The Role of Teacher Efficacy Sources for General Education Teachers with Special Education Inclusion Classrooms
Beaty, Elizabeth, Administration and Supervision - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Berry, Dennise, Administration and Supervision, University of Virginia
The purpose of this study was to determine if the frequency of experiences theorized as efficacy sources correlated to differences in levels of general education teachers’ efficacy regarding students with disabilities.
Students with disabilities have been spending an increasing portion of the instructional day in the general education classroom. This is due to federal laws and court cases that have evolved since the 1970s when the first law that guaranteed a free and appropriate public education for all children was passed. However, general education teachers report feeling that they lack the skills and competencies necessary to meet the educational needs of these students. This suggests that general education teachers have lower teaching efficacy concerning students with disabilities, which may negatively affect the academic achievement of these students. Teaching efficacy is a variable that has been associated with academic achievement.
To achieve the purpose of this study survey methodology was employed and descriptive and correlational data was derived. The sample population of this study was general education teachers who had students with disabilities in their class from 40 elementary schools in a large, suburban school district. The unit of analysis for this study was the individual teacher. The twenty-one item survey for this study had two parts. The first part included the Teacher Efficacy Scale (Dembo & Gibson, 1984) amended to reflect students with disabilities. The second part of the survey included researcher generated questions based on the four efficacy sources identified by Bandura (1977) and professional development literature. Additionally, participants were asked to quantify how many years they had students with disabilities in their class in the past ten years.
Correlational data indicated that years of experience correlated to the frequency of mastery experiences and vicarious experiences. Analysis of covariance revealed that the frequency of mastery experiences was significantly related (p < .05) to differences in general education teachers’ efficacy regarding students with disabilities. However, the frequency of vicarious experiences was not significantly related (p < .05) to differences in general education teachers’ efficacy regarding students with disabilities. Because there was no correlation between years of experience and social persuasion experiences, analysis of covariance was used to analyze that data. Even when years of experience were controlled for, the frequency of social persuasion experiences was not significantly related (p < .05) to differences in general education teachers’ efficacy regarding students with disabilities.
Implications for practice and recommendations for future research were discussed, including conducting qualitative research on the nature of mastery experiences that affect general teachers’ efficacy regarding students with disabilities, using different measures of teaching efficacy to explore the relationship between the frequency of efficacy source experiences and teaching efficacy concerning students with disabilities, and expanding the sample size to support the validity of this study’s findings.
EDD (Doctor of Education)
students with disabilities, teaching efficacy, general education teachers
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