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
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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.
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
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