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‘Thinking in a different corner of the same box’: can generalists make an effective transition to the specialist role? Elaine Pattison Newman University.

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Presentation on theme: "‘Thinking in a different corner of the same box’: can generalists make an effective transition to the specialist role? Elaine Pattison Newman University."— Presentation transcript:

1 ‘Thinking in a different corner of the same box’: can generalists make an effective transition to the specialist role? Elaine Pattison Newman University College TEAN Conference 2012

2 Aims To consider how teachers can be supported in adapting to new specialisms through the development of self-efficacy To examine the theoretical applications, through a case study of six teachers delivering primary foreign languages (PML) To discuss the wider implications for teacher education and professional development

3 Understanding self-efficacy “Perceived self-efficacy refers to beliefs in one’s capabilities to organise and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments” (Bandura, 1997, p.3). Four elements: 1. enactive mastery experiences 2. vicarious experiences 3. verbal persuasion 4. physiological and affective states

4 Premise Effectiveness in teacher education is of interest to all, but can be a nebulous concept Self- efficacy enables us to use a more targeted instrument in specific areas BUT there are wider questions What are primary teachers preparing children for when considering more specialist areas? Do we need specialists to be effective? And for whom? Does this lower educational standards?

5 Literature review Self- efficacy (Bandura,1997) Teacher self-efficacy scale[TSES] –research developed in North America (Tschannen- Moran, Woolfolk -Hoy & Hoy,1998 ) Mastery experiences in relation to professional development (Tscahnnen-Moran and McMaster, 2009) Studies of primary /middle school children especially in relation to maths, science(Palmer,2006) Very little research related to modern languages teachers but some in US relating to University language assistants (Mills and Allen, 2007)

6 Methodology Interpretivist paradigm Phenomenological approach Case study- small purposive sample of West Midland schools Qualitative data collection through semi- structured interviews

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8 Findings :Exemplification of sources of self-efficacy mastery experiences Using known strategies; self-evaluation; perseverance; strength of subject knowledge; perceived as positive experiences vicarious experiences Observing specialists and other teachers; team teaching; virtual observations verbal persuasion Comments from peers; feedback from children; feedback from senior management ( both positive and negative) physiological and affective states Enthusiasm, empathy, apprehension, frustration, stress

9 Evidence for Verbal Persuasion as promoter of self-efficacy Vincent: The whole aspect of being judged and being scrutinised it’s just, I think I just find it... I know it’s important and I know it’s valuable, but it’s just nerve-wracking Sophie recognised a teacher’s vulnerability: “it’s a hard thing to be judged on your teaching... being a teacher is a big part of you isn’t it really?” Ursula on feedback: “I’m not saying it’s perfect, nobody ever is, but it makes you feel good about yourself, which makes your teaching better, which makes the learning better, And then again, it’s a circle isn’t it?”

10 Stories from effective teachers : Ursula Mature established teacher; evidenced enactive mastery, alluding to past success(Swanson and Huff, 2010; Tschannen-Moran and McMaster, 2009) Not in decline as postulated by Klassen and Chiu Motivated by PML teaching (Greller, 2006, cited in Klassen and Chiu, 2010, p. 749 Blending of self-concept and self efficacy (Marsh et al,2008) reinforced by normative referencing I do think that if you’re going to teach it well- I mean really teach it well, I think you do need background knowledge. I know that there are a lot of teachers who will have a go, fine, but if you really want to explain things to children, you do need that knowledge

11 Stories from effective teachers : Yvonne Cognitive mastery (Palmer, 2006) Evidence of “a combination of security and insecurity in their abilities” (Mills and Allen,2007, p.221), correlates with findings on lower self efficacy amongst novices (Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk-Hoy, 2007) Strong coping strategies correlating strongly with findings for instructional self efficacy and student engagement (Atay, 2007). General teaching strategies overcome gaps in knowledge and satisfaction derived from this approach (Bandura, 2008). One thing, I’m not so much lacking in confidence, teaching the French, because I feel I can teach, if you can teach you can teach anything

12 Effective teachers, but do we qualify their success? Will Compensates for lack of subject knowledge Coping strategies which rely on resources reflect attitudes of novice teachers (Tschannen- Moran and Woolfolk- Hoy, 2007) Relies on PML specialist “ the knowledgeable person” “I’m almost doing it by numbers” “play it safe and do what I do for other subjects”

13 Effective teachers, but do we qualify their success? Zack Relies on others, including PML specialist Compensates for lack of subject knowledge Circumscribes the content and scope of PML teaching in a means- ends approach (Tschannen-Moran, Wollfolk-Hoy and Hoy, 1998) I suppose as you continue, the subject knowledge becomes more intense, the language becomes more difficult and you become out of your comfort zone

14 Potentially Effective teachers: Vincent Coping in school: stress Trying to prioritise brought with it a sense of obligation Professional self-efficacy discrepancy (Friedman, 2000) i.e. gap between his subject pedagogy strengths and his ability to do justice to PML teaching Demands of career progression, standing of PML Influence of self doubt ( Settlage et al, 2009) when I do feel more confident with other things, I’ll be able to focus more on my language teaching and be able to make progress that way... Do the practicalities of running Planning Preparation and Assessment time actually reduce teacher choice in planning own workload?

15 Potentially Effective teachers: Sophie Highly qualified specialist, with cognitive mastery, but struggles to adapt Isolated; regrets not being able to observe skilled peers, (Bruce et al, 2010; Tschannen- Moran and McMaster, 2009; Atay, 2007; Mills and Allen, 2007; Chacon, 2005). Competence undermined Link between general teaching stress and lower job satisfaction (Klassen and Chiu, 2010 Negative influences of social affect override the positive aspects of mastery experiences? They come [back] and they tell me what they’re learning; they speak to me in French and that’s great. And I know that I’ve done some good work and I did make languages fun for others and they’ve carried on. Some of them are doing 2 languages, so I know that I did have an impact...

16 Strong subject knowledge Weak subject knowledge Weak mastery experiences Strong mastery experiences * Sophie( Q: Degree) opting out-under stress * Ursula (Q: O level) Experienced professional * Zack ( Q: GCSE) opting for status quo * Yvonne (Q: None in language taught ) Compensator *Will ( Q:None) Compensator Correlation between subject knowledge and mastery experiences? * Vincent (Q: A level) Prioritising- under stress Q=qualification

17 The status of primary languages in case study schools At Brae, it was “an important part of the curriculum” (Ursula) French was often “the first to get cut” (Zack) I think it’s overlooked in one sense, as sort of, like an add-on”. (Yvonne) “The priority isn’t there for French [...] I wouldn’t imagine going to a primary school where French is as important as literacy to other aspects of the curriculum”. (Vincent) Sophie felt “quite despondent” and argued that “it kind of devalues you” as a PML teacher when lessons cancelled at short notice

18 How effective were teachers in adapting to teaching PML? Evidence: Seen as positive, a fresh challenge( Cable et al,2010 ) the challenge was implementing PML whilst responding to the prevailing school culture (Kelchtermans, 2009) Drops in self-efficacy were in line with those for teachers learning new skills (Tschannen-Moran and McMaster, 2009) BUT some chose Withdrawal from process

19 Is the current position tenable? Non-specialist teachers Adaptability, flexibility perseverance and resilience Viable as any other subject in the primary curriculum, especially given a supportive school culture Is quality of the language delivered and the progression made by the children appropriate in the long term? Specialists Need recognition and acknowledgement Opportunities to grow Symbiotic relationship required for effective delivery of PML in today’s curriculum Government’s role? Schools’ role?

20 references Atay, D. (2007) ‘Beginning teacher efficacy and the practicum in an EFL context’, Teacher Development, 11(2), pp Bandura, A. (1997) Self efficacy: the exercise of control. New York: W.H. Freeman & Co. Bandura, A. (2008) 'Reconstrual of "free-will" from the Agentic Perspective of Social Cognitive Theory', in Baer, J., Kaufman, J. C. & Baumeister, R. F. (eds.) Are we free? Psychology and Free Will. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp Available at: eWill.pdf (Accessed: 15 May 2012) eWill.pdf Bruce, C. D., & Ross, J. A. (2008) A model for increasing reform implementation and teacher efficacy: Teacher peer coaching in grades 3 and 6 mathematics. Canadian Journal of Education, 31(2),

21 references Cable, C., Driscoll, P., Mitchell, R., Sing, S., Cremin, T., Earl, J., Eyres, I.,Holmes, B., Martin, C.with Heins, B. (2010), Languages Learning at Key Stage 2: A Longitudinal Study Final Report, Research Report DCSF-RR198 The Open University Chacon, C. T. (2005) 'Teachers' Perceived Efficacy among English as a Foreign Language Teachers in Middle Schools in Venezuela', Teaching and Teacher Education: An International Journal of Research and Studies, 21 (3), pp Friedman, Issac A. (2000) 'Burnout in Teachers: Shattered Dreams of Impeccable Professional Performance', Journal of clinical psychology, 56 (5), pp Kelchtermans,G.( 2009) ‘Who I am in how I teach is the message: self-understanding, vulnerability and reflection’, Teachers' and Teaching: theory and practice, 15, pp

22 references Klassen, R.M. & Chiu, M.M. (2010) 'Effects on teachers' self-efficacy and job satisfaction: Teacher gender, years of experience, and job stress', Journal of educational psychology, 102 (3), pp Marsh, H., Trautwein,U., Luedtke,O., Koeller,O. (2008) Social Comparison and Big-Fish–Little-Pond Effects on Self-Concept and Other Self-Belief Constructs: Role of Generalized and Specific Others, Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(3), pp Journal of Educational Psychology Mills, N. A. & Allen, H. (2007) ‘Teacher Self-Efficacy of Graduate Teaching Assistants of French’, in Siskin, Jay (ed.) From Thought to Action: exploring beliefs and outcomes’ in the Foreign Language Program Boston: Heinle & Heinle. pp Available at: (Accessed: 14 May 2012) Palmer, D. (2006) ‘Sources of Self-efficacy in a Science Methods Course for Primary Teacher Education Students’, Research in Science Education, 36, pp

23 references Settllage J., Southerland S.A., Smith L.K., Ceglie R. ( 2009) Constructing a doubt-free teaching self: Self-efficacy, teacher identity, and science instruction within diverse settings, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(1), pp Swanson, P. & Huff, R. (2010) ‘The Relationship of Georgia's Rural Foreign Language Teachers' Sense of Efficacy to Teacher Attrition’, Rural Educator, 31(3), pp Tschannen-Moran, M. & McMaster, P. (2009) 'Sources of self- efficacy: Four professional development formats and their relationship to self-efficacy and implementation of a new teaching strategy', The Elementary School Journal, 110 (2), pp Tschannen-Moran, M., Woolfolk Hoy, A. & Hoy, W. K. (1998) 'Teacher efficacy: Its meaning and measure', Review of Educational Research, 68 (2), pp


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