DEVELOPING SELF-EFFICACY: MIDDLE-SCHOOL TEACHERS' PERCEPTIONS AND PRACTICES AFTER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
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This qualitative case study explored how middle school English teachers in one North Texas school district perceived professional development grew or hindered their self confidence. Bandura’s (1977) theory of self-efficacy provided the framework for this study. Five participants from various middle schools in Southwest Independent School District (a pseudonym) engaged in semi-structured interviews regarding their experiences with professional development and how those experiences impacted them in relation to the four sources of information (i.e., enactive mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal and social persuasion, and physiological states) as defined by Bandura (1977). Findings from this study revealed that while teachers’ self efficacy grew in response to professional development, oftentimes they had to supplement their growth by seeking out their own opportunities for collaboration with colleagues or attempting to implement what they learned with their students without the support of professional development facilitators. The participants desired for professional development to take their perceived classroom needs into consideration when planning for the training events and provide more opportunities for observation and feedback. This research contributes to the limited literature regarding middle school English teachers and how professional development can be used to impact their self-efficacy, and therefore, student achievement.