The problem-How do we develop a sense of efficacy, confidence in accomplishing meaningful impact?
The solution-The identified keys to establishing educator success
Educators in a school need to believe they can positively affect student learning. Individual teachers can think their efforts are helping and are working with the children they are serving, but if they do not believe in their co-workers, the collective efforts will fail.
Collective teacher efficacy is “the perceptions of teachers in a school that the efforts of the faculty as a whole will have a positive effect on students” (Goddard, Hoy, & Woolfolk Hoy, 2000). Building on earlier studies of individual teacher efficacy, research on collective teacher efficacy further investigated the effects of teachers’ perceptions of their collective capacity to improve learning experiences and results for their students. Schools are under pressure to succeed, and educational research seeks what factors contribute to student success. We know by Professor John Hattie’s research that collective efficacy is ranked at 1.57 effect size. A school that believes it can make a positive impact is an essential element to the overall well-being of all.
Educators with a strong sense of professional (educator) agency in their lives believes they can achieve their goals. Teachers act purposefully and constructively to direct their professional growth and contribute to the development of their colleagues.
As we have had disruptions to school, added stress, and fatigue, we need to find ways to help our educators rebuild, refuel and reconnect. The focus to support “educator agency” looks at collaboration, feedback, and spotlighting success. We need “adult learning” during professional learning community time, feedback that fuels our teaching energy and celebrating the achievements.
The conditions needed in the school setting for collective efficacy to existing according to researcher Jenni Donohoo (2017), are:
Teachers must feel empowered to take risks. They need to feel comfortable to grow in their practice and to understand not all classrooms have to look the same. The school environment is working towards common goals.
The key factor in the solution is to value staff and to let them be heard. Staff needs support and affirmation, but they need to see evidence in their work. We need to support them in effective practices and providing them with reliable evidence of the impact they are having.
We have continuous work to do to be the solution daily for those we serve.