09 SES 14, Relating Teacher Beliefs and Practices to Student Outcomes
Teachers’ self-efficacy matters for science education. In fact, the existing body of research suggests that teachers’ beliefs about their teaching abilities influence their general instructional practices in the classroom (e.g. Holzberger, Philipp, & Kunter, 2013). Although this relationship has been analysed in numerous studies, little attention has been paid to investigating the extent to which it differs across different types of instructional methods. Moreover, only limited empirical evidence based on representative large-scale data has been devoted to the domain of science.
Inquiry-based and general teaching practice
Instructional strategies used in science lessons might differ from those that can be applied in other domains. For instance, inquiry-based science instruction—an instructional approach that focuses on discovery learning and hands-on investigation—is considered the method of choice in science classrooms (Stohr-Hunt, 1996). However, generic pedagogical practices that are similar across domains, such as classroom discussion or management, can also contribute to student learning. For example, general instructions can be useful for teaching students about topics with which they have had prior hands-on experience (Olson & Loucks-Horsley, 2000). Although a conceptual overlap seems to exist between inquiry-based and general teaching practice in science, few studies have investigated the commonalities and differences between these two teaching constructs. Inquiry-based and general teaching practice might reflect separate but related constructs that aim to enhance student performance.
Hypothesis 1: Inquiry-based and general teaching practice are distinct but correlated constructs.
Teacher self-efficacy in science teaching
Previous studies revealed that teachers’ beliefs about their abilities to teach science are key factors in determining the choice of instructional practices (e.g. de Laat & Watters, 1995; Lumpe, Haney, & Czerniak, 2000). Consequently, confident science teachers may provide students with more cognitively challenging activities than low-efficacious teachers. Considering the earlier findings, our current study explored the relationship between teachers’ self-efficacy in science teaching and their teaching approaches, specifically their instructions in inquiry-based and general teaching practice.
Hypothesis 2: Teachers’ self-efficacy in science teaching positively predicts their implementation of both inquiry-based and general science teaching.
There is also a need for greater understanding about the kinds of contextual variables that influence the relationship between teacher self-efficacy and different instructional practices. Previous research has been devoted to examining teacher context (e.g. intrinsic needs satisfaction; Holzberger, Philipp, & Kunter, 2014) and school context (e.g. school facilities; Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2007) that interact with this relationship. Nevertheless, limited attention has been given to contextual variables that describe the classroom context, such as students’ achievement, motivation, and the socioeconomic status, that is aggregated to the classroom. In this study, we focused on the roles these classroom contextual variables play for the relation between teachers’ self-efficacy and instructional practices in science.
Hypothesis 3: The relationship between teachers’ self-efficacy in science teaching and the implementation of inquiry-based and general science teaching is independent from classroom achievement, motivation, and socioeconomic status.
de Laat, J., & Watters, J. J. (1995). Science teaching self-efficacy in a primary school: A case study. Research in Science Education, 25(4), 453-464. doi:10.1007/bf02357387 Holzberger, D., Philipp, A., & Kunter, M. (2013). How teachers’ self-efficacy is related to instructional quality: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(3), 774-786. doi:10.1037/a0032198 Holzberger, D., Philipp, A., & Kunter, M. (2014). Predicting teachers’ instructional behaviors: The interplay between self-efficacy and intrinsic needs. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 39(2), 100-111. Klein, A., & Moosbrugger, H. (2000). Maximum likelihood estimation of latent interaction effects with the LMS method. Psychometrika, 65(4), 457-474. doi:10.1007/bf02296338 Lumpe, A. T., Haney, J. J., & Czerniak, C. M. (2000). Assessing teachers' beliefs about their science teaching context. Journal of research in science teaching, 37(3), 275-292. Morin, A. J. S., Marsh, H. W., Nagengast, B., & Scalas, L. F. (2014). Doubly Latent Multilevel Analyses of Classroom Climate: An Illustration. The Journal of Experimental Education, 82(2), 143-167. doi:10.1080/00220973.2013.769412 Muthén, B., & Muthén, L. (1998-2015). MPlus (Version 7.3). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén. Olson, S., & Loucks-Horsley, S. (2000). Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A guide for teaching and learning: National Academies Press. Stohr-Hunt, P. M. (1996). An analysis of frequency of hands-on experience and science achievement. Journal of research in science teaching, 33(1), 101-109. Tschannen-Moran, M., & Hoy, A. W. (2007). The differential antecedents of self-efficacy beliefs of novice and experienced teachers. Teaching and teacher Education, 23(6), 944-956.
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