Mediating the Sources and Benefits of Teacher Self-Efficacy for Systemic Transformative Meaning-Making

Mediating the Sources and Benefits of Teacher Self-Efficacy for Systemic Transformative Meaning-Making

Nancy P. Gallavan (University of Central Arkansas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0204-3.ch016
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Educating the whole child, the basis of U.S. education and the progressive education movement, is imperative for teacher candidates to understand and implement their work associated with teaching, learning, and schooling P-12 learners. Thus, educating the whole teacher candidate is essential for teacher educators to emphasize and facilitate in their work in teacher preparation to optimize candidates' knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Recognizing candidates' immediate concerns and their pre-existing conditions, teacher educators strive to build teacher capacity. Framing teacher candidates' personal growth, professional development, pedagogical expertise, and political astuteness on the four sources of self-efficacy leads to a life-long journey of critical consciousness and systemic transformative meaning-making. From this research, teacher candidates provide insights and inspirations beneficial for both teacher educators and teacher candidates to improve their practices and increase their self-efficacy evident in their educator preparation programs and future P-12 classrooms.
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Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~ Albert Einstein



Teacher candidates preparing to become P-12 classroom teachers should be guided and supported to “educate the whole child” (Noddings, 2005). According to Noddings, schools throughout the history of the United States were “established as much for moral and social reasons as for academic instruction.” Noddings adds that “in his 1818 Report of the Commissioners for the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson included in the ‘objects of primary education’ such qualities as morals, understanding of duties to neighbors and country, knowledge of rights, and intelligence and faithfulness in social relations” (Jefferson, 1818, in Noddings, 2005) One hundred years later, in its 1918 report on the Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education, the National Education Association (NEA) identified seven aims of education: (1) health; (2) command of the fundamental processes; (3) worthy home membership; (4) vocation; (5) citizenship; (6) worthy use of leisure; and (7) ethical character (Kliebard, 1995, p. 98, in Noddings, 2005). Presenting a holistic approach to teaching, learning, and schooling (Cochran-Smith, 1991) as an integrated process, the NEA Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education became one of the most influential educational documents of the 20th century (Schugurensky, 2005).

Concomitantly, during the late 19th century and early 20th century, John Dewey founded the Progressive Education Movement, a term “used to describe ideas and practices that aim to make schools more effective agencies of a democratic society” (John Dewey Project on Education, 2002) emphasizing the educational needs of the whole child inclusive of physical, social, emotional (affective), and intellectual (cognitive) growth and development (Zilversmit, 1993). Dewey’s “habits of the mind” (Dewey, 1916/1997, chap 4) encourage co-construction of new understanding, critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, experimentation, decision-making, community-building, action-taking, and responsibility…blending realism with idealism (Ghenea, 2015). Extending Dewey’s research and writing, educators strive to create contemporary classrooms centered on democracy manifested through self-action, interaction, and transaction (Glassman & Kang, 2011) promoting insights and inspirations applicable to self, others, and society.

Now, one hundred years after Dewey and two hundred years after Jefferson, these goals are evident in the five tenets established by the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) (2012) as shown in Table 1.

Table 1.
ASCD whole child tenets
     1. Each student enters school healthy and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle.
     2. Each student learns in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults.
     3. Each student is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community.
     4. Each student has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults.
     5. Each student is challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study for employment and participation in a global environment.

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