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Influence of middle school teaming on new teachers' efficacy and job satisfaction

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Influence of middle school teaming on new teachers' efficacy and job satisfaction
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Wheeler-Clouse, Sammye
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xiv, 190 leaves : illustrations ; 28 cm

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Teaching teams -- Colorado -- Denver ( lcsh )
Middle school teaching ( lcsh )
First year teachers -- Job satisfaction ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 181-190).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Sammye Wheeler-Clouse.

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University of Florida
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Full Text
INFLUENCE OF MIDDLE SCHOOL TEAMING ON
NEW TEACHERS EFFICACY AND JOB SATISFACTION
by
Sammye Wheeler-Clouse
B.S., University of Illinois, 1971
M.A., University of Colorado at Denver, 1990
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation
1999


1999 by Sammye Wheeler-Clouse
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Sammye Wheeler-Clouse
has been approved
by
Alan Davis
/ Date
Nola Wellman


Wheeler-Clouse, Sammye (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
Influence of Middle School Teaming on New Teachers Efficacy
Development and Job Satisfaction
Thesis directed by Professor Alan Davis
ABSTRACT
Teachers new to education often struggle through the first year of
teaching. Some face discipline problems, classroom management needs,
strategies to individualize instruction, and a lack of lesson plan resources
and ideas. New teachers, more than experienced teachers, need the
support of a cadre of staff members with whom they can access, network,
and exchange ideas on a daily basis. Without this support, these new
teachers may become frustrated and overwhelmed, and are likely to
consider other career fields.
One solution to this dilemma is to provide beginning teachers with the
recurring support of fellow colleagues, through the middle school teaming
structure. The middle school team allows the beginning teacher to work
collaboratively with veteran teachers on a daily basis. The middle school
teaming structure provides a built-in mechanism for beginning teachers to
receive consistent support, inspiration, challenge, counsel, and relationship.
Providing a daily common planning time for a team of core teachers who
share the same group of students allows for daily mentoring of the beginning
teacher which could make the difference of failure or success.
This study examined the relationship between effective middle school
teams and beginning teachers self-efficacy and job satisfaction. The main
IV


hypothesis of this study is that beginning teacher self-efficacy and job
satisfaction are each positively associated with the effectiveness of the
middle school team on which they are placed. Thirty-four first-year teachers
assigned to academic middle school teams in three different Denver
Metropolitan school districts were surveyed five times throughout the 1998-
99 school year. In addition, four of the participants were involved in two
open-ended interviews each.
Results indicated that no relationship existed between the perceived
effectiveness of the middle school team and a first-year teacher's self-
efficacy, yet a significant relationship existed between the perceived
effectiveness of the middle school team and a first-year teachers job
satisfaction.
The teachers self-efficacy level before they began teaching was the
only significant predictor of teacher self-efficacy at the end of their first year
of teaching. Significant predictors for a teacher's job satisfaction at the end
of their first year of teaching was their initial job satisfaction, perceived team
effectiveness, number of students perceived by the teacher on their team
who read two years below grade level, and quality of preservice teacher
preparation.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Signed
Alan Davis
v


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This dissertation is dedicated to the people who supported me through this
endeavor. My husband, Terry, who gave me encouragement through the
most stressful times. My secretary, Betty Norton, whose patience,
understanding, and listening ear sustained me through the challenges.
Sincere thanks are also expressed to the following people:
Dr. Alan Davis, my advisor, who provided the statistical foundation,
academic expertise, and never-ending positive motivation through these
past two years.
Dr. Beth Doll, Dr. Nancy Shanklin, Dr. Nola Wellman, and Dr. Cynthia
Stevenson, committee members, who challenged me to strive for excellence
through their extensive review of my work.
The school districts who were so willing to offer support with this research.
The many friends and colleagues who encouraged me during this process.


CONTENTS
Figures................................................ix
Tables.................................................x
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION........................................1
Purpose of the Study.............................6
Research Hypothesis..............................9
Definitions.....................................11
Theoretical Framework...........................13
Method.;........................................15
Structure of the Study..........................16
2. REVIEW OF RELATED RESEARCH.........................17
Beginning Teacher Issues........................17
First-year problems.......................19
Career decisions..........................21
Isolation.................................23
Needed support............................24
Mentoring.................................26
Sense of self and success.................29
Self-Efficacy as Related to Teacher Behavior....29
Efficacy defined..........................30
Teacher Self-efficacy.....................33
vii


Self-efficacy and student achievement.....36
Efficacy and a sense of community.........39
Effective Teams..................................41
Effective middle school teams.............42
Effective teams outside of the
educational arena.........................44
Common Mission............................45
Collaboration.............................46
Cohesiveness..............................49
Shared Decision Making....................49
Sense of community and teacher efficacy...50
Summary..........................................53
3. METHODS.............................................57
Purpose and Hypothesis...........................57
Research Design..................................60
Measures.........................................63
Development of measures...................64
Teacher self-efficacy measurement.........65
Job satisfaction measurement..............67
Team effectiveness measurement............67
Team preference measurement...............69
District Mentor and Administrative
support measurement.......................69
Other Independent Variables...............71
Validity of Instrument....................72
viii


Reliability...................................73
Procedures...........................................75
Data collection procedures....................75
Case study procedures.........................77
Data Analysis........................................79
Description of trend analysis.................79
Correlation analysis..........................79
Limitations...................................81
Summary.......................................83
4. FINDINGS................................................85
Research Questions and Hypotheses....................85
Team Effectiveness...................................88
Team Settings.................................88
Trend of Team Effectiveness...................89
Analysis of Teacher Self-Efficacy Data...............92
Trend analysis of teacher self-efficacy.......92
Correlation of independent variables
and teacher self-efficacy.....................96
Teacher self-efficacy Multiple
Regression Analysis...........................99
Conservative test to predict teacher
self-efficacy................................101
Liberal test to predict teacher
self-efficacy................................103
Analysis of Job Satisfaction........................109
ix


Trend analysis of job satisfaction........109
Correlation of independent variables
and job satisfaction......................112
Job Satisfaction Multiple Regression
Analysis..................................115
Conservative test to predict job
satisfaction..............................116
Liberal test to predict job satisfaction..119
Interpreting Interview Data.....................125
Interview data from David.................126
Interview data from Julie.................129
Interview data from Karen.................131
Interview data from Barbara...............133
Summary of Individual Interviews................135
Summary.........................................136
5. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION..........................137
Discussion of Findings..........................139
Teacher Self-efficacy.....................139
Job Satisfaction..........................143
Imprecations of the Study.......................146
Recommendations for Further Study...............149
APPENDIX
A. SURVEY USED FOR AUGUST.............................151
B. SURVEY USED FOR OCTOBER, JANUARY,
MARCH...........................................154
x


C. SURVEY USED FOR MAY....................159
D. INTERVIEW QUESTIONS....................164
E. LETTERS TO DISTRICTS...................165
F. PARTICIPANT CONSENT FORMS..............175
G. PARTICIPANT CONTRACT...................179
H. THANK YOU LETTERS TO DISTRICTS.........180
REFERENCES..................................181
XI


FIGURES
Figures
1.1 Model for Beginning Teacher Success.......................13
2.1 Mentoring model...........................................27
2.2 Teachers Sense of Efficacy model.........................34
2.3 Critical Construct in Motivation of Teacher
Behavior model...........................................37
4.1 Mean trend analysis of Team Effectiveness.................90
4.2 Median trend analysis of Team Effectiveness...............91
4.3 Mean trend analysis of Teacher Self-efficacy..............94
4.4 Median trend analysis of Teacher Self-efficacy............95
4.5 Mean trend analysis of Job Satisfaction..................110
4.6 Median trend analysis of Job Satisfaction................111
XII


TABLES
Table
3.1 Reliability for survey results..........................74
3.2 Matrix of administration of instrument scales...........77
4.1 Composition of middle school teams......................89
4.2 Change of Teacher Self-efficacy scores..................92
4.3 Correlation analysis of Teacher Self-efficacy with
independent variables.....................................97
4.4 Multiple regression analysis of Teacher Self-efficacy and
four independent variables...............................102
4.5 Multiple regression analysis of Teacher Self-efficacy and
Team Effectiveness Average..............................104
4.6 Multiple regression analysis of Teacher Self-efficacy and
Quality of Preservice Teacher Preparation...............105
4.7 Multiple regression analysis of Teacher Self-efficacy and
Building Administrator Support Average...................106
4.8 Multiple regression analysis of Teacher Self-efficacy and
Number of Students Reading Below Grade Level.............107
XIII


4.9 Multiple regression analysis of Teacher Self-efficacy and
Number of Students with ADD.............................108
4.10 Correlation analysis of Job Satisfaction with
independent variables..................................113
4.11 Multiple regression analysis of Job Satisfaction and
four independent variables..............................118
4.12 Multiple regression analysis of Job Satisfaction and
Team Effectiveness Average.............................120
4.13 Multiple regression analysis of Job Satisfaction and
Number of Students Reading 2 Years Below
Grade Level.............................................121
4.14 Multiple regression analysis of Job Satisfaction and
Quality of Preservice Teacher Preparation...............122
4.15 Multiple regression analysis of Job Satisfaction and
Support of Building Administrator Average...............123
4.16 Multiple regression analysis of Job Satisfaction and
Number of Hours Academic Team Met Each Week............124
XIV


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
In 1989, the Carnegie Foundation report, Turning Points (Carnegie
Council, 1990), emphasized the need for creating smaller communities
within larger schools in order for students to embrace a sense of belonging.
While these small communities more effectively meet adolescents' needs,
research has shown that a middle school community structure employing
core academic teams also provides support for teachers (Ashton, Webb, &
Doda, 1983; Erb & Doda, 1989; Kruse & Louis, 1995; Dickinson & Erb,
1997; Erb & Stevenson, 1999). Traditionally, teachers teach in isolation.
Teachers have little time, if any, to communicate and network about
strategies to help specific students be the best they can be, about lessons, or
about schedules that could be coordinated for effectiveness and efficiency.
The middle school structure of interdisciplinary teams helps to solve this
problem.
Organized as middle school teams (typically four core teachers on
one team), teachers share a common group of students, plan their class
schedules to meet the needs of the curriculum, design interdisciplinary units,
and communicate on a daily basis through a common planning period in
addition to their individual planning time. A middle school divided into
smaller teams recognizes the unique needs of adolescent students during
1


this transescent period from elementary to high school. Teaming provides
adolescents more individualized programs in which a group of educators
have the opportunity to exchange strategies and techniques to help each
student be more successful.
Middle school teaming philosophy has provided the basis of school
reform for middle level educators across the country for the past fifteen
years. Research shows not only an indirect effect on student achievement
(Friedman, 1993; and Lyons, 1994), but even a greater direct effect on
teachers (George & Stevenson, 1988; Doda, George, & McKevin, 1987; Erb
& Doda, 1989; Husband & Short, 1994). Most schools in the middle rely
on the interdisciplinary team organization as the fundamental way to
eradicate teacher isolation and foster interdependence. When teachers on
teams share the same students, they report renewed confidence and
satisfaction, improved communication with parents, and the development of
a more student-centered perspective" (Doda, et al., 1987, p.4). Erb (1987)
was able to identify nine specific areas in which teamed teachers felt support
associated with participation in teams: (a) less isolation, (b) moral support,
(c) parent/teacher conferences, (d) classroom management issues,
(e) discussion of students progress, (f) solutions to classroom problems, (g)
belonging to the school as a whole, (h) opportunity for greater
communication, and (i) a difference in the way teachers related to one
another (Erb, 1987, pp. 5-6).
Middle school teams provide a built-in structure for all educators to
receive the needed support that has become more and more compelling as
2


primary areas of concern for retaining all educators, but especially the
beginning teacher. The teaming structure allows educators a greater
opportunity to grow personally and professionally as teachers informally
mentor one another through their daily team planning.
The need for this collaborative community is even more evident with
first-year teachers. The middle school team structure allows the beginning
teacher to unite with veteran teachers on a daily basis. It allows them the
opportunity to observe the experienced teacher, as well as reflect on
decisions and actions made and plan proactive strategies. As Bandura
(1977a, p. 12) states, Virtually all learning phenomena resulting from direct
experience occur on a vicarious basis by observing other people's behavior
and its consequences for them. The capacity to learn by observation
enables people to acquire large, integrated patterns of behavior without
having to form them gradually by tedious trial and error. Providing a daily
common planning time for a team of core teachers who share the same
group of students allows teachers an opportunity for acquiring the direct
experience to which Bandura refers. For the beginning teacher this
opportunity of daily collaboration and networking could maka the difference
between success or failure.
Teaming provides a built-in mechanism for beginning teachers to
receive the support, inspiration, challenge, counsel, and relationship that is
more consistent, provides a wider range of expertise, and allows for daily
communication and feedback. Increased colleagial networking and sharing
give teachers greater opportunities for experiences that buoy their
3


confidence and facilitate the growth of feelings of effectiveness and self-
worth (Friedman, 1993, p. 127). Teachers who are a part of each core
academic team serve as teacher consultants," act as mentors, form
mentoring relationships characterized by openness, informality, and a high
degree of interaction" (Godley, Wilson, & Klung, 1986, p. 67).
The ability to connect daily with fellow teachers has the potential to
influence how a teacher perceives her/his abilities in the classroom. A
teachers sense of self-efficacy may be impacted negatively by a lack of the
consistent support of fellow teachers and working in an isolated teaching
situation (Ashton & Webb, 1986). Teachers in a departmentalized structure
are not able to discuss issues around difficult classroom behavior, to
strategize approaches with which to motivate students, or to problem solve
experiences with unsuccessful lessons. Teachers without the formal or
informal mentors available through a team structure tend to have lower self-
efficacy (Ashton & Webb, 1986). Strong colleagial support may bolster and
sustain teachers' sense of efficacy, enabling teachers to be more effective
with their students" (Ashton & Webb, 1986, p. 19).
Research has indicated that the level of teacher efficacy (a teachers
perception of the extent to which they can affect student learning) will
influence their instruction, classroom management, and ultimately student
achievement (Dembo & Gibson, 1985; Ashton & Webb, 1986; Evan, 1989;
Moore & Esselman, 1994; and Allinder, 1995). Teachers with positive
sense of efficacy choose challenging activities and are motivated to try
harder when challenges confront them (Ashton & Webb, 1986, p.3),
4


whereas teachers with low personal teaching efficacy experience personal
helplessness (Ashton & Webb, 1986, p.6). This self-efficacy is developed
according to the individuals perception of her/his own competence. The
strength of a individuals sense of self-efficacy determines whether he or she
will initiate and sustain behavior in face of difficulties" (Bandura, 1986, p.
394).
The development of the individuals self-efficacy is critical during
her/his first year of teaching. It is during this crucial time in each teachers
career that an individual experiences changes in her/his level of self-
efficacy, ultimately affecting each individual's attitude towards teaching
(Bullough, Knowles, & Crow, 1989; Chester & Beaudin, 1996). One
primary area that impacts a teacher's self-efficacy during this critical first year
of teaching is the opportunity for collaboration with other teachers within the
school (Chester & Beaudin, 1996). Beginning teachers who were assigned
to schools in which they perceived high degrees of collaboration among
teachers and administrators reported substantially higher values of change
in self-efficacy beliefs than those who worked in schools with little
opportunity for collaboration with other adults" (p. 251). Being able to
connect and establish relationships with others is essential for the first year
teachers to increase their self-confidence and perceive themselves as a
teacher (Cruickshank & Broadbent, 1968; Applegate, Flora, Johnston,
Lasley, Mager, Newman, & Ryan, 1977; Rosensholtz, 1989).
The middle school teaming structure with a daily team planning time
provides the needed colieagial support for the first-year teacher. Through
5


this time of networking, the first-year teacher is able to receive support with
instructional and classroom management strategies.
Purpose of the Study
Several primary areas that may influence a teachers self-efficacy are
related to the school structure within which they are assigned. First year
teachers feel alone and often experience confusion between their student
teaching and the reality of their own classroom. They are afraid to discuss
failures in the classroom with others at the school (Bullough, Knowles, &
Crow, 1992). A primary reason for this is the fear of being seen by other
educators, and specifically administration, as not being able to handle
classroom situations. They have concerns of retaining their job if they are
perceived by their colleagues as not being a good teacher. They face
feelings of insecurity and a lack of confidence. The informal relationships
with fellow teachers who share common experiences with the same students
tend to have the greatest benefit on the beginning teacher. In fact rookie
teachers receive the most support from informal interactions with teachers
teaching the same subject and grade as they are (Grant & Zelchner). Thus,
it is important for teachers to take the time to discuss concerns, issues, and
successes. Setting aside a specified time for the needed networking among
colleagues rarely happens within the school day for the experienced
teacher, let alone the overwhelmed first-year teacher (Hoerr, 1997).
Providing this needed colleagial support and opportunities for
networking are essential for beginning teacher success (Lortie, 1992;
6


Darling-Hammond, 1996). Those who have access to teacher networks,
enriched professional roles, and colleagial work feel more efficacious in
gaining the knowledge they need to meet the needs of their students and
more positive about staying in the profession (Darling-Hammond, 1996,
p. 9). This colleagial support is provided for the first-year teacher through
placement on an interdisciplinary team where the new teacher has the
opportunity for daily sharing of ideas with peers. Without providing a
designated time for colleagues to share ideas and resources, this needed
communication with fellow professionals does not take place.
As research has shown, effective teams are successful in
organizational cultures that encourage collaboration, support risk-taking,
emphasize information-sharing, and are open (Jones, 1983; Lotus, 1997;
Russ-Eft, Preskill, & Sleezer, 1997; Ideas on teams, 1997). Though little
research has been done in the educational field on effective teams, four
themes are consistently discussed as associated with effective middle
school core academic teams: common mission, collaboration,
cohesiveness, and shared decision making (George & Stevenson, 1988;
Lyons, 1994; Gordon, 1995; Church, 1996; Lanfranchi, 1996). The middle
school teaming structure, where emphasis is placed on colleagial support,
collaboration, and peer communication, is the natural setting for effective
teams. Support by other professionals is the basis of the middle school
philosophy. The study of the relationship of the first-year teachers self-
efficacy with the daily support of a core academic team can assist schools
7


and school districts in creating similar opportunities for new teachers at
levels other than just the middle school.
This study will address three issues: Behaviors and struggles of
teachers new to the educational field, a new teachers sense of self-efficacy,
and the sense of community provided the new teacher by being a member of
an effective middle school team. The primary question for research is: What
is the effect of the support of middle school teams on new teachers self-
efficacy and satisfaction with teaching? The goal is to determine if first-year
teachers efficacy level and job satisfaction by the end of their first year of
teaching is significantly different when placed on an effective middle school
team. This study expands on previous research conducted by Ashton, Webb,
& Doda (1983), Ashton & Webb (1986), Doda, George, & McKevin (1987),
Evans (1989), and Kruse & Lous (1995) by identifying and investigating four
primary characteristics of an effective middle school academic team. In the
present inquiry, an instrument was created and reliability and validity
established to assess four characteristics of an effective middle school team.
The associations of these four primary characteristics with teacher self-
efficacy and satisfaction with teaching were examined. The present study
focuses on beginning teachers to the profession who have been placed on
middle school teams, a group that has not been the focus of previous studies
of middle school teams.
8


Research Hypothesis
This study has two dependent variables, teacher self-efficacy and job
satisfaction. Each of the studys hypotheses applies to both of these
dependent variables for first-year middle school teachers in core academic
teams.
The primary hypotheses for this study were
(a) A positive relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and perceived team effectiveness, and between job satisfaction of a
beginning teacher and perceived team effectiveness.
The supporting hypotheses for this study were
(a) A positive relationship exists between teacher gender and the level of
teacher self-efficacy, and between teacher gender and job satisfaction, with
female teachers having higher efficacy and job satisfaction than male
teachers.
(b) A positive relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the support received from the district assigned mentor, and between job
satisfaction of a beginning teacher and the support received from the district
assigned mentor.
(c) A positive relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the support received from the building administrator, and between job
9


satisfaction of a beginning teacher and the support received from the
building administrator.
(d) A positive relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the quality of preservice teacher preparation experienced prior to
teaching, and between job satisfaction of a beginning teacher and the
quality of preservice teacher preparation experienced prior to teaching.
(e) A positive relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the number of hours the new teachers core academic team team meets
on a weekly basis, and between job satisfaction and the number of hours the
new teachers core academic team team meets on a weekly basis.
(f) A negative relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the perceived number of students on the team with off task behaviors
presenting challenges for instruction, and between job satisfaction of a
beginning teacher and the number of students on the team with off task
behaviors presenting challenges for instruction.
(g) A negative relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the perceived number of students on the team who read below grade
level, and between job satisfaction of a beginning teacher and the perceived
number of students on the team who read below grade level.
(h) A negative relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the perceived number of students on the team who read 2 years below
grade level, and between job satisfaction of a beginning teacher and the
perceived number of students on the team who read 2 years below grade
level.
10


(i) A negative relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the perceived number of students on the team who have Attention
Deficit Disorder (ADD), and between job satisfaction of a beginning teacher
and the perceived number of students on the team who have Attention
Deficit Disorder (ADD).
Definitions
Beginning teacher -- a teacher new to the education profession
who is in his/her first year of teaching.
Teacher general efficacy -- a teachers perception of the extent to
which he/she can affect student learning.
Teacher self efficacy a teachers perception of her/his own
ability to help students learn, to see that her/his efforts make a difference for
students, and to maintain confidence in her/his own behavior in face of
difficulties. Often throughout the literature, teacher self-efficacy and
personal efficacy are used interchangeably depending on the preference of
the individual researcher. For the purpose of this study, teacher self-efficacy
will be the term of preference.
Middle school team a group of core academic teachers who
have a daily common planning time and who share the same group of
students.
Effective team a small number of people with a high degree of
interdependence in which all members of the group take responsibility for
committing to the overall group effectiveness, for dealing with inevitable
11


problems, and for accomplishing the purpose of the team.
Common Mission -- all teachers sharing a common goal of student
success and achievement.
Collaboration teachers working together, recognizing and
accessing the expertise of one another, providing resources for each other,
and learning from one another in order to reach their common mission.
Cohesiveness -- the sense of the social and human dimensions of
the team that create a unified group. Aspects of cohesiveness are trust,
respect, concern for each other as individuals.
Shared Decision Making members of a team have the
autonomy to work, together collectively to solve problems, strategize
situations, plan interdisciplinary units, set priorities for their students, and
agree on common team policies and procedures.
Informal mentor -- a teacher who supports a new teacher (mentee)
through the sharing of knowledge and experience and is willing to teach,
sponsor, encourage, counsel, and befriend the new teacher.
12


Theoretical Framework
The conceptual framework for this study is based on the model in
Figure 1.1:
Figure 1.1. Model for beginning teacher success.


13


The model in Table 1.1 is based on a model for expectation for
personal efficacy as presented by Bandura in 1977 in his book Social
Learning Theory.
The independent variables considered in this study were (a)
perceived effective middle school teaming which has a common mission,
collaboration, cohesiveness, and shared decision making; (b) gender; (c)
the mentoring support provided by the district; (d) the building administrator
support; (e) quality of preservice teacher preparation; (f) the perceived
number of hours the academic team met on a weekly basis; (g) the
perceived number of students with off task behaviors presenting a challenge
for instruction; (h) the perceived number of students reading below grade
level; (i) the perceived number of students reading 2 years below grade
level; and 0) the perceived number of students with Attention Deficit
Disorder (ADD). Other independent variables that will be considered in this
study which are related to the new teachers self-efficacy are the teachers
(a) age, (b) educational degree held, and (c) size of team on which they are
attached. The dependent variables are the teachers (a) self-efficacy and (b)
satisfaction with teaching. The sample population for this study was new
middle school teachers to the education profession during the 1998-99
school year.
14


Method
This study was designed to examine the relationship of new teachers
efficacy level and job satisfaction with the support they receive from the
middle school team to which they are assigned.
Middle school teachers from three school districts in the Denver
Metropolitan area who were new to the profession and assigned to a core
academic team were given a questionnaire five times (August, October,
January, March, and May) throughout the 1998-99 school year. The
questionnaire collected data on self-efficacy, effective teams, and job
satisfaction, using a five-point Likert Scale.
Subjects for this study were contacted personally by holding a
meeting with all new teachers hired for the 1998-99 school year at each
districts new teacher induction in August, 1998. At this meeting, the new
teachers were given the initial self-efficacy questionnaire. In October,
January, March, and May each participant was asked to complete the full
instrument with the primary scales (teacher self-efficacy, effective teams, and
job satisfaction) included. Individual codes were used to match the results
of each of the participants questionnaires throughout the school year.
Through the assigned coding process, four teachers were identified:
two teachers whose efficacy levels increased during the school year, one
participant whose efficacy level was low, and one participant whose efficacy
level was around the mean. These four individuals were contacted in the
Spring of 1999 to seek agreement to participate in two open-ended
15


interviews, one mid-year and the other at the end of the school year. The
interviews were tape recorded and transcribed. The data from each
interview was analyzed according to key issues of support or lack of support
that occurred during the participants' first year of teaching. Information from
these four face-to-face interviews were used as supporting data for the
results of the quantitative study.
Structure of the Study
This study is organized in the standard thesis format. The first chapter
provides an introduction to the topic and gives the rationale and background
of the problem. The second chapter reviews the literature and previous
research on teacher self-efficacy, effective teams, beginning teachers, and
mentors. Chapter 3 describes the methods used to conduct the study. The
findings are presented in chapter 4, and the conclusions and
recommendations for further study are delineated in chapter 5.
16


CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF RELATED RESEARCH
This chapter presents an extensive review of the literature as it relates
to the three primary areas of emphasis for this current study: beginning
teacher issues, teacher self-efficacy, and effective middle school teams.
Each section of this chapter discusses current research in one of these
specific fields. Information on the teacher as an informal mentor and the
teachers sense of community are presented as secondary areas of
emphasis within one of these primary areas of focus. Models for both
teacher self-efficacy and mentoring are provided.
Beginning Teacher Issues
Teachers new to education often struggle through their first few years
of teaching. Frequently problematic areas for the novice teacher are poor
discipline, poor classroom management, limited strategies to individualize
instruction, and insufficient lesson plan resources and ideas. Before they
begin teaching, the new teachers perceptions are positive with little
indication of worry, yet they are faced with reality shock their first year
in the classroom (Applegate, et al., 1977; Felder, Hollis, Piper, & Houston,
1979). They experience an inability to control class, demonstration of
unexpressed anger, difference in expectations for students (Applegate et
17


al., 1977, p. 19). The most typical problem of novice teachers is classroom
discipline (Veeman, 1984; Bullough, et al., 1989; Reynolds, 1992 ).
Within the first year of teaching a person forms her/his feelings of
confidence, success, and satisfaction (Applegate, et al., 1977; Bullough,
1989; Bullough, et al., 1989; Caccia, 1996). The first year of teaching
abounds with new experiences, frustrations, and fears. Applegate, and his
colleagues (1977), found in their investigation that beginning teachers faced
situations for which they had not been prepared. Most were challenged to
control their classroom, while their expectations for students were different
from the experienced teacher. The major source of concern for the first-year
teacher was her/his inability to make and uphold decisions. The
conclusions drawn from Applegates study are that it is important for new
teachers to gain confidence and bridge the gap between expectations and
realities (Applegate, et al., 1977, p. 34). Their study went further to
conclude that the determining factor that will help the first-year teacher gain
confidence and bridge this needed gap is their interactions with other
colleagues.
These relationships with fellow teachers provides either feelings of
success, satisfaction, belongingness, and acceptance," or feelings of
failure, dissatisfaction, isolation, and rejection" (Applegate, et al., 1977, pp.
29-30). Thus, the development of supportive, positive relationships is vital
for the first-year teachers confidence and belief in her/him self as a teacher.
Opportunities for colleagial interaction are vital for the beginning teachers
individual survival and increase in confidence. These relationships can
18


sway a first-year teachers overall experience, feelings, and perceptions
about the profession and their individual ability as a teacher (Applegate, et
a!., 1977).
First-year problems
Teaching involves two primary abilities -- the sharing of one's own
knowledge for the development of student achievement and building
interpersonal rapport with students (Lortie, 1992). Teachers are continually
seeking techniques and strategies to accomplish each. In encouraging the
seeking of knowledge for learning, teachers seek creative ways for students
to understand concepts and apply information. But too often the rapport that
is established with students impacts the degree of success of the first.
Teachers are continually looking for ways by which they can penetrate the
obstacles that often hinder a student from learning.
The first-year teacher has received training in the discipline of
instruction, planning lessons, designing activities to support their lesson's
objective, actively engaging students in learning. Yet, the interpersonal
interactions with students are not as easily taught or learned. These skills
are developed over time and failure to develop them can potentially block
the progress of the actual purpose of becoming a teacher imparting
knowledge to others. Not realizing the impact of interpersonal interactions
with students on learning, novice teachers often face bewilderment and
frustration in their initial teaching experience. Muller-Fohrbrodt, Cloetta, and
19


Dann (as cited in Veenman, 1984) identified five distinct areas of reality
shock for first-year teachers. These progressive stages were
1. Perceptions of problems: This category includes subjectively
experienced problems and pressures, complaints about work
load, stress, psychological and physical complaints.
2. Changes of behavior: Changes in teaching behavior contrary
to ones own beliefs because of external pressures.
3. Changes of attitudes: Changes in belief systems (e.g. a shift
from progressive to conservative attitudes with respect to
teaching methods).
4. Changes of personality: This category refers to changes in the
emotional domain (e.g., lability-stability) and self-concept.
5. Leaving the teaching position: The disillusion may be so great,
that the beginning teacher leaves the profession early.
(Veenman, 1984, p. 144).
Ron Adams and Carl Martrays (1980) findings strongly supported
Veenmans assertion that the most seriously perceived problem area of
beginning teachers across a wide variety of countries was classroom
discipline. Adams and Martray looked in depth at longitudinal data
collected by Western Kentucky Universitys Teacher Preparation Evaluation
Program. Their purpose was to provide more consistent and reliable
measurements of teachers perceived problems. The following seven factors
of perceived problems of teachers emerged from Adams and Martrays
20


work: (a) efficiency, (b) support, (c) invigoration, (d) control, (e) inclusion, (f)
nurturance, and (g) influencing (Adams & Martray, 1980).
Classroom management and discipline dominate the reality for the
novice teacher (Wey, 1951; Hermanowicz, 1965; Applegate, et al., 1977;
Adams & Martray, 1980; Fogarty, Wang, & Creek, 1982; and Bullough &
Knowles, 1990). Walking a fine line between providing a clear structured
environment where students understand the expectations, providing
consistency for these expectations and behaviors, and developing rapport
with students where students know the teacher cares about them as
individuals is difficult and complicated. Fogarty, Wang, and Creek (1982)
found that first-year teachers tend to focus on disruptive behaviors most
frequently, suggesting that beginning teachers are sensitive to student
behaviors that will potentially disrupt their planned presentation" (Fogarty et
al., 1982, p. 23). They also found that beginning teachers were not
consistent in implementing classroom management procedures or
reprimanding non-compliant students.
Career decisions
The attrition rate of educators is alarming and has created concern
not only among school districts across the country, but also in state
legislatures. In the first to the second years of the teaching career, 30% of
the teachers do not remain in the field; by their fifth or sixth year, another 20-
30% of the same cohort have defected" (Rosenholtz, 1989, p. 422). The
determining factor for career change within the first few years is the novice
21


teachers actual experience in the classroom. Veenman (1984) found
consistently that the more problems beginning teachers encountered, the
more likely they were to leave teaching ... (Veenman, 1984, p. 156). K.
Ryans (1979) work in this arena supports the conclusion that the reason for
leaving the profession is reality shock. Ryan states that at the
heart of the new teacher's anxiety about discipline is a series of
uncertainties .. compounded by the fact that new teachers have had little
opportunity managing other people .and dont know how to confront
student misbehavior (1979, p. 40). Ryan notes these issues affect the first-
year teacher's attitude.
The beginning teachers attitude initially may be positive towards
education, influencing the success of students at first, but around the third
and fourth month of their first year, beginning teachers begin to question
their decision to be a teacher. Typically, their attitude stabilizes in the later
part of that beginning year (Applegate, et al., 1977; Ryan, 1979), but it will
never get as high as (it was) during teacher training" (Ryan, 1979, p. 45).
More recently research has shown that this decline in a teachers attitude
towards her/his own abilities is dependent on several factors -- age, prior
experience, opportunities for collaboration with fellow colleagues within their
first assignment, and the accessibility of resources within the school
(Chester & Beaudin, 1996).
An example of the extreme highs and lows of the first year mentioned
by Ryan was also noted in a case study by Bullough and Knowles (1990).
Bullough and Knowles examined a first-year teachers experience through a
22


case study of Lyle. Bullough and Knowles noted that Lyle was initially
overwhelmed with situations that required his immediate and consistent
responses. His first priority became classroom management and control.
Lyle went from wanting to be the caring, understanding teacher who is well
liked to a tough disciplinarian. Lyle experienced continual emotional
turmoil within the first two months of school, questioning his career choice by
Christmas break. He began to consider other career options.
Isolation
Not only is frustration over the lack of classroom management skills a
deterrent for the new teacher remaining in the educational field, but also the
inherent problem of isolation is accentuated during the first year (Felder, et
al., 1979; Rosenholtz, 1989; Lortie, 1992; McLaughlin, 1993). Most
schools are characterized by isolated working conditions where teachers
seldom see or hear each other teach. Colleagues rarely communicate
about instructional matters, especially by requesting or offering professional
advice and assistance to each other in efforts to improve (Rosenholtz,
1989, p. 429). For the first-year teacher, this isolation is even more
detrimental, as this is a crucial time for receiving needed feedback from
colleagues and building self-esteem. Lortie (1992, p. 59) termed this
feeling of isolation, the Robinson Crusoe syndrome." Lortie compares the
desolate, loneliness of a teacher to Defoes main character, Crusoe.
For our beginner, like Crusoe, assaults the challenge of survival
alone. As with Defoes hero, the beginning teacher may find that
prior experience supplies him with some alternatives for action, but
his crucial learning comes from his personal errors; he fits
23


together specific solutions and specific problems into some kind of
whole and at times finds leeway for the expression of personal
tastes. Working largely alone, he cannot make the specifics of his
working knowledge base explicit, nor need he, as his victories are
private. (Lortie, 1992, p. 59)
Schools are structured in such a way that teachers plan alone and
provide instruction behind closed doors with thirty students. Though this
structural issue provides a barrier to collaboration among faculties, another
primary reason for teachers to perpetuate that isolation is the fear of others
perception about their professional skills and abilities. They are concerned
about being viewed as professionally inadequate (Rosenholtz, 1989).
As a result of this isolation, teachers, particularly first-year teachers,
convince themselves that they are alone, that few others suffer similar
teaching dilemmas and are in need of colleagial assistance, and that many
classroom problems simply have no solutions (Rosenholtz, 1989).
Needed support
New teachers, more than experienced teachers, need the support of a
cadre of staff members with whom they can interact, network, and exchange
ideas daily. Without this support, these new teachers may become
overwhelmed and frustrated. Conclusions from case studies of three
beginning teachers conducted by Carol Etheridge (1988) indicated that
beginning first-year teachers see a need for a support system. Due to the
structure of most secondary (junior high schools and high schools) schools,
this is not possible or available. They are forced to become independent
24


and make independent action decisions" (pp. 71-72). This lack of
opportunity for peer support and collaboration in a traditional junior high
structure tends to add to the discouragement and frustration. The first-year
teacher quickly identifies the astonishing difference between student
teaching and real teaching. With this discovery, first-year teachers face
a survival stage of teaching (Ryan, 1986). They begin to struggle to
maintain their professional life through serious discipline and classroom
management issues. The typical pattern is for teachers to be lulled into
complacency by what they perceive as early successes and then to work
themselves into difficulties during one of the early months of the school year
(Ryan, 1986, p. 14). Yet, the successful schools are ones that have
managed to create a climate and design a structure by which teachers do
not feel as isolated, where teaching is considered a collective rather than
an individual enterprise; requests and offers of assistance among
colleagues are frequent; and reasoned intentions, informed choices, and
collective actions set the conditions under which teachers improve
instructionally" (Rosenholtz, 1989, p. 430).
The new teachers attitude about teaching and themselves as
teachers is notably influenced by specific school practices -- collaboration
with other professionals, support by an instructional leader, and availability
of resources (Chester & Beaudin, 1996). When the novice teacher is a
member of such a learning structure, they realize the importance of sharing
ideas with others and seek colleagial support and/or advice more
regularly than the first-year teacher who was not trained in a collaborative
25


atmosphere. If the novice teacher sees experienced teachers sharing and
offering ideas and help to others within their building, the beginning teacher
will accept the collaborative culture and accept that this is the way a teacher
learns. Ultimately the beginning teacher assumes that the sharing of advice
amongst colleagues is actually a necessary step in gaining instructional
goals and becoming a professional. The habit of new teachers becomes
one of regularly seeking colleagial resources (Rosenholtz, 1989).
Mentoring
Mentoring has become recognized as an effective way to help
beginning teachers to grow and develop. It has become a credible way to
guide and advise first-year teachers (Cabrera, 1990). This has been seen in
the past ten years as states across the country have mandated that
mentoring be a component of school districts' induction requirements for
beginning/new teachers. Cohen and Galbraith (1995) point out that
mentoring is a one-to-one interactive process of guided developmental
learning based on the premise that the participants will have reasonably
frequent contact and sufficient interactive time together. Mentors contribute
their knowledge proficiency, and experience to assist mentees who are
working toward the achievement of their own objectives (Cohen &
Galbraith, 1995 p.5). These same concepts were brought out by Lois Thies-
Sprinthall in 1984, in a study of classroom supervising teachers. The key
components mentioned by Thies-Sprinthall and later by Cohen & Galbraith
are (a) the sharing of knowledge and experience towards the same
26


objective and (b) frequent and sufficient opportunities for one-on-one
communication and interaction between mentor and mentee.
Anderson & Shannon (1995) state that the functions of a mentor are
to teach, sponsor, encourage, counsel, and befriend. The model in Figure
2.1, designed by Anderson and Shannon (1995, p. 32), addresses the
relationship, functions and activities of a mentor and beginning teacher.
Figure 2.1. Mentoring model.

Cara
27


Though Anderson and Shannon have formalized a model of
mentoring that applies across professions, it also supports an informal
mentor relationship. The same elements seen in the formal mentor program
are also needed as professionals work with, coach, and are undesignated
mentors for people new to their profession. Informal mentors are role
models for the new teacher; they befriend the novice, encouraging,
teaching, supporting, confirming, and caring. They are available for the
needed support with successes and challenges. They are willing to give of
their time to share lessons, observe and be observed by the first-year
teacher.
In the teaching profession, teachers have noted that it is this informal
support of colleagues that, as first-year teachers, they benefited the most.
Informal support included conversations with staff members, family, and
friends, as well as professional inservices and training (Grant & Zelchner,
1981). Though informal help by fellow colleagues was identified as the
most beneficial form of support by Grant and Zelchner's (1981) investigation
involving 72 teachers, it was also noted that teachers needed more
structured assistance within the school. Structure needed to be given to the
informal interactions with colleagues in order for the communication to
actually occur. Without a structured time in the day for communicating with
colleagues the academic needs of students, these discussions seldom
occur and are primarily dependent on a chance hit or miss happening.
28


Sense of self and success
Not only is the supportive, collaborative environment necessary, but it
also helps to foster a consistent sense of self," allowing a more consistent
behavior towards students (Bullough, et al., 1989). Bullough (1989) found
that though first-year teachers self-concepts changed slightly and they
periodically questioned their choice of careers, the teaching experience
usually helped beginning teachers realize clearer who they were as
educators. With this clearer sense of self, the first-year teacher was able to
become more consistent with classroom management and interactions with
students. Being able to face and handle the daily challenges in the
classroom is influenced by teachers sense of themselves as teachers able
to help students be successful -- their self-efficacy.
Self-Efficacv as Related to Teacher Behavior
First-year teachers are faced with new situations and little support.
They are given a position and thrown into it to either sink or swim. They
begin the year with high hopes, a positive attitude, and determination.
Within a short amount of time, they are faced with reality. They struggle
without the support of their supervising teacher and with the evaluation
process hovering over them. By winter break, many begin to question their
decision to be a teacher. They often spend most of their first year
experimenting with the few strategies in dealing with students known from
29


their limited experience. Some of these strategies succeed, while most fail
(Bullough, 1989; Etheridge, 1988; Varah, Theune, & Parker, 1986; Chester
& Beaudin, 1996). The major source of concern is their own competence in
the inconsistencies of handling discipline and the inability to make and
uphold decisions (Applegate et al., 1977; Felder et al., 1979). Do these
experiences and frustrations affect the teachers confidence (her/his teacher
self-efficacy) in being able to solve problems in the face of adversity?
A teachers self-efficacy is the basis for her/his confidence in the
classroom, and the level of ones self-confidence will influence her/his
success as a teacher and ultimately job satisfaction. Bandura (1986)
suggested that the strongest predictor of human motivation and behavior is
one's self-efficacy beliefs. Mumane, Singer, Willett, Kemple, and Olsen
(1991) also addressed the issue of job satisfaction with new teachers.
Mumane, and colleagues, noted that teachers are most likely to leave the
profession during their early years in the classroom, the first year being the
most risky" (pp.59-60). New teachers perception of themselves as teachers
definitely affects how they act within the classroom and toward their students
(Bullough, et al; 1989). Thus, it is essential for schools to provide
opportunity to nurture the first-year teacher to success.
Efficacy defined
For the past twenty years, researchers have looked at effects of
teacher efficacy on instruction, student achievement, and job satisfaction. A
teachers self-efficacy influences her/his abilities to make decisions, as
30


well as her/his perception of her/his ability to handle each individual
situation (Bandura, 1977b, Ashton, et al., 1983; Bandura, 1986). Bandura
defined self-efficacy as a cognitive mechanism that regulates behavior. A
sense of self-efficacy develops as an individual acquires a conviction of
personal competence. The strength of an individuals sense of self-efficacy
determines whether he or she will initiate and sustain behavior in face of
difficulties (Bandura, 1977b).
A teachers self-efficacy will influence how resilient he/she will be
when presented with the myriad of trials that the beginning teacher faces. If
a person perceives that he/she has the ability to create a specific outcome,
then that person will tend to persist in the situation. Yet, if a person does not
believe he/she has the ability to perform the needed behaviors to produce a
specified outcome, he/she often will not try or continue to persist in trying
(Gibson & Oembo, 1984). If a teacher has no previous experience with the
situation, her/his self-efficacy will be important in determining her/his
behavior (Ashton & Webb, 1986).
Self-efficacy influences a persons judgment of how well he/she will
perform necessary behaviors needed for particular situations (Bandura,
1982). In fact, general and personal efficacy have emerged as the two
strongest predictors of teaching commitment (Coladarci, 1992). In his
research, Bandura found that people with low self-efficacy tend to lessen
their efforts or give up altogether in the task, and they focus on their
deficiencies and imagine possible difficulties. Inefficacious people react to
challenges due to self-doubt about their ability to do what is required or they
31


seriously expect their efforts not to change in the environment. People with
high self-efficacy will have a high performance level, make a greater attempt
to overcome the challenge of the situation, and make more of an effort when
faced with obstacles (Bandura, 1982). Ashton and Webb (1986) give a good
description of teachers with low and strong sense of efficacy. Teachers
with low self-efficacy doubt their own ability to influence student learning,
give up when faced with difficulties, are preoccupied with their perceived
inadequacies, and have a higher level of stress due to their obsessions with
their limitations. On the other hand, teachers with high self-efficacy believe
that they do have an effect on student learning, chose challenging activities
to support their lessons, work harder when faced with difficult challenges,
and have a passion for teaching.
Bandura (1982) went further to assess the relationship of others on
one's perception of self-efficacy. He found a substantial rise in self-efficacy
when a person has a model, as well as when he/she experiences repeated
successes. In Banduras study subjects self-efficacy levels were measured
during several phases of being presented with threatening activities.
Bandura found that models provide the needed support for a person through
observing strategies of dealing with challenging and/or threatening
situations. Working with someone who can help prepare a person to cope
with a new situation will often result in a higher perceived self-efficacy level.
Self-efficacy affects both a teachers judgment in strategies and
her/his motivation in prevailing under adverse conditions. Sense of efficacy
is a critical construct in understanding motivation, because it influences the
32


nature and extent of behavior, the amount of effort expended and degree of
persistence maintained in the face of difficulty" (Ashton, & Webb, 1982,
P- 13).
Teacher Self-efficacv
Two distinct dimensions have been identified by researchers -- a
teacher's general sense of teaching efficacy and a teachers specific sense
of teaching self-efficacy: These two independent levels of efficacy were
based on Banduras model of efficacy. Teaching efficacy is the belief that
in general a teacher's ability to bring about change does not depend on the
student's external factors, such as home environment, family demographics,
parental expectations, and socioeconomic status. Teaching self-efficacy is
a teachers perception of her/his own personal skills and abilities to bring
about student learning (Ashton & Webb, 1986; Dembo & Gibson, 1985).
Teaching efficacy becomes the general term used for efficacy of all
teachers who perceive they can actually have an influence on students
learning, whereas self-efficacy is specific to an individual teacher's
perception of her/his own ability to influence student learning within her/his
classroom. This dimension of teacher efficacy refers to individuals
assessment of their own teaching competence. Teachers perceptions of
their own teaching abilities influence their choice of classroom management
and instructional strategies (Ashton & Webb, 1986, p.4). According to
Ashton and Webbs (1986) model of teachers sense of efficacy (Figure 2.2),
the most influential leverage for motivating a teacher and changing her/his
33


behavior is each teacher's personal and/or self-efficacy. This is seen in the
model as the basis for determining a teacher's beliefs about actions that
lead to specific outcomes, response-outcome contingencies.
Figure 2.2. Teachers Sense of Efficacy: The Multidimensional Construct.
(Ashton, & Webb, 1982)
General Beliefs
about
Response-Outcome
Specific Beliefs Generalized Beliefs
about about
Teachers Ability to Perceived Self-Efficacy
Motivate Students Personal Causation
Specific Beliefs about Personal
Competence in Motivating Students
A strong relationship exists between a teacher's control of her/his
classroom and her/his sense of self-efficacy (Gibson & Dembo, 1984;
Veenman, 1984; and Lee, Dedrick, & Smith, 1991). Teachers with high
efficacy will be more likely to have more effective classroom management
34


abilities, while teachers with low levels of efficacy are more defensive and
depend on the administration to be in charge of discipline (Veenman, 1984).
In an extensive investigation in 1985, Dembo and Gibson collected
data from 208 elementary teachers using their Teacher Efficacy Scale and
found a significant correlation between teacher efficacy and classroom
organization, instruction, and teacher feedback provided to students who are
struggling. Their results indicated that students were on task more often
and were brought back to task when necessary by teachers with high
teaching efficacy and personal teaching efficacy, where teachers with low
efficacy levels when working with a small group of students allowed the
remainder of the class to be off-task. Teachers who perceived themselves
with low teacher self-efficacy were not able to be flexible while working with
a small group of students if their planned structure was interrupted. On the
other hand, teachers with high teacher self-efficacy could adapt to
interruptions in their routines while working with small groups of students.
High-efficacious teachers had the skills to keep students who were working
independently on task and at the same time work with a small group of
students, thus maintaining a higher level of on-task behaviors for the class
as a whole. Due to their ability to work with small groups of
students and at the same time monitor students working independently,
high-efficacious teachers allowed more time for group instruction and had a
higher level of overall student engagement (Dembo & Gibson, 1985) .
35


Self-efficacv and student achievement
Ashton and Webb (1982) began a series of investigations which
related Banduras work specifically to the educational setting. Originally
their work focused on the relationship of teachers' sense of efficacy and
student achievement. These first sets of studies determined teacher
efficacy ratings by responses on the following two questions: (1) When it
comes right down to it, a teacher really cant do much because most of a
student's motivation and performance depends on his or her home
environment," and (2) If I really try hard, I can get through to even the most
difficult or unmotivated students (Ashton & Webb, 1982).
As a result of these two questions, it can be determined whether a
teacher has a low sense of self-efficacy or a high sense of self-efficacy.
Teachers with a high sense of self-efficacy have higher expectations for their
students and work harder than teachers with a low sense of self-efficacy,
and thus students who have teachers with a high sense of self-efficacy
perform better on achievement tests (Ashton & Webb, 1986). This becomes
a process of reciprocal determinism in which positive reinforcement of
student academic performance in turn affects the teachers sense of self-
efficacy, creating a reinforcing cycle. This cycle is seen in Figure 2.3, The
Critical Construct in a Motivational Model of Teacher Behavior and Student
Achievement.
36


Figure 2.3. The Critical Construct in a Motivation Model of Teacher Behavior
and Student Achievement. (Ashton, et al., 1983, p. 16)
Teachers' Sense
of Efficacy

Teacher Behavior Student Behavior
-Warm, accepting response to students -Acceptance of student initiative -Attention to all students indviduai needs Skidant* ^ Sense of ^ Efficacy ^ -Student enthusiasm -Student initiation of interaction with teacher

Student
Achievement
In a later study (1986) Ashton and Webb compared teachers self-
efficacy in a middle school interdisciplinary setting and the perceived self -
efficacy of teachers in a junior high structure. Their research concentrated
on teacher self-efficacy as it related to teacher behaviors in three primary
areas: (1) relationships with students, (2) classroom management
strategies, and (3) instructional methods (Ashton & Webb, 1986). Patricia
37


Evans (1989) also conducted a study of the perceived personal efficacy and
teacher efficacy of teachers on a middle school team as compared to
teachers in a junior high setting. The results from Evans investigation
indicated that teachers in a middle school setting with interdisciplinary teams
and an advisor/advisee program have higher teacher efficacy and personal
teaching efficacy (Evans, 1989). This conclusion supported Ashton &
Webbs findings that teachers sense of efficacy is context-specific. It varies
with specific characteristics of the teaching situation (Ashton & Webb, 1986,
p. 13). The middle school teaming structure would support the teacher with
a colleagial, supportive setting.
The result of the 1986 Ashton and Webb study was that teachers with
low self-efficacy levels demonstrated a lack of trust with low-achieving
students, a lower comfort level in low-achieving classrooms, an emphasis on
control in discipline matters, a reliance on administrative authority in
discipline matters, a significant de-emphasis on instruction, and a tendency
to ignore the low achiever and actually remove them from the classroom. In
contrast, Ashton and Webb discovered that highly efficacious teachers
maintained a strong belief that all students can learn, an emphasis on
building student relationships, a reliance on their own authority in the
classroom, and a commitment to treat ail students fairly and consistently
(Ashton & Webb, 1986).
38


Efficacy and a sense of community
In a study of the organizational structure in high schools, Newmann,
Rutter, and Smith (1989) found that the sense of teacher efficacy was
related to knowledge and coordination of curriculum through sharing of
information with colleagues. This type of collegiality directly reduced the
teachers feelings of isolation and enhanced their sense of community. The
need for collaboration with fellow colleagues was also supported by Ashton
and Webb (1986, p. 19): Strong colleagial support may bolster and sustain
teachers sense of efficacy, enabling teachers to be more effective with their
students. Both efficacy and a sense of community could be maximized by
teachers knowledge of and coordination with colleagues courses, and
support for innovative teaching (Newmann, et al., p. 236).
Several studies have addressed the relationship of teacher efficacy
and job satisfaction. Lee, Dedrick, and Smith (1991) expanded on the
Newmann, Rutter, and Smith study specifically by determining the link
among school organization and the self-efficacy and job satisfaction of
secondary school teachers. Lee, Dedrick, and Smith, found a direct
correlation between high teacher self-efficacy and (1) a high level of
classroom management control; (2) a strong sense of community within the
school; (3) the teachers control over their own teaching, and (4) the strong
principal as leader of the school (Lee, et al., 1991). Lee, et ai., also
determined that the strongest predictor of teacher efficacy is community ...
39


in which human relationships are supportive (You can count on most staff
members to help, a great deal of cooperative effort, a big family [taken
from instrument designed for study]), where teachers share beliefs and
values about.. .central mission of the school,' and where they feel accepted
and respected [taken from instrument designed for study]) (Lee, et al.,
1991, p. 204).
Through a study of 364 elementary teachers in the state of Maine,
Coladarci (1992) found that the strongest predictors of job satisfaction and
commitment to the teaching profession were general and personal efficacy.
Not surprisingly, Coladarci determined that other things being equal, a
greater commitment to teaching would be expected among teachers who
believe student achievement can be influenced through skillful instruction,
who have confidence in their own ability to influence student achievement,
and who assume personal responsibility for the level of student
achievement they witness in their classrooms (Coladarci, 1992, p. 334).
The need for collaboration and a sense of community was specifically
addressed for new teachers in urban Connecticut districts by Mitchell
Chester and Barbara Beaudin (1996). Chester and Beaudins study
consisted of 173 new teachers and determined their change in self-efficacy
beliefs within the first year of teaching. This investigation showed a
relationship among teacher efficacy beliefs and the teachers age, prior
experience of the teacher, opportunities for collaboration with other
professional staff members, supervisor attention to classroom performance,
and the availability of instructional resources (Chester & Beaudin, 1996).
40


The results of this study emphasizes the importance of colleagial support to
new teachers in urban districts.
Schools can influence teachers feelings of efficacy and
interaction, when supervisors attend to the instructional dimension
of teachers' roles, and when consideration is given to how
resources are allocated. Schools that offer opportunities for
teachers to reflect on teaching and learning with their colleagues
and for administrators and teachers to collaborate and
communicate, as well as support the use of instructional
resources, foster more positive changes in self-efficacy beliefs of
both novice and experienced newly hired teachers than schools
where such opportunities are limited. (Chester & Beaudin, 1996, p.
253)
Effective Teams
Organizing teachers in core, academic teams that share the same
students is a primary characteristic of middle school philosophy. Aspects of
the middle school teaming concept have been the focal point of studies and
research projects for the past fifteen years. When teachers are organized
into teams and given common planning time on a daily basis, teachers seem
confident of their decisions about students, are able to support each other in
working with students, feel less isolated, provide support in parent-teacher
conferences with a difficult student or parent, give support on classroom
management issues, and help with problems in the classroom
(Erb, 1987, pp. 4-6). Husband and Short (1994, p.11) found that, when
experienced teachers were placed on teams, they reported a
41


renewed confidence and satisfaction with their teaching and felt satisfied
and motivated by their work as they saw it as more worthwhile.
Effective Middle School Teams
Middle school teams can be composed of two, three, four, or five
persons who all share a common group of students. This group of teachers
generally comprise the core, academic team in which the basic subjects of
language arts, math, science, and social studies are taught. Depending
on the school and its structure, reading could be included as a separate core
subject or taught in conjunction with language arts. Each team should have
a designated meeting time each day outside of each teacher's individual
planning time. The team should also have a designated place to meet each
day.
An effective middle school team is defined by George and Stevenson
(1988) as one characterized by (a) working together to design
interdisciplinary curriculum; (b)having a monthly calendar of major team
events, tests, and projects; (c) incorporating regular parental
communication; (d) providing positive rewards and incentives for students;
(e) establishing consistent discipline policies and procedures; and (f)
discussing strategies in addressing individual student needs. An effective
team is also one which uses their daily team planning wisely, using an
agenda and keeping accurate records (George & Stevenson, 1988).
George and Stevensons attributes of an effective team are primarily
management characteristics. Though these elements of an effective middle
42


school team are necessary, a team can have all of these components and
still not be effective. Interpersonal relationships, as well as organizational
strategies, are necessary for a group of people to work together effectively.
Determining if a team works effectively together depends on more than just
product activities as generated by George and Stevenson. It is more
complex. So,what is an effective middle school team? This question has
only been addressed through research at a surface level.
Though minimal research has actually been conducted on effective
teams within the educational system, the school-based literature does allude
to characteristics essential to an effective team. The same reoccurring
themes continue to emerge throughout the literature on elements of an
effective middle school teams -- (a) shared common mission (Lyons, 1994;
Kruse & Louis, 1995; Gordon, 1995), (b) collaboration (Ashton & Webb,
1986; Lyons, 1994; Kruse & Louis, 1995; Gordon, 1995; Chester &
Beaudin, 1996), (c) cohesiveness (Lyons, 1994; Kruse & Louis, 1995), and
(d) shared decision making (Ashton & Webb, 1986; Gordon, 1995). These
four characteristics have been identified in conclusions and summaries of
investigations centered on other information around the middle school
structure. In order to establish a basis of elements of effective teams, one
must turn to the extensive literature in the corporate arena.
43


Effective teams outside of the educational arena
The research on effective middle school teams is consistent with the
literature on effective teams from the broader organizational sense. The
Lotus Institute (Lotus, 1997, p. 8) has identified effective teams as ones with
clearly stated missions, roles, and responsibilities, supported by shared
meaning and values. Effective teams share expectations and are clearly
focused on their goals. They are flexible about change and continually
seek new strategies that go beyond traditional routines. At the same
time, they exhibit strong interpersonal bonds which support communication,
collaboration, trust, and appropriate conflict resolution (Church, 1996; Lotus,
1997; Russ-Eft, et al., 1997; Surviving, 1997; Willard, 1992). Examples of
characteristics of an effective team listed by the IBM Corporation in 1992 are:
(a) Clear Purpose: The vision, mission, goal, or task of the team has
been defined and accepted by everyone; (b) Listening: Members
use effective listening techniques, such as questioning, paraphrasing
and summarizing; (c) Civilized disagreement: No signs of avoiding,
smoothing over, or suppressing conflict; (d) Consensus Decisions:
For important decisions, the goal is substantial but not necessarily
unanimous agreement through open discussion of everyone ideas,
avoidance of formal voting, or easy compromises; (e) Open
Communications: Team members feel free to express their feelings
on the tasks as well as on the groups' operation with few hidden
agendas; and (f) Style Diversity: The team has a broad spectrum of
team-player types including members who emphasize attention to
task, goal setting, focus on process, and question about how the team
is functioning. (Willard, 1992, pp. 13-14)
44


Extensive research on effective teams in the educational world has
yet to be conducted. Yet, a relationship can be seen between the identified
characteristics of effective middle school teams summarized earlier and the
characteristics identified through specific research on effective teams in the
business world by the IBM Corporation. By integrating verified research of
the corporate community on effective teams and suggested indications of
effective teams within educational research, the following primary elements
of an effective middle school team have been inferred: (a) the core academic
team is focused on common goals (common mission); (b) they utilize the
expertise of each team members (collaboration); (c) they feel free to express
their ideas and feelings openly with the team as a whole, working
on interpersonal bonding (cohesiveness); (d) they continually reflect and
seek ways to improve as a team (shared decision making); and (e) they are
looked up to by other staff members in the school as an effective team.
Common Mission
Effective teams work together with unified goals focused on student
learning. A team is defined as a group of individuals sharing a common
goal who must interact among themselves to perform their work (Lotus,
1997, p.2). The teachers of an effective middle school team know why they
are teachers, understand what their mission is, and agree on how they plan
to accomplish their goals. Thus, the members of the team are unified on the
primary mission of their collective work as teachers (Gordon, 1995; Kruse &
Louis, 1995). Teachers on a strong middle school team agree that their
45


primary mission is to help students. They all are realize that by working
together as professionals for the student, that student will experience a
higher degree of success. This belief system differs from the
departmentalized teams where teachers work together when prudent, yet do
not share the passion for the mission of serving students (Gordon, 1995).
The members of effective teams have a common mission that is focused on
students and student achievement. Through their work as a collective
group, the members of the team affirm common values centered on student
success.
In order to come to consensus on a common mission, the vision for
their students, and how to accomplish that vision, teachers need time to
process their individual beliefs and values with each other. They need a
time to continually contemplate and weigh other teammates values,
digesting how others beliefs fits with their own. They need time for reflective
dialogue in which teams are able to establish the basis of shared norms,
beliefs common values (Johnson, 1989; Dolan, 1994; Kruse & Louis, 1995).
This time is essential to the process of cultivating an effective team in the
business world, and especially in the educational world.
Collaboration
Teachers working together, recognizing and accessing the expertise
of one another in order to reach their common mission, is not the norm in
education. Teachers generally teach in isolation, possibly stopping once or
twice a month for an hour-long department meeting. Typically schools are
46


not organized to promote collaboration, and teacher interaction is
minimized.
Teachers working together, providing resources for each other,
sharing strategies and information, and learning from one another results in
the collaborative atmosphere needed for higher teacher self-efficacy, an
effective learning environment for student success, and positive experience
for first-year teachers. Little (1982) found that a primary feature of effective
schools was the fact that teachers shared teaching practices, received
feedback from other professionals about their instruction, planned,
designed, and evaluated materials as a group, and modeled teaching for
each other. This openness in seeking out fellow teachers as resources and
the willingness to share ideas is the collaborative environment needed for
an effective team. The key to setting the stage for collaboration to occur is
providing designated time for teachers to share, discuss, and learn from
each other, as seen in the middle school model.
Teachers who do not work in a collaborative environment exemplified
through the middle school structure often forego creative lessons and
objectives in order to survive. They do not have the support and consistent
encouragement from fellow professionals needed for best practices" in
teaching that take their students to a higher level of thinking. This was seen
in data analyzed by Chester and Beaudin in 1996. Chester and Beaudin's
study consisted of newly hired teachers in nine of the largest Connecticut
public school districts. A pair of surveys was administered with 173 novice
teachers, experienced teachers who had not previously taught in
47


Connecticut public schools, and experienced teachers who had moved from
another Connecticut public school. The preassessment was conducted in
September, 1989, during the first month of the teachers new job, and then a
follow-up was given in February, 1990, mid-way through the teachers first
year with their district.
The survey used centered on information about school practices,
cultures, and norms, plus the teachers' perception of their ability to compete
with influences outside of the school day, to access school resources, and to
influence student academic achievement. The three school practice
variables in this study were opportunity for collaboration, supervisor
attention to classroom performance, and the quality and availability of
resources, while the dependent variable was the teachers change in
perception of their self-efficacy (Chester & Beaudin, 1996).
Though Chester and Beaudin (1996) found that beginning teachers
self-efficacy perception tends to decline during their first year of teaching,
two teacher characteristics age and prior experience and three school
practices opportunities for collaboration with fellow colleagues, supervisor
support of classroom performance, and accessibility to instructional
resources influenced the amount of decline. Chester and Beaudin also
discovered that novice teachers who worked in highly collaborative settings
indicated a positive increase in efficacy from their baseline level, while new
teachers working in environments with low collaboration, experienced a
downward shift in efficacy from the baseline. Beginning teachers who were
assigned to schools in which they perceived high degrees of collaboration
48


among teachers and administrators reported substantially higher values of
change in self-efficacy beliefs than those who worked in schools with little
opportunity for collaboration with other adults (p. 251).
Cohesiveness
Cohesiveness is the sense of the social and human dimensions of the
team that create a unified group. Aspects of cohesiveness are trust, respect,
concern for each other as individuals and professionals; strong,
supportive peer relationships; and loyalty to one another (Kruse & Louis,
1995). The cohesiveness of a team is seen through interpersonal bonds
where social relationships within and outside of the work place merge (Van
Maanen & Barley, 1984). The team members feel strong ties to one another
(Lotus, 1997) and a sense of belongingness that enhance best work
practices (Surviving, 1997).
With a strong unity among the members of the teams comes the
sharing of responsibilities, problems, and frustrations with each other.
Cohesiveness within a team is cultivated by the feeling that fellow
teammates care about each other as individuals. These elements of a
cohesive team will lead to an openness to improve and help each other
improve as teachers (Ashton & Webb, 1986).
Shared Decision Making
Collaboration and cohesiveness lead to a higher level of cooperation,
ultimately resulting in shared-decision making opportunities among team
49


members (Erb & Doda, 1989; McLaughlin, 1993). Shared decision making
means that the members of a team have been given autonomy over their
tasks as teachers. They are given the license to decide team schedules,
delegate job responsibilities and tasks, solve problems which relate
specifically to their team members and students, address interpersonal
problems, and control team meetings and agendas (Stewart & Manz, 1995).
A sense of community is exemplified through shared decision making
as an element of an effective middle school team. This means that all team
members work together collectively to solve problems, strategize situations,
plan interdisciplinary units, set priorities for their students, and agree on
common team policies and procedures. Team members listen to each
other, and are open to others ideas, putting their own agendas aside. Not
only do teachers have more involvement in the process of decision making,
but also they tend to have greater influence over those decisions that most
directly affect their teaching" (Erb & Doda, 1989, p. 12). Generally this is
accomplished through a consensus model for problem-solving and making
decisions.
Sense of community and teacher efficacy
An effective middle school team, like an effective team in any
organization, exemplifies a collaborative culture, where teachers focus on
school goals, emphasis is placed on teacher learning through the sharing of
colleagial advice, and staff is engaged in experimentation and reflection
(Rosenholtz, Bassler, & Hoover-Demsey, 1986). Those who have access
50


to teacher networks, enriched professional roles, and colleagial work feel
more efficacious in gaining the knowledge they need to meet the need of
their students and more positive about staying in the profession" (Darling-
Hammond, 1996, p. 9). With these characteristics in place, an effective
middle school team has the basis for creating a professional community.
According to McLaughlin (1993), professional communities are cohesive,
highly colleagial environments ... in which teachers report a high level of
innovativeness, high levels of energy and enthusiasm, and support for
personal growth and learning (McLaughlin, 1993, p.94). Teachers who
experience a professional community have a higher level job satisfaction
and commitment to teaching and to all of their students.
The detriments to teacher isolation as discussed earlier are the lack of
communication with peers, little opportunity to seek professional advice or
assistance, and not being able to share successes, resulting in teachers
often believing that their issues and frustrations are not shared by other
educators. With this in mind, the need exists to develop a school community
in which adults model working together towards a common interest. A
school community is characterized by
1. A common set of activities that provides many occasions for
face-to-face interactions, and the potential for common
understandings, values, and expectations for behavior to
evolve (as cited from Van Maanen & Barkey, 1984);
2. Specific organizational structures that promote this, such as
time and expectations that people will gather and talk, small,
51


stable networks of teacher, etc. (as cited from Schein, 1985);
and
3. A core of shared values about what students should learn,
about how faculty and students should behave, and about the
shared aims to maintain and promote the community. Central
to a school community is an ethic of interpersonal caring that
permeates the life of teachers, students, and administrators (as
cited from Beck, 1992; Firestone & Resenclum, 1988;
Noddings, 1984). (Kruse & Louis, 1995, p. 16)
Bryk and Driscol (1988) found that schools with high ratings of
communal organization also had higher ratings of teacher efficacy and job
satisfaction. Creating a professional community within a school provides
benefits not only to staff members, but indirectly to students. The outcomes
of a strong sense of community are (a) an increase in teacher self-efficacy,
resulting in a boost of motivation, (b) an increase in job satisfaction, and (c) a
collective responsibility by all staff members for student achievement (Kruse
& Louis, 1995). Professional community can reinforce a collective sense of
efficacy as well as that of individuals" (p. 26). Doda, George, and McKevin
(1987) have shown that teaming has a direct effect on teacher efficacy. The
middle school teaming concept supports a positive self-concept, confidence,
and encouragement among teachers (Ashton & Webb, 1986; Doda et al.,
1987; Husband, & Short, 1994, pp. 11-12).
As discussed throughout this section, the sense of community is
reflected in the relationship between teachers and students in a middle
52


school. The middle school structure supports all aspects of teaming (i.e. a
daily common plan and groups of students scheduled with a common group
of core teachers) and provides the setting for a professional community.
Summary
Based on the review of the literature on beginning teacher research,
teacher self-efficacy research, and effective teams research, a strong
connection can be made between a teachers efficacy and the colleagial
environment in which teachers work. Ashton and Webb (1986), Ashton,
Webb and Doda (1983), Erb and Doda (1989), Chester and Beaudin (1996),
Short and Rinehart (1992), Sparks (1988) have not only related teacher self-
efficacy to student achievement and job satisfaction, but also to the adult
support that teacher receives in her/his school. The ability to reflect, share,
and assist each other in the job situation is important to a teachers growth
as an instructor and satisfaction with the job. Such an atmosphere promotes
a sense of belonging, fostering a sense of community for professionals
(Kruse & Louis, 1995).
Thus, the quality of adult-to-adult relationships within a school will
affect the quality of student achievement and success rate of that school
(Barth, 1990). The collaboration with other staff members is important not
only to veteran teacher's self-efficacy, but also first-year teachers (Chester &
Beaudin, 1996). It is vital that through the first few years of teaching, a
teacher receive the needed support and resources for not only survival, but
success, growth, and learning.
53


First-year teachers face reality shock as they enter their first
classroom. Unlike student teaching, it is a personal responsibility to provide
the structure for learning, the motivation for wanting to learn, and an effective
method of sharing information. The primary frustration for novice teachers is
the struggle with classroom management problems. Being in control of the
classroom and providing consistent follow-through on discipline is a
dominant theme heard from first-year teachers (Ryan, 1979; Bullough, 1989;
Bullough & Knowles, 1990; Reynolds, 1992).
The field of education experiences a thirty percent attrition rate due, in
part, by the the fact that its traditional structure creates professional
isolationism (Rosenholtz, 1989). To deter this exodus from the classroom,
we must as educators provide the resources for teachers. The first-year
teacher needs the support of other professionals to bring a clearer
perspective to the frustrations he/she faces for the first time. The nature of
the relationship which develops between first-year teachers and others can
bear upon the overall experience of the new teacher feelings of success,
satisfaction, belongingness, and acceptance or feeling of failure,
dissatisfaction, isolation, and rejection. Confidence and acceptance of self-
as-teacher, then may be greatly influenced by the supportive interactions the
new teachers have with others (Applegate, et al., 1977, pp. 29-30). All
teachers, but particularly, first-year teachers need to be able to access other
professionals, seek ideas, and learn new methods (Lortie, 1992).
A primary means of cultivating positive adult-to-adult relationships is
to structure schools based on the middle school philosophy of creating
54


smaller learning communities through core academic teams. By putting a
team of teachers together and providing a common planning time to set a
common mission, collaborate on instructional strategies and techniques,
build cohesiveness with other professionals facing similar issues each day,
and participate in a shared decision making process teachers will have the
framework to cultivate effective teams.
A predominate work by Ashton and Webb(1986) provides a basis for
numerous investigations around teacher self-efficacy. Ashton and Webb's
conclusions were that a teachers efficacy is influenced by the school
organizations. In a comparison of junior high and middle school teachers
efficacy, they found that middle school teachers tended to have higher
efficacy level, had higher expectations for students, were more satisfied with
their job, valued teaching more, accepted responsibility for their students'
academic troubles, developed a closer relationship with other teachers and
students, felt a sense of community, and perceived themselves to be a part
of a communal effort.
Studies of middle school teaming point out that teachers who
perceive their teams as effective feel as though their team mates are a
source for improving their effort with students, are secure in their own
values, and committed to the best practices for kids. Effective teams exist in
cultures that respect information-sharing. Such a culture is open, helpful,
based on trust, supports risk-taking, rewards creativity, and encourages
constructive confrontation and debate (Lotus, 1997, p. 7). They are open
to new ideas in strategies and techniques in order to be the best teachers
55


they can be (Gordon, 1995). The teachers in this category hold almost a
religious fervor about their teaching, believing this is the most noble
profession with standards which cannot be compromised in serving kids (p.
116). They are certain about the profession they have chosen.
This study proposed in Chapter 3, builds directly on the research
done by Ashton and Webb (1986) on teacher self-efficacy, Gordon (1995) on
effective middle school teams, and Chester and Beaudin (1996) on new
teacher efficacy to seek greater insight as to how effective middle school
teams can influence new teacher efficacy. This study takes these earlier
works and extends them by examining (a) particularly first-year teachers
placed on middle school academic teams, and (b) specifically four
dimensions of an effective team. This study will provide additional
information to not only middle schools, but schools at all levels, as to the
importance of a teaming structure in setting the stage for a colleagial culture
that provides the necessary professional resources to all teacher, and more
specifically first-year teachers.
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CHAPTER 3
METHODS
Purpose and Hypothesis
The purpose of this study was to determine if a teacher new to
education who is placed in a daily collaborative setting with other team
members will acquire higher teacher self-efficacy and confidence, and
increased job satisfaction with teaching by the end of her/his first year of
teaching. The support the teacher receives from the principal of the school
and the assigned district level mentor, the quality of induction preparation,
and the reading level and behavioral conduct of the students on the team,
were additional independent variables included in the model to explain
teacher self-efficacy and job satisfaction.
The research question guiding the study was: What is the effect of
the support of middle school teams on new teachers' self-efficacy and
satisfaction with teaching?
The main hypothesis of the study was that teacher self-efficacy and
job satisfaction of beginning teachers is positively associated with first-year
teachers perception of the effectiveness of their teams. There were two
major hypotheses and nine supporting hypotheses regarding the first
dependent variable (teacher self-efficacy) and a parallel set of hypotheses
concerning the second dependent variable Qob satisfaction).
57


The primary hypotheses for this study were
(a) A positive relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and perceived team effectiveness, and between job satisfaction of a
beginning teacher and perceived team effectiveness.
The supporting hypotheses for this study were
(a) A positive relationship exists between teacher gender and the level of
teacher self-efficacy, and between teacher gender and job satisfaction, with
female teachers having higher efficacy and job satisfaction than male
teachers.
(b) A positive relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the support received from the district assigned mentor, and between job
satisfaction of a beginning teacher and the support received from the district
assigned mentor.
(c) A positive relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the support received from the building administrator, and between job
satisfaction of a beginning teacher and the support received from the
building administrator.
(d) A positive relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the quality of preservice teacher preparation experienced prior to
teaching, and between job satisfaction of a beginning teacher and the
quality of preserivce teacher preparation experienced prior to teaching.
58


(e) A positive relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the number of hours the new teachers core academic team team meets
on a weekly basis, and between job satisfaction and the number of hours
the new teachers core academic team team meets on a weekly basis.
(f) A negative relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the perceived number of students on the team with off task behaviors
presenting challenges for instruction, and between job satisfaction of a
beginning teacher and the perceived number of students on the team with off
task behaviors presenting challenges for instruction.
(g) A negative relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the perceived number of students on the team who read below grade
level, and between job satisfaction of a beginning teacher and the perceived
number of students on the team who read below grade level.
(h) A negative relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the perceived number of students on the team who read 2 years below
grade level, and between job satisfaction of a beginning teacher and the
perceived number of students on the team who read 2 years below grade
level.
(i) A negative relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the perceived number of students on the team who have Attention
Deficit Disorder (ADD), and between job satisfaction of a beginning teacher
and the perceived number of students on the team who have Attention
Deficit Disorder (ADD).
59


Research Design
Two complementary research designs were employed in a
longitudinal study. Measures of the independent and dependent variables
were collected at five points in time through self-report questionnaires. In
addition, four illustrative case studies were developed drawing on periodic
interviews.
Sample
The sample for this study consisted of 34 new teachers who were
placed on middle school core academic teams within three large
metropolitan school districts in the Denver area during the 1998-99 school
year. Thirty-three of the original 34 participants completed this full one-year
study.
All participants in this study were Caucasian, with 27 females and 6
males. The ages of the participants ranged from 22 to 42, 22 of the
individuals were 25 years old or younger, 7 participants were between the
ages of 26 to 30, 3 participants were in their 30s, and one participant was 42
years old. The mean age was 26 years of age, the median was 24 years
old, and the mode was 23 years old. Twenty-nine of the participants had
obtained a BA/BS degree as their the highest degree held, with only four of
the 33 participants holding a masters degree. Five participants taught
Language Arts, 5 taught Social Studies, 7 taught math, 6 taught Science,
60


while 11 taught two or more of these subjects in various combinations.
The demographics of the three school districts involved in the study
were as follows: each was in the suburbs of a large metropolitan city: they
ranged in size from approximately 25,000 to 40,000 students: each served
middle and upper middle class families, with one of the districts having a
higher percentage of low income students; each allocated the same amount
of per pupil spending (approximately $5500); and each maintained a similar
class size ratio (26 to 28 students per class). On the average two of the
districts scored above the sixtieth percentile on standardized test scores,
while the third districts average scores on standardized tests was at the
fiftieth percentile. Each of the three school districts had high academic
standards in place, similar accreditation processes, and strong focus on
best practices for all students.
Each middle school within these three districts was designed with a
middle school teaming structure for the core academic teachers. Elective
teachers, in contrast, were organized in departments with minimal
structured opportunity for colleagial support, or access to participation on an
effective middle school team. Each school district also provided equivalent
support for first-year teachers through a district level mentor program.
The district level mentor program in each district involved weekly
meetings with a teacher who had been selected as a master teacher.
District mentors in each school district received extensive training in such
areas as Cognitive Coaching, Differentiated Instruction, and Positive
Discipline and Instruction in order to be an effective resource for the first-
61


year teacher. District mentors in each school district were fully released
from their teaching assignments in order to mentor all beginning teachers.
They provided resources for the novice teacher, gave feedback on
instruction, suggested classroom management strategies, and gave
emotional encouragement and support.
Each of the three school districts was contacted in writing and through
personal meetings during May, 1998, to seek permission to conduct this
study with beginning teachers in their district for the 1998-99 school year
(Appendix E). Each school district gave permission.
The original 34 novice core academic middle school teachers hired in
the three school districts for the 1998-99 school year were personally
contacted before school began. A meeting was held immediately following
each district's induction inservice with new teachers during the second week
of August, 1998.
At this initial meeting the nature of the study and the approximate time
commitment were described. It was stressed that even though participation
was completely voluntary, an assurance was needed for the completion of
all four surveys throughout the school year. A consent form was signed by
each participant (Appendix F), as well as a contract (Appendix G) to commit
to the completing all four surveys.
In the data analysis, each participant was assigned a case number
and data was entered in the The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences
(SPSS 6.1, Macintosh Version) after each of the five phases of data
collection throughout the 1998-99 school year.
62


Data collection (described in detail later) began in August, 1998, with
34 middle school first-year teachers assigned to core academic teams.
Thirty-three teachers completed all five surveys throughout the 1998-99
school year. In order to match questionnaires throughout the school year
and still protect anonymity, the last four digits of each participants Social
Security number was used as an identification code. One of the original
participants became pregnant during the school year and was unable to
complete all five surveys since she did not finish the school year. Teachers
completed questionnaires five times during the school year (August,
October, January, March, and May).
Measures
Instruments were developed to measure the two dependent variables
(teacher self-efficacy and teacher job satisfaction) and the four major
independent variables (perceived team effectiveness, mentor support,
principal support, and quality of preservice teacher preparation). A scale to
assess teacher self-efficacy was adapted from DiBella-McCarthy, McDaniel.
& Miller (1995), while scales for each dimension of an effective team
(common mission, collaboration, cohesiveness, and shared decision
making) were designed by the researcher.
The remaining supporting independent variables (gender of teacher,
number of hours the core academic teacher met each week, perceived
number of students on the team with off task behaviors presenting a
challenge for instruction, perceived number of students reading below grade
63


level, perceived number of students reading 2 years below grade level, and
perceived number of student with Attention Deficit Disorder [ADD]) were
provided by the teachers through questionnaire items. Participants were
asked the following questions in the May round of surveys: (a) Estimate the
number of students on your team who read below grade level and who read
two years below grade level, (b) Estimate the number of students on your
team who you believe could have ADD or ADHD, and (c) Estimate the
number of students on your team who frequently take up your instructional
time because they are off task. Each item was asked as a question with the
participant providing the correct answer in a blank space (Appendix C).
Each of these independent variables were the individual teacher's
perception of students on their team after working with their students for nine
months.
Development of measures
This questionnaire was designed to be brief in light of the fact that it is
important to make all commitments simple and short when working with first-
year teachers. The first-year teacher is typically faced with an overwhelming
job and has little time to take part in tasks other than teaching. Thus, a five-
point Likert Scale coding (Eichelberger, 1989, p. 147) was the format of
collecting data from the beginning teachers at the specified times throughout
the school year.
A pilot study was conducted in April, 1998, with 76 teachers on core
academic teams in two large middle schools in the Denver metropolitan
64


area, as well as first-year middle school teachers assigned to core academic
teams for the 1997-98 school year in one school district in the metropolitan
Denver area. An item analysis of each scale was conducted, using the
SPSS reliability program, identifying the strongest items in each scale,
evaluating the weakest items for each scale, dropping the weakest items,
and then reestablishing the reliability for each scale.
Teacher self-efficacv measurement
One of the two dependent variables for this study was teacher self-
efficacy. Teacher self-efficacy has been defined for the purposes of this
study as a teacher's perception of her/his own ability to help students learn,
to see that her/his efforts make a difference for students, and to maintain
confidence in her/his own behavior in face of difficulties.
Questions for the instrument for this study were included which would
gather information on the teachers perception of self-efficacy (self-
confidence, classroom control, and instruction delivery). Measures for the
dependent variable of teacher self-efficacy were taken from an instrument
previously developed by DiBella-McCarthy, McDaniel, and Miller (1995).
Dibella-McCarthy based their teacher self-efficacy scale on research
conducted by Ashton and Webb in 1986. Examples of questions asked by
Ashton and Webb, and later DiBella-McCarthy, to address a teacher's
perception of their efficacy were: (a) When it comes right down to it, how
much can a teacher do because most of a students motivation and
performance depends on his or her home environment? (b) In general,
65


how stressful do you find being a middle school teacher? (c) Do you feel
you work harder, about the same, or a little less than most teachers? (d) In
your teaching situation, how much freedom do you feel you have to do what
you think is best? These questions primarily identified the new teachers'
own attitudes and perceptions of their self-efficacy.
Though items for the teacher self-efficacy scale were adapted from an
instrument originally designed by Dibella-McCarthy, McDaniel, and Miller
(1995), no evidence of validity or reliability was originally established for the
teacher self-efficacy scale until this present study. Thus, the primary
purpose for the pilot for this present study was to establish the necessary
validity and reliability of the measures for this instrument.
Another reason for the pilot study was to detect possible problems
with the wording of the questions or instruction for the study. In addition to
the panel of experts, each middle school teacher who completed the survey
during the pilot study in April, 1998, also was asked to give feedback and/or
make comments on each item in the questionnaire which was confusing or
conflicted with her/his notions of teaming.
The pilot study indicated that the internal consistency reliability
(alpha) of the teacher self-efficacy scale was .72. The data collected from
the first wave of surveys in the Fall, 1998, yielded reliability (alpha) for the
teacher self-efficacy scale of .67.
66


Job satisfaction measurement
Another dependent variable for this study was job satisfaction. Job
satisfaction is an individual teachers feelings and attitude towards their job
as a teacher. Questions were designed by the researcher to determine
during each round of survey the participants individual attitude toward
her/his teaching position and/or career selection. No changes were made to
the specific questions on job satisfaction from the pilot study and content
validity feedback. The reliability from the pilot study of the job satisfaction
scale was alpha = .85. The data collected from the first wave of surveys in
the Fall, 1998, indicated that the reliability (alpha) for the job satisfaction
scale of .93.
Team effectiveness measurement
The overall perceived effectiveness of the academic team to which
each new teacher was assigned was one of the independent variables for
this study. Team effectiveness was determined by identifying each of the
following four characteristics of a middle school team: (a) common mission,
(b) collaboration, (c) cohesiveness, and (d) shared decision making. Each
characteristic of team effectiveness was also an independent variable for the
present study.
The four characteristics of team effectiveness (common mission,
collaboration, cohesiveness, and shared decision making) were identified
67


as primary characteristics through prior middle school research (Ashton &
Webb, 1986; Lyons, 1994; Kruse & Louis, 1995; Gordon, 1995; and
Chester & Beaudin, 1996). The operational definition of supportiveness that
the new teacher receives from fellow professionals was based on the
following items: (a) the collegiality of the team, (b) the cohesiveness of the
team, (c) the frequency of team meetings, (d) the student centeredness of
the team, (e) the frequency of conversation about curriculum among team
members, (f) the rapport among members of the team, (g) the districts
assignment of a mentor outside of the team to the beginning teacher, (h)
the frequency of meetings between the beginning teacher and her/his
mentor, and (i) the atmosphere of trust on the team and in the school.
The internal consistency (alpha) ranged from .72 to .90 for the four
sub scales of team effectiveness in the pilot study. The reliability of the
composite scale on team effectiveness was .95. The reliability for the first
round of data received in October, 1998, was .93 for overall team
effectiveness. The reliability for each characteristic of team effectiveness
identified for this study ranged from .64 to .91. Reliability of three of the
characteristics decreased from the pilot to the first wave, while one
increased. The reliability from the pilot study of each dimension of team
effectiveness is indicated in Table 3.1.
Other descriptive information included in the instrument for this study
necessary for thorough data collection around the quality of support the
participant received from their core academic team, district mentor, and
appointed building administrator were (a) number of teachers assigned to
68


the core academic team, (b) number of students on the core academic
team, (c) how often teachers meet for team planning on a weekly basis, (d)
number of hours spent on a weekly basis with the district level mentor, and
(e) amount of time the building principal (or her/his designee) spends in the
new teachers classroom each month. This data were collected through a
completion type question at the beginning of the survey (Appendix A).
Team preference measurement
Team preference was also an independent variable. Team
preference is the individual teachers inclination to working with a team in
general as opposed to working individually. The team preference scale
was developed by the researcher to assess during each round of survey
whether the individual teacher was partial to working alone or with other
people and how this tendency changed throughout the year while working
with a core academic team of teachers. The reliability for team preference
scale for pilot study was .73, and for the first full survey in October, 1998, .75.
District Mentor and Administrative
support measurements
Each participant in this study was assigned a mentor teacher over
and beyond their individual team members. According to Colorado state
statues (Colorado Department of Education, 1997, p. 283), each school
district must provide a mentoring support program during each first-year
teachers initial year of teaching. This is one part of the required induction
69


program for all teachers new to a Colorado school district.
All participants in this study were also assigned a building
administrator who supervised them for the year, following Colorado state
requirements for evaluation.
A scale for the independent variables of mentor support and building
administrative support was developed by the researcher to determine the
combined influence of the mentor and administrator on teacher self-efficacy.
The reliability in the pilot study was .38. It was determined that the problem
with this scale was that two different domains were being measured and that
a scale for each mentor support and building administrative support -
should be developed. Also, the questions focused on mentor support for
the pilot study were intended for new teachers. Since teachers with all
levels of experiences were participating in the Pilot Study, the answers were
not indicative of the variable being measured. The instrument was then
reassessed according to the information gathered from the pilot study and
changes made accordingly. Two scales were created, adding questions to
increase the reliability of this scale.
In the pretest of research participants (August, 1998, see Appendix A),
the building administrator support and mentor support scales were not
included due to the fact that the participants had little or no contact at this
point with their district mentor or building level administrator. During the first
round of survey (October, 1998), the reliability of the building administrative
support scale increased to .67 and the mentor support scale increased to
.85.
70


Other Independent Variables
Additional independent variables are identified in the demographic
section of the instrument. The following independent variables are
addressed: (a) age, (b) educational degree held, (c) ethnicity, and (d)
gender. According to the literature, these specifics could also affect a
teachers level of efficacy and job satisfaction. The overall profile for
students assigned to the team was sought in order to determine the effect to
the new teacher's classroom. These were exploratory measures to account
for highly impacted, at risk classrooms which may have affected the
beginning teachers self-efficacy and job satisfaction. This information
focused on behavioral concerns (number of students with off task behaviors
presenting a challenge for instruction), students reading level (perceived
number of students on the team reading below grade level and perceived
number of students reading 2 years below grade level), and Special
Services placement (perceived number of students with ADD). Information
on the student demographics, along with the perception of the teachers
preparation for their present job (quality of preservice teacher preparation)
were collected during the May survey. Though these independent variables
were determined by participants' perception, the timing of these questions
allowed the teachers to reflect on how prepared they felt for their current job
and how the composition of students on their team may have created
difficulty for them as a teacher.
71


Validity of instrument
Validity of an instrument is intended to show how well a scale
measures the construct it is designed to assess. The construct validity of a
measurement, such as the instrument used in this study, demonstrates
whether the test actually measures all that the researcher intends for it to
measure, yet only measures what is intended. The validity of a measure is
essential when a researcher needs to measure a variable that is only
assumed and supported only by inferences and actions (Krathwohl, 1993).
Construct validity of the scales for team effectiveness, teacher self-
efficacy, district mentor support, building administrator support, and job
satisfaction were established in a two-step process. In the first step, face
validity and logical consistency were reviewd by a panel of middle school
experts. The second step involved an exploratory factor analysis of each of
the initial scales. The panel of experts was comprised of three middle
school principals who have extensive experience in working with effective
middle school teams, a director of middle level education for one of the
districts in which the study will take place, two district level mentors who
have worked for two years with first-year teachers, and a first-year teacher
on a core academic team for the 1997-98 school year. Though most items
received unanimous approval, suggestions for clarity and specificity were
given on items predominately concerning the team effectiveness scale.
Feedback from each panel member was
72


received, adjustments made to the instrument and the revised instrument
used for the pilot study.
A factor analysis of the items for all scales was conducted as a
culminating step of the pilot. The expectation for the team effectiveness
scale was that all items would load on a simple principal component, but
would support the existence of four distinct sub scales upon rotating the
factors. All but three items loaded at above .7 on the principal factor.
These three questions dealt with team autonomy rather than team decision
making, and were dropped from the instrument. The remaining items were
rotated using Varimax Rotation. A pattern matrix was established for all
items in the team effectiveness scales, each item was analyzed and the item
was dropped if higher than .5 on two factors in the structure matrix, or if it
failed to achieve a loading of at least .4 on one factor.
Reliability
The pilot study was also conducted in order to establish reliability of
the scales developed for the instrument to be used in the 1998-99 school
year investigation. Reliability of an instrument is an estimate of the
consistency of that measure and an estimate of how accurately the score on
the measurement will be reproduced if given to a participant again
(Thorndike, 1997). Establishing a measurements reliability will indicate
the amount of chance that is involved in something being tested that was not
intended by the researcher. The reliability for each dimension of the present
73


scale for the pilot study, the preassessment (Appendix A), and the first round
of survey conducted in October, 1998 (Appendix B) is noted in Table 3.1.
Table 3.1. Internal consistency reliability estimates (coefficient alpha) for
survey scales.
Pilot August Survay October Survay
Variable Alpha Alpha Alpha
Teacher seif-efficacy Scale .72 .67 .77
Total Team Effectiveness Scale .95 NA .93
Common Mission Scale .85 NA .79
Collaboration Scale .84 NA .64
Cohesiveness Scale .90 NA .91
Decision Making Scale .72 NA .64
Team Preference Scale .73 NA .75
Job Satisfaction Scale .85 .80 .93
District assigned mentor Support NA NA .85
Building administrator Support .38 NA .67
74


Procedures
Data Collection Procedures
The instrument including all scales for this investigation was
completed by the subjects during the following five times of the subjects first
year of teaching: August, October, January, March, and May.
An initial meeting was held with new teachers in each district
immediately following their districts new teacher induction meeting in early
August, 1998. The project was explained and confidentiality was stressed.
The new teachers were given a letter of consent at this meeting which
described the purpose of the study and their time commitment throughout
the year. They also received a contract which asked for a commitment from
the new teacher to participate in all five parts of the study throughout the
1998-99 school year. It was stressed that though this is voluntary, a
commitment to completing all five questionnaires was vital.
The first phase of the study took place at the initial meeting by having
all new teachers in each district complete the demographics section, the job
satisfaction scale, and the self-efficacy scale of the original survey, and team
work preference (Appendix A). During the following four additional times of
the year, October, January, March, and May, teachers completed the entire
instrument with the added scales of team effectiveness dimensions, building
75


administrative support, and district assigned mentor support (Appendix B).
Quality of preservice teacher preparation scale was added in the May survey
(Appendix C). Throughout the year the instrument was distributed
personally to each participant with a return envelope for the completed
instrument to be returned to the researcher. The questionnaire during these
four distribution times not only included the job satisfaction scale, and self-
efficacy scale originally administered in August, 1998, but also the support
scale to determine the teachers perception of their teams effectiveness
characteristics, of their district assigned mentor support, and of their building
administrator support, as seen in Table 3.2. The preservice teacher
preparation scale was added in May at at the end of the full year of teaching.
This provided the novice teachers with a basis of evaluating the
effectiveness of their quality of preservice teacher preparation. This
information was compared with each new teachers self-efficacy and job
satisfaction score throughout the year.
76


Table 3.2. Matrix of administration of individual scales in the research
instrument.
T eacher
self-efficacy
Aug
Oct
Jan
Mar
May
Job satisfaction
X
X
X
X
X
Preference of
working with a
X
X
X
X
X
team_______________
Team effectiveness
X
X
X
X
District assigned
mentnr iuppnft
X
X
X.
X
Building administrator
support_______________
X
X
X
X
Preservice teacher
preparation
X
Case study procedures
Four teachers were selected from the presurvey and first round of
survey data to participate in a one-on-one, open-ended interview twice
during their first year of teaching, one mid-year and one at the end of the
school year. These four teachers were selected based upon presurvey
and first round survey teacher self-efficacy results. One of the teachers had
77


an initially low teacher self-efficacy score, showing significant decrease in
teacher self-efficacy from the pretest to the first survey round. A second
teacher had initial teacher self-efficacy score close to the self-efficacy mean,
with an increase in self-efficacy from the pretest to the first survey round in
October. The remaining two teachers had high teacher self-efficacy scores,
with one showing a significant increase in teacher self-efficacy from the
pretest to the first survey round in October, and one showing significant
decrease in teacher self-efficacy from the pretest to the first survey round.
Open-ended interview questions were used to collect specific
anecdotal information from the four selected teachers on the supportiveness
of their core academic team members, their principal, and their district
mentor (Appendix D). Questions also included the participants individual
perception of how these support systems affected their overall year of
teaching and classroom instruction, as well as the pros and cons of their
first-year experience of teaching.
The interviews (four in January and four in May) were tape recorded and
then transcribed. The data from each interview were analyzed according to
key issues of support or lack of support that occurred during the participants'
first year of teaching. Information from these individual interviews were
used as supporting data for the results of the quantitative study (Patton,
1990).
78


Data Analysis
Descriptive trend analysis
Descriptive statistics for each scale were compiled and analyzed for
each of the five points in time (August, October, January, March, and May).
Trend lines for self-efficacy, job satisfaction, and team effectiveness were
examined.
Correlational analysis
A correlational design using multiple regression for statistical analysis
was compiled. The unit of analysis was first-year teachers assigned to core
academic middle school teams. The Statistical Package for the Social
Sciences (SPSS/Mac. V6.0) was used as the computer program for
analyzing data.
Two types of correlational analysis were explored. The first step was
to examine Pearson product-moment correlations of demographic and other
principle independent variables with the two dependent variables and drop
all independent variables that did not correlate significantly with either
dependent variable (alpha = .10). No significant correlation was found with
age (r = .17, p = .334) or academic degree (r = -.25, p = .153). These two
independent variables were dropped. Ethnicity was dropped because all
participants were Caucasians. Gender (male = 1, female = 2) significantly
79


correlated with teacher self-efficacy (August pretest, r = .48, p = .004;
October survey, r = .43, p = .011).
The second correlational analysis was multiple regression. The
complete model underlying this study hypothesized that teacher self-efficacy
and job satisfaction were predicted by independent variables of perceived
team effectiveness, gender of teacher, district assigned mentor support,
building administrative support, quality of preservice teacher preparation,
number of hours the core academic team met each week, perceived number
of students with off task behaviors presenting a challenge for instruction,
perceived number of students reading below grade level, perceived number
of students reading 2 years below grade level, and perceived number of
students with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) with the dependent variables
of self-efficacy and job satisfaction. Multiple regression was used to include
all predictors in the model, rather than testing the independent variables one
at a time. Correlation among independent variables was examined in order
to safeguard against multi-col linearity.
All of the variables associated with the supporting hypotheses of the
study could not be included because the analysis would lose power and
stability. To avoid error fitting, the multiple regression had to maintain a low
ratio of independent variables to subjects. With all of the variables related to
the supporting hypotheses included, the ratio of predictor variables to
participants drops below 1:10. For each predictor, approximately 10
participants are needed. With 33 subjects completing the full year's study,
80


four was the maximum independent variables permitted for the multiple
regression.
Two types of multiple regression inquiries were made.
(a) A conservative multiple regression test (alpha = .05) was used to
predict each final dependent variable (collected in May) using (a) the first
wave (pretest) score for that dependent variable, (b) the primary
hypothesized independent variable, perceived team effectiveness, and (c)
two of the strongest independent variables that correlated with each
dependent variable, as indicated in the Pearson product-moment correlation
(alpha = .10). The other independent variables not used as a part of the
conservative test were then applied to liberal multiple regression tests.
(b) Liberal multiple regression tests were conducted individually with
each remaining independent variable that had a significant correlation (p<
.05) with the dependent variable, along with the pretest score for that
dependent variable.
Limitations
Two limitations of this study were based on the small size of the
sample and the homogeneity in respect to ethnicity and gender. The
selection of the population was limited to first-year middle school teachers
who have been assigned to a core academic team within the three school
districts selected for this project. Though adequate for this study, a larger
sample might have produced more significant results. The study was
81


dependent on the representativeness of the first-year teachers available to
participate in the sample.
The ethnic match between the participants and the teachers on their
core academic team, district assigned mentor, and appointed building
administrator could influence the results of this study. All participants were
Caucasian, yet their team members, district assigned mentor, and appointed
building administrator may have been from other ethnic backgrounds.
Though ethnicity of the participant was an independent variable, the cultural
aspects of learning styles and teaching styles were not specifically
addressed in this study.
The validity of the data were limited by restrictions inherent in fixed-
format response surveys. Participants may have assumed a different
interpretation to a question than intended by the researcher. Participants
were also not able to seek additional information as to the intent of each
question. Explanation of a response to the questions was limited due to the
five-point Likert scale. Since omissions in a survey such as this were
common, interpretation of these omissions could be difficult. As periodic
omissions occurred, responses on items for the same scale were averaged,
and a value assigned.
The student data collected from each beginning teacher were
perceived numbers by the first-year teacher after working with her/his team
of students for nine months. These were exploratory measures with no
objective assessment involved for collecting the data of each independent
variable (teacher perceived number of students with off task behaviors
82


presenting challenges to instruction, teacher perceived number of students
reading below grade level, teacher perceived number of students reading
two years below grade level, and teacher perceived numbers of students
with ADD) and need to be interpreted with caution.
Another limitation involved with this study may have been that
participants did not give honest responses. Even with extensive measures
to keep the responses anonymous, first-year teachers may have been
concerned with job security if they respond in a negative manner.
Respondents had to be identified due to the longitudinal nature of the study.
Each participant's self-efficacy level job satisfaction needed to be tracked
throughout the year to determine trends and change over the full school
year.
This investigation was limited to first-year teachers perception of
themselves as a teacher and their perception of the effectiveness of their
core academic team. Other perceptions, such as those of their principal or
fellow teammates, were not a part of this study. With this study it is
impossible to establish how similar the first-year teachers perception was to
more experienced educators. At the same time, the beginning teachers
perception of a situation could have been skewed by other stresses and
pressures they faced during their first year.
Summary
This chapter has summarized the methods for this project. The data
from periodic questionnaires throughout the school year and telephone
83


interviews at the end of the school year were analyzed to determine the
effects of middle school teaming on new teachers perceived self-efficacy,
and satisfaction with teaching. The selection of the sample was discussed,
as well as the pilot project conducted in April, 1998. Procedures for data
collection and analysis were outlined, as well as limitations for the
investigation revealed.
84


CHAPTER 4
FINDINGS
The first year of teaching is filled with highs and lows as they
experience the real world of education. This study was designed to
measure first-year teachers efficacy and job satisfaction periodically over
the course of the academic year, and examine their relationship to team
effectiveness, other potential sources of support, extent of preparation for
teaching, and student issues that may exist in their classrooms.
This chapter presents the results in four sections. Section one
describes the team settings and the trend of team effectiveness over time.
Section two analyzes statistical data for the dependent variable of teacher
self-efficacy, followed by section three, analyzing statistical data for the
dependent variable of job satisfaction. The fourth section provides an
interpretation of the interview data from four participants of the main sample.
Research Questions and Hypotheses
The question for the study was: What is the effect of the support of
middle school teams on new teachers self-efficacy and satisfaction with
teaching?
The main hypothesis of the study was that teacher self-efficacy and
job satisfaction of beginning teachers is positively associated with their
85


perception of the effectiveness of their teams. There were two major
hypotheses and nine supporting hypotheses regarding the first dependent
variable (teacher self-efficacy) and a parallel set of hypotheses concerning
the second dependent variable Gob satisfaction).
The primary hypotheses for this study were
(a) A positive relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and perceived team effectiveness, and between job satisfaction of a
beginning teacher and perceived team effectiveness.
The supporting hypotheses for this study were
(a) A positive relationship exists between teacher gender and the level of
teacher self-efficacy, and between teacher gender and job satisfaction, with
female teachers having higher efficacy and job satisfaction than male
teachers.
(b) A positive relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the support received from the district assigned mentor, and between job
satisfaction of a beginning teacher and the support received from the district
assigned mentor.
(c) A positive relationship exists between the level of teacher self-efficacy
and the support received from the building administrator, and between job
satisfaction of a beginning teacher and the support received from the
building administrator.
86


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