reflection and Teacher-Efficacy of Novice and Experienced EFL Teachers
Dr. Nasim Shangarfam
Dr. Abdollah Baradaran
The purpose of this research was to find out if the reflection level of Iranian English teachers is related to their self-efficacy level and hence to explore if work experience is a determining factor in teachers’ efficacy and reflection. An additional aim of the study was to investigate if teachers’ self-efficacy components and their reflection levels are related. Two instruments were employed to quantify the two constructs. To measure teacher’s reflection levels, English Language Teaching Reflection Inventory (ELTRI) (2010) was used and the participants’ self-efficacy was measured by Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES) (2009). First the subjects were divided into novice and experienced groups. ELTRI and TSES were distributed in both groups to measure their reflection and self-efficacy levels. The participants were 721 EFL teachers teaching in private language schools, mainly in Safir Language Academy. As the case is for the students, the majority of Safir English teachers are female. As a result, not only did the findings of this study confirm a positive relationship between EFL teachers’ reflection and their self-efficacy, but also the same result among novice and experienced EFL teachers could be investigated. In addition, a significant relationship among reflection and components of self-efficacy of EFL teachers and that of novice and experienced teachers could be detected. Investigation of relationship between reflective teaching on one hand and self-efficacy on the other, allows teacher educators to select and train more efficacious and effective teachers in which not only the students benefit from their experience and effective teaching through their instructions but also more awareness will be injected in their teaching pattern. Book developers and policy makers can also benefit from this research to include more reflective tasks in their teachers’ guides in order to incline employment of action research based on reflection in their classrooms and set new standards in English teacher education.
1.2 Statement of the Problem10
1.3 Statement of the Research Questions15
1.4 Statement of the Research Hypotheses16
1.5 Definition of the Key Terms18
1.6 Significance of the Study20
2.2 Teachers’ Self-efficacy26
2.2.1 Theories of Teacher Self-Efficacy27
2.2.2 Teachers’ Self-Efficacy Constructs31
2.2.3 Teacher Self-Efficacy Inventories36
2.3 Reflective Teaching40
2.3.2 Background of Reflective Teaching42
2.3.3 Models of Reflection43
2.3.4 Reflective Teaching Inventories62
2.3.5 Literature Related to Self-Efficacy and Reflective Teaching66
2.5 Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks86
3.2 The Participants89
3.3.1 Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES)90
3.3.2 English Language Teaching Reflection Inventory (ELTRI)92
3.6 Statistical Analysis98
4.2 Testing Assumptions100
4.3 Analysis of Outliers101
4.4 Testing Assumptions101
4.5 The First Null Hypothesis102
4.6 The Second Null Hypothesis104
4.7 The Third Null Hypothesis105
4.8 The Fourth Null Hypothesis106
4.9 The Fifth Null Hypothesis109
4.10 The Sixth Null Hypothesis111
4.11 The Seventh Null Hypothesis114
4.12 The Eighth Null Hypothesis116
4.13 The Ninth Null Hypothesis118
4.14 The Tenth Null Hypothesis120
4.15 The Eleventh Null Hypothesis122
4.16 The Twelfth Null Hypothesis124
4.17 The Thirteenth Null Hypothesis127
4.17.1 Predicting EFL Teachers’ Self-Efficacy by Experience127
4.17.2 Predicting EFL Teachers’ Reflection by Experience129
4.18 Reliability Indices131
4.19 Construct Validity of Reflection Questionnaire132
4.20 Construct Validity of Self-Efficacy Questionnaire135
4.21 The Fourteenth Null Hypothesis137
4.22 The Fifteenth Null Hypothesis139
5.3 Implications of the Study149
5.3.1 Pedagogical Implications for English Teachers150
5.3.2 Implications for English Teacher Educators150
5.3.3 Implications for English Language Schools151
5.3.4 Implications for Policy Makers152
5.3.5 Implications for Book Developers152
5.4 Suggestions for Further Research152
Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES)169
English Language Teaching Reflection Inventory (ELTRI)172
I would like to express my gratitude to a number of individuals without whose support I could have never accomplished my research. Primarily, I owe my deepest gratitude to my supervisor, Dr. Nasim Shangarfam for her invaluable guidelines all through the research, for her endless patience, and for her heartwarming encouragements.
I am sincerely grateful to my reader, Dr. Abdollah Baradaran, who kindly read my thesis word for word and unceasingly gave me his wise comments.
My heartfelt thanks go to Dr. Mehdi Sani (ex CEO of Safir Language Academy) who has made available his support in a number of ways. He triggered the idea of this research area in my mind and helped me with his precious comments all along.
I would like to thank Dr.Ramin Akbari who generously let me have a copy of one of the questionnaires used in this research.
It is a pleasure to thank the managers and the teachers of Safir Language Academy who participated in this research, without their efforts, time and patience, this research would not have been possible.
It is an honor for me to thank Mr. Hassan Sayad Chamani, (CEO of Safir Language Academy), Neda Rezaee Nouri who assisted me with the formalities of the research, for her kind assistance in distribution of the questionnaires and entering data.
Last but by no means least; I am indebted to my caring husband, Mohammad, for his patience and support all through the research. I would also like to thank my parents for their encouragement.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Reflective teaching is a familiar topic in English teacher education (Yayli, 2009; Ray & Coulter, 2008; Lord & Lomicka, 2007; Halter, 2006; Korthagen, 2004). While the idea dates back to the thirties (Dewey, 1933) and more rigorously in education to the early eighties (Schon, 1983), the “terms ‘reflection’ and ‘reflective practitioner’ are now common currency in articles about teacher education and teachers’ professional development” (Griffiths, 2000, p. 539). Reflection, in its technical sense, and thinking are not synonymous; reflection goes beyond everyday thinking, in that it is more organized and conscious (Stanley, 1998). For instance, when experienced non-reflective teachers encounter a problem while teaching, they might hastily decide on the issue based on what they can see, unable to see what in fact caused the problem. Similarly, when they think their lesson went on well, they might have noticed the reactions of louder students only. Reflection, accordingly, implies a more systematic process of collecting, recording and analyzing our own and our students’ thoughts and observations (Zeichner & Liston, 1996).
To be brief, reflective teaching means observing what one does in the classroom, contemplating the reasons one does it, and thinking about if it is effective – a process of self-observation and self-evaluation. A reflective practitioner is a person who has extensive knowledge about teaching (Richards & Lockhart, 1996; Korthagen & Wubbels, 1995) and is interested in the improvement of her/his teaching (Griffiths, 2000). She/he is aware that “experience is insufficient as a basis for development” (Richards & Lockhart, 1996, p. 4) and acknowledges that “much of what happens in teaching is unknown to the teacher” (Richards & Lockhart, 1996, p. 3) unless she/he critically reflects upon them. A reflective practitioner also believes that “much can be learned about teaching through self-inquiry” (Richards & Lockhart, 1996, p. 3). She/he does classroom investigation by keeping journals, writing lesson reports, conducting surveys and questionnaires, videotaping or audio recording of lessons, and observing peers (Farrell, 2004; Richards & Lockhart, 1996).
Notwithstanding the fact that reflective teaching is currently believed to be the dominant approach in education (Farrell, 2004; Korthagen, 2004; Zeichner & Liston, 1996; Richards & Lockhart, 1996), it seems to be flawed in some ways (Fendler, 2003). At the outset, no published report exists showing improvement in the teaching quality or teachers’ self-efficacy resulting from practicing reflective teaching (Akbari, 2007).
Self-efficacy is another feature that has been found associated with teaching effectiveness, achievement, and motivation (Knoblauch & Hoy, 2008; Eun & Heining-Boynton, 2007; Barkley, 2006; Milner, 2002; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998). Having conducted a large-scale literature review on teachers’ self-efficacy, Tschannen-Moran and Hoy (2001) reported self-efficacy to be positively related to students’ own self-efficacy, greater levels of teacher planning and organization, teachers’ openness to new ideas, their readiness to try new methods, their persistence, their becoming less critical of students, their greater enthusiasm for teaching and their commitment to it. With all the positive outcomes on students and teachers, few practical ways have been suggested to boost self-efficacy beliefs in teachers (Chan, Lau, Nie, Lim, & Hogan, 2008; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998).
The first aspect regarding experienced teachers is efficiency in processing of information in the classroom. Experienced teachers have the ability to transmit information. The second point is that experienced teachers are able to select information in processing. The third point is that experienced teachers consider students’ need and respond to a variety of events in the classroom.
Researchers have fruitfully used the construct of experienced to explore the knowledge that superior teachers possess (e.g.Berliner, 1986; Borko &Livingston, 1989; Carter, Cushing, Sabers, Stein, &Berliner, 1988). ).Differences between experienced and novice teachers have been researched from the perspective of teacher cognition. Specifically, researchers have attempted to outline how features of the classroom may be mentally represented by both experienced and novice teachers ((e.g. Hogan, Rabinowitz & Craven, 2003). )Comparisons of experienced and novice teachers have shown that they differ in how they perceive and interpret classroom events (Calderhead, 1981)think and make decisions ((Berliner, 1987; Clark & ) (Peterson, 1986), )and develop experienced in pedagogical and content knowledge (Berliner, 1986).
This research, hence, was an attempt to investigate a relationship between novice and experienced EFL teachers’ self-efficacy and self –reflection and to discover the components of each on novice and experienced EFL teachers.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In Iran, English is considered a foreign language (EFL) and is taught both throughout the formal education (secondary school and university) and at language schools (Amadio, 2003). Private Language schools in Iran are not part of the formal education. In this research, “academic setting”, “academic school” and “academic learner” refer to setting, schools and learners in secondary school and universities, and “private setting”, “private schools”, and “private learner” refer to setting, schools, and learners in non-governmentally funded language schools.
Second year of the lower secondary is the first year students study English at school. Studying English only for 2 hours 15 minutes a week, they continue until they receive their high school diploma. During the final year of the upper secondary program (pre-university course), however, this time increases to three hours a week (Fallahi, 2007).
At university level, for those not majoring in English language (English language and literature, teaching English, linguistics, and translation), English instruction does not exceed 8 out of about 140 credit hours of undergraduate studies (Fallahi, 2007)
Private language schools play a more important role in the field of ELT in Iran. Courses offered in these language schools usually focus on all four skills (Yarmohammadi, 1995), unlike upper-secondary schools and universities, which focus more on redaing. These schools usually have different programs for various age groups. Course books employed are more up-to-date and they usually follow more contemporary teaching methodologies.
In the field of ELT, Iranian students and teachers face numerous problems. These problems can be classified under three categories: learners, materials and setting, and instructors. Many of the problems concern learners. Primarily, most academic learners lack motivation to study English (Talebinezhad & Sadegi Benis, 2005), while it provides one of the essential key factors that initiates learning in L2. Lack of motivation can be because academic learners do not expect to use English in authentic situations in future, as very few Iranians travel to English speaking countries and Iran is not a very attractive tourist spot for native speakers of English. Consequently, many students become mark oriented and the major reason to study English becomes to pass the course and not to learn (Karimnia & Salehi Zade, 2007).
Karimnia and Salehi Zade (2007) also found that Iranian learners encounter problems in all the language skills. This problem is partly caused by strong language interference between English and Farsi (Gazanfari, 2003). Research shows that some of the most problematic areas for Iranian students are comprehending and using English tenses (Keyvani, 1980), reporting speech in English (Yarmohammadi, 1995), and using English authentically (Karimnia & Salehi Zade, 2007).
Poor teaching materials and unsuitable instructional settings are responsible for some of the problems regarding ELT in Iran. In the academic setting, course books have been targets for criticism. Sadeghian (1996) believes that, “for certain methodological and ideological reasons, we water the content and language so much that what we teach has no educational values” (p. 1). Karimnia and Salehi Zade (2007), too, find school and university curricula inefficient and blame them as one of the reasons for students’ incompetency.
Inappropriate class size in the academic setting can also contribute to poor learning on the side of the students (Talebinezhad & Sadegi Benis, 2005). It is not surprising to find English classes with 20-30 students in schools and universities. It is clear that languages are learned through interaction, an element that is missing in the academic setting for the shortage of time and the size of the class.
Many believe that in the academic setting, instruction duration is barely enough (Fallahi, 2007; Karimnia & Salehi Zade, 2007; Talebinezhad & Sadegi Benis, 2005). As mentioned earlier in this section, learners in the academic setting study English for only 2 hours 15 minutes weekly at school and only 8 credit hours out of 140 credit hours at university.
Considering the fact that in an EFL setting the role of the teacher is magnified instructor-related problems are regarded more important than the other problems as teachers have always played more important roles than curricula or the learning environment. In the academic setting in Iran, many English teachers at school level are not competent enough to teach English (Talebinezhad & Sadegi Benis, 2005; Sadeghian, 1996). The majority of the teachers at schools use Farsi to teach vocabulary items or to explain grammar. The situation is not any better at universities. More often than not, even university professors teach students majoring in English in Farsi. Of course, “the university instructors are [competent], but the problem is that students are not at the level of proficiency to make the professors communicate with them in English” (Talebinezhad & Sadegi Benis, 2005, p. 94). This becomes a vicious circle as such graduates are the next generation school teachers (Sadeghian, 1996).
Instructor problems in private settings are of different nature. These teachers are usually very competent as most of them have learned English either in private language schools where the quality is much higher than academic schools (Talebinezhad & Sadegi Benis, 2005), or in an English speaking country where they have lived and/or studied for some years. One problem some of such teachers have is too much dependance on teaching methods that they have learned in the training courses or by means of which they have been taught when they were students. As it was mentioned earlier in this section, private language schools try to keep abreast of changes in the field of teaching English. Many language schools are now introducing the concepts of postmethod condition and reflective teaching in their teacher training programs.
Although private schools do face some shortcomings, they provide a better setting for research. Many scholars do not find research done on academic schools generalizable (Sadeghi, 2005; Talebinezhad & Sadegi Benis, 2005; Sadeghi, 2003; Seif, 1998). Talebinezhad and Sadegi Benis (2005) believe that “the real act of English learning takes place not in these educational centers [i.e. academic centers: schools and universities] but in non-academic [i.e. private] centers” (p. 87). They go on stating that “if you choose to use college students [as research population] in order to save time, effort, and money, you may be sacrificing the generalizability of your results, and the study will have less external validity” (p. 90).
For the reasons stated above, private schools were chosen as the research setting.
In Iranian language schools, teachers are treated as if they had similar psychological backgrounds and consequently, are expected to react in similar manner in all situations. Although educators in pre- and in-service programs tend to promote reflection among all teachers, they fail to inquire as some teachers do not respond adequately in practice. (Akbari, Behzadpoor, & Dadvand, 2010) What is more, novice teachers do not often feel adequately prepared for the challenges they face in their first years in the classroom, novice teachers experiencing an intricate transition from the teacher education institutions to life in real classroom.
One of the objectives of this research was to consider Iranian English teachers’ experience on their reflective practices on the one hand, and in their self-efficacy beliefs. A problem with this model of teacher education, however, is lack of evidence as to its effectiveness; there is not any published piece of research in applied linguistics (and even in mainstream education), to the best of our knowledge, to indicate that teacher experience will have any positive (or negative) effect on teacher’s reflection and teacher efficacy.
Self-efficacy has been associated with students’ own self-efficacy, greater levels of teacher planning and organization, teachers’ willingness to experiment with new methods, their persistence, their becoming less critical of students, and their greater enthusiasm for and commitment to teaching (Knoblauch & Hoy, 2008; Eun & Heining-Boynton, 2007; Barkley, 2006; Milner, 2002; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998).
Moreover, in the context of ELT in private language schools in Iran, the concept of reflective practice and teacher self-efficacy are relatively novel and very few language schools are incorporating the reflective aspect in their teacher training programs (Sadeghi, 2003).
Additionally, although reflective practice is encouraged in English teacher education programs in the West (Pacheco, 2005) and with less intensity in Iran, research indicating its impact on students or teachers is scarce (Akbari, 2007; Griffiths, 2000). What is more, the way to develop teacher self-efficacy, which has been shown in the literature to be positively effective on students and teachers, has not been paid due attention (Chan, Lau, Nie, Lim, & Hogan, 2008; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998). Furthermore, teachers’ reflectivity or self-efficacy in the context of ELT in private language schools in Iran has not received enough attention (Sadeghi, 2003). Last but not least the literature seems murky as it tries to find the relation between teacher’s experience and their efficacy beliefs.
Considering the aforementioned the purpose of this research study was to explore the relationship between novice and experienced ELT teachers in Iran, their reflectivity, and self-efficacy.
1.3 Statement of the Research Questions
1. Is there a significant relationship between EFL teachers’ reflection and their self- efficacy?
2. Is there a significant relationship between EFL novice teachers’ reflection and their self- efficacy?
3. Is there a significant relationship between EFL experienced teachers’ reflection and their self- efficacy?
4. Is there any significant relationship among the components of reflection and self-efficacy of EFL teachers?
5. Is there any significant relationship among the components of reflection and self-efficacy of novice EFL teachers?
6. Is there any significant relationship among the components of reflection and self-efficacy of experienced EFL teachers?
7. Is there a significant relationship among reflection and components of self-efficacy of EFL teachers?
8. Is there a significant relationship among reflection and components of self-efficacy of novice EFL teachers?
9. Is there a significant relationship among reflection and components of self-efficacy of experienced EFL teachers?
10. Is there a significant relationship among the components of reflection and the components of self-efficacy of EFL teachers?
11. Is there a significant relationship among the components of reflection and the components of self-efficacy of novice EFL teachers?
12. Is there a significant relationship among the components of reflection and the components of self-efficacy of experienced EFL teachers?
13. Is there any significant difference between the predictability of EFL teacher’s reflection and self-efficacy by their experience?
14. Is there a significant difference between experienced teachers’ self-efficacy and novice teachers’ self-efficacy?
15. Is there a significant difference between experienced teachers’ reflection and novice teachers’ reflection?
1.4 Statement of the Research Hypotheses
H01. There is no significant relationship between EFL teachers’ reflection and their self- efficacy.
H02. There is no significant relationship between EFL novice teachers’ reflection and their self- efficacy.
H03. There is no significant relationship between EFL experienced teachers’ reflection and their self- efficacy.
H04. There is no significant relationship among the components of reflection and self-efficacy of EFL teachers.
H05. There is no significant relationship among the components of reflection and self-efficacy of novice EFL teachers.
H06. There is no significant relationship among the components of reflection and self-efficacy of experienced EFL teachers.
H07. There is no significant relationship among reflection and components of self-efficacy of EFL teachers.
H08. There is no significant relationship among reflection and components of self-efficacy of novice EFL teachers.
H09. There is no significant relationship among reflection and components of self-efficacy of experienced EFL teachers.
H010. There is no significant relationship among the components of reflection and the components of self-efficacy of EFL teachers.
H011. There is no significant relationship among the components of reflection and the components of self-efficacy of novice EFL teachers.
H012. There is no significant relationship among the components of reflection and the components of self-efficacy of experienced EFL teachers.
H013.There is no significant difference between the predictability of EFL teacher’s reflection and self-efficacy by their experience.
H014. There is no significant difference between experienced teachers’ self-efficacy and novice teachers’ self-efficacy.
H015. There is no significant difference between experienced teachers’ reflection and novice teachers’ reflection.
1.5 Definition of the Key Terms
Reflective teaching, as employed in this research, was best defined by Jay and Johnson (2002). According to them,
Reflection is a process, both individual and collaborative, involving experience and uncertainty. It is comprised of identifying questions and key elements of a matter that has emerged as significant, then taking one’s thoughts into dialogue with oneself and with others. One evaluates insights gained from that process with reference to: (1) additional perspectives, (2) one’s own values, experiences, and beliefs, and (3) the larger context within which the questions are raised. Through reflection, one reaches newfound clarity, on which one basis changes in action or disposition. New questions naturally arise, and the process spirals onward. (p. 76)
In this study, reflective teaching was operationally defined and measured by English Language Teaching Reflection Inventory, constructed by Akbari et al (2010). English Language Teaching Reflection Inventory consists of five constructs – practical, cognitive, affective, meta-cognitive, and critical.
In the literature pertaining to teacher self-efficacy, the following terms are used to refer to different aspects of the concept.
Teacher Self-Efficacy: “The extent to which the teacher believes he or she has the capacity to affect student performance” (Bergman et al., 1977, p. 137; cited in Brouwers & Tomic, 2003). In the literature, the term is frequently used interchangeable with Teacher Sense of Efficacy.
Locus of control: Based on Rotter’s (1954) social learning theory of personality, locus of control is defined as ” a generalized expectancy for internal as opposed to external control of reinforcements” (Lefcourt, 1976, p. 27). Rose and Medway (1981, cited in Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001) developed the first scale to measure locus of control (Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001).
In this research, Teacher Self-Efficacy was operationally defined by TSES developed by Tschannen-Moran and Hoy (2001). TSES consists of three constructs – self-efficacy in student engagement, self-efficacy in instructional strategies, and self-efficacy in classroom management.
Novice EFL Teachers
In this research the term refers to teachers who have entered the teaching profession for the first time or who have had little teaching experience (Tsui, 2003), in other words a teacher who has passed Teacher Training Course (TTC) and has less than 2100 hours of teaching is considered as a novice teacher.
Experienced EFL Teachers
In this research, experienced teacher is operationally defined as a teacher who has passed Teacher Training Course (TTC) and has more than 2100 hours of teaching is considered as an experienced teacher.
Five major dimensions of experienced teachers are as follows (Jaeger, 2003)
???? can identify essential representations of their subject,
???? can guide learning through classroom interactions,
???? can monitor learning and provide feedback,
???? can attend to affective attributes, and
???? can influence student outcomes
Following Tschannen and Hoy (2007) and Chan (2008) the researcher chose two years of teaching experience as the cut-off point for dividing novice and experienced teachers.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This research is of significance to the domain of ELT as it extends the knowledge base that currently exists in that field. For one thing, it examines the effectiveness of reflective teaching by probing its relationship to teacher efficacy, a feature that is missing in the literature. It has already been shown, of course, that developing reflective teachers is important in education, because through reflection, teachers develop a capacity for self-directed learning (Korthagen, 1993) and they foster greater professional and personal development (Lord & Lomicka, 2007). However, its relationship with teacher effectiveness has never been measured.
If the relationship between reflectivity and self-efficacy that is investigated by this research is established, involvement in reflective activities will be justified, as it would mean carrying out teaching in a more effective manner. Additionally, the present research can help educators have a better picture of reflective teaching by differentiating novice and experienced teachers accordingly. This, in turn, will assist them in training teachers who are more reflective.
Many schools have chosen to embrace the concept of reflection in their teacher training programs, and research that explores the unexplored areas of reflective teaching and depicts its effectiveness will help to raise awareness in such programs. In addition, those who are unacquainted with the potential benefits of reflective teaching within their educational setting will be encouraged to revise their programs.
Additionally, this study aimed to attract teacher educators’ attention to the fact that efficacy and reflection are important in understanding how teachers approach their work. They can, therefore, build into their programs tasks that encourage teachers to reveal and become more aware of their self-efficacy and reflection. Equally significant, if a relationship between self-efficacy and reflective teaching is established, a practical way is suggested to promote teachers’ self-efficacy (through promoting reflectivity). This will fill the existing gap in the literature pertaining to teacher self-efficacy.
The population chosen for this study is sufficiently unique to reliably allow this research to illuminate the possibility of a relationship between teacher efficacy and reflective teaching and to demonstrate the degree to which teaching experience can be a factor for this. This research, then, is poised to expand the general knowledge base for further research into the area of reflective teaching.
1.7 Limitations and Delimitations of the Study
This study investigated the reflection levels and self-efficacy levels of a specific group, both geographically and occupationally, of EFL teachers in Iran. However, as Safir is a major language school in Tehran employing over 900 teachers, it is believed that the population represents EFL teachers at private schools in Iran.
Like any other research facing limitations, the research at hand was exposed to the following:
All information related to EFL teachers based on their hours of experience was collected from Safir head quarters, though the participants might teach in other institutions in which no data could be explored. This in turn, can affect the result of the research.
Only female teachers were selected for the study as no appropriate permission was given to the researcher to conduct the research in boy-only branches due to the education ministry rules.
The following delimitation was set to guarantee as much as possible the generalizability of the findings of the study.
This research involved EFL teachers who taught at different branches of Safir Language Schools. The study was not on English teachers employed in high schools and universities. As the educational system and procedures at schools are very different from language schools in terms of objectives and procedures, mentioned beforehand in chapter one, some of the teachers among the research participants taught at high schools or universities as well, which was out of the researcher’s control. In Iran, Private language schools play a more important role in the field of ELT in Iran. Courses offered in these language schools usually focus on all four skills (Yarmohammadi, 1995), unlike upper-secondary schools and universities, which focus more on redaing. These schools usually have different programs for various age groups. Course books employed are more up-to-date and they usually follow more contemporary teaching methodologies.Besides, because of certain selection processes prior to employment, the population might not represent EFL teachers in Iran as a whole, but English teachers employed in private language schools.
The only age group of this study was adults between 20 to 35 as the majority of teachers in Safir were of that age range.
As mentioned earlier, the term novice refers to teachers who have entered the teaching profession for the first time or who have had little teaching experience (Tsui, 2003), in other words a teacher who has passed Teacher Training Course (TTC) and has less than 2100 hours of teaching is considered as a novice teacher, and more than 2100 hours are considered as experienced ones.
REVIEW OF THE RELATED
This study aims to explore the relationship between reflective teaching and teacher self-efficacy, and identify the role of teachers’ experience in each of these constructs and on their relationships. Teacher self-efficacy is associated with numerous student and teacher positive outcomes, such as teaching effectiveness, achievement, and motivation (Knoblauch & Hoy, 2008; Eun & Heining-Boynton, 2007; Barkley, 2006; Milner, 2002; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998). However, researches conducted on this construct have mostly focused on its outcomes and little attention has been paid to make teachers more self-efficacious. If this study establishes the proposed relationship, a practical way towards self-efficacy reinforcement is suggested.
On the other hand, a large body of research has been devoted to investigating teachers’ experience, and its relationship to effective teaching. In addition, many researchers have scrutinized different aspects of reflective teaching, theoretically and practically. Furthermore, teachers’ self-efficacy is the core subject of many research papers and dissertations. Nevertheless, there is little published research in the professional literature investigating the relationship between teacher experience and teachers’ success as reflective practitioners (Akbari, Behzadpoor, & Dadvand, 2010; Akbari, 2007). In this section, accordingly, the most related researches conducted in the aforementioned disciplines have been reviewed. In so doing, two main areas emerged. First, teachers’ self-efficacy and the endeavors in developing reliable scales to measure it were scrutinized. secondly, the area of reflective teaching and its relationship to teaching quality was reviewed and selected literature regarding teachers’ self-efficacy and reflective teaching was discussed. The results of these reviews are presented in the current chapter.
2.2 Teachers’ Self-efficacy
Defined as “the extent to which the teacher believes he or she has the capacity to affect student performance” (Bergman, McLaughlin, Bass, Pauly, & Zellman, 1977, p. 137, cited in Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998), teachers’ self-efficacy is recognized as a variable that reflects teaching effectiveness by mediating relationships between knowledge and behaviors (Dellinger, Bobbett, Olivier, & Ellett, 2008; Cruz & Arias, 2007). A review of researches conducted to find out the relationships between teachers’ self-efficacy and other constructs reveals that teachers’ self-efficacy is closely related to student, school and teacher outcomes.
On the one hand, teachers’ self-efficacy is related to students’ achievement (Barkley, 2006; Milner, 2002; Henson, Kogan, & Vacha-Hasse, 2001; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998), students’ motivation (Milner, 2002; Henson, Kogan, & Vacha-Hasse, 2001; Brouwers & Tomic, 2000; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998), students’ own self- efficacy (Henson, Kogan, & Vacha-Hasse, 2001; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998), students’ persistence (Milner, 2002), and students’ self-esteem (Brouwers & Tomic, 2000).
On the other hand, in addition to affecting school effectiveness (Brouwers & Tomic, 2000), teachers’ self-efficacy affects teachers’ commitment to teaching (Chan, Lau, Nie, Lim, & Hogan, 2008; Ware & Kitsantas, 2007; Milner, 2002; Brouwers & Tomic, 2000; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998), teachers’ persistence (Knoblauch & Hoy, 2008; Milner, 2002; Henson, Kogan, & Vacha-Hasse, 2001; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998), teachers’ confidence (Egel, 2009), teachers’ innovation (Saracalo & Dincer, 2009; Evers, Brouwers, & Tomic, 2002; Henson, Kogan, & Vacha-Hasse, 2001; Brouwers & Tomic, 2000), teachers’ classroom management strategies (Brouwers & Tomic, 2000; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998; Gibson & Dembo, 1984), teachers’ stress levels (Brouwers & Tomic, 2000), teachers’ being less critical (Henson, Kogan, & Vacha-Hasse, 2001; Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998), teachers’ self-esteem (Huang, Liu, & Shiomi, 2007), teachers’ burnout (Evers, Brouwers, & Tomic, 2002; Milner, 2002), teachers’ affective commitment (Kent & Sullivan, 2003), and teachers’ professional development (Eun & Heining-Boynton, 2007).
A few researches, however, associate some undesirable outcomes with high levels of self-efficacy, too. They identify a number of benefits associated with inefficacious teachers. They believe that doubts about one’s abilities might foster reflection and motivation to learn. It might also result in greater responsiveness to diversity (Hoy & Spero, 2005)
Self-efficacy and self-esteem are sometimes mistakenly considered synonymous. Although positively related (Huang, Liu, & Shiomi, 2007), self-esteem and self-efficacy are not interchangeable concepts (Bandura, 1997). Self-efficacy deals with personal capability, while self-esteem concerns judgments of self-worth. According to Bandura, no established association exists between beliefs about one’s abilities and whether one likes or dislikes oneself (Bandura, 1997). Self-esteem does assist people in completing tasks effectively, but it is not enough for success in designated tasks.
2.2.1 Theories of Teacher Self-Efficacy
Rooted in two different theories, teacher self-efficacy is an elusive concept. The two major theories of teacher self-efficacy are Rotter’s Social Learning Theory (Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998) and Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1994).
22.214.171.124 Rotter’s Social Learning Theory
The first theory of teacher self-efficacy, social learning theory, was developed in 1966 by J. B. Rotter in an article entitled “Generalized Expectancies for Internal Versus External Control of Reinforcement”. Based on this theory, when teachers believe that the influence of the environment overpowers their ability to influence students’ learning, reinforcement of their teaching efforts lies outside their control (external). On the other hand, teachers who confidently feel that they can teach unmotivated students, exhibit a belief that reinforcement of their teaching activities lies within their control (internal) (Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998). Researchers in RAND organizations, inspired by Rotter’s theory, added two questions to an already existing questionnaire. Teachers were asked to determine the degree of their agreement with these questions. The sum of these two items were called teacher efficacy, which indicated the degree to which teachers could internally control student motivation and learning (Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001). The two items were as follows.
Item one. When it comes right down to it, a teacher really cannot do much because most of a student’s motivation and performance depends on his or her home environment (Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001). A teacher who strongly agrees with this statement indicates that environmental factors overpower any control that teachers can exercise in schools. Such teachers regard factors such as parents’ ideas of educational value; the conflict or violence in the home or society; the social and economic characteristics such as class, race, and gender; and the physiological, emotional and cognitive needs of a student of great importance in controlling his or her motivation and performance in school (Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001). “Teachers’ beliefs about the power of these external factors compared to the influence of teachers and schools have since been labeled general teaching efficacy (GTE) (Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001, p. 785)
Item two. If I really try hard, I can get through to even the most difficult or unmotivated students (Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001). Teachers who see such ability within their reach express confidence in their capabilities to overcome factors that could hinder students’ learning. Such teachers feel efficacious in their own teaching and are confident of