Restoring Teachers’ Efficacy

A new piece from ASCD highlights a “pernicious dynamic” that is emerging from the pandemic: a loss of teachers’ professional efficacy. Highlights of the piece appear below:

Amid the mix of emotions stirred in teachers by the sudden shift to online learning was a profound sense of helplessness (Bintliff, 2020). Feeling powerless dampens teachers’ sense of efficacy, which is linked to well-being (Klassen, 2010). Studies find that teachers experience more job satisfaction and less burnout when they feel competent and confident in their roles (Zee & Koomen, 2016). However, if they cannot contact students, deliver effective learning experiences, or address students’ basic needs, educators’ feelings of professional worth and competence are apt to take a hit, adding stress to a job that, even before the pandemic, 6 in 10 teachers rated as highly stressful (AFT, 2017).

So how do leaders help teachers restore some sense of efficacy and improve their well-being, especially during these challenging times?

  • Help teachers connect with one another
  • Frame professional conversations around problem solving
  • Help teachers achieve small successes
  • Help teachers learn from one another

By creating these conditions, school leaders can help their educators develop a shared sense of efficacy—what’s often called teacher collective efficacy—a belief that together, they can help students succeed. According to a meta-analysis of 26 studies (Eells, 2011), teacher collective efficacy is more strongly linked to student success than a student’s socioeconomic status.

For more, see: