Examining relationships among teachers’ preparation, efficacy, and writing practices
Brindle, Mary Elisabeth
The present study examined teacher characteristics that may impact teacher efficacy or distinguish between teachers with high and low efficacy in the area of writing. A random sample of 997 third and fourth grade teachers from the United States were sent a 118 item online survey, “ A National Survey of Teachers’ Preparation and Practices in Teaching Writing of Teachers in Grades 3 and 4”, about their preparation for teaching, orientation towards teaching writing, attitudes towards writing and teaching writing, their efficacy and classroom writing practices. One hundred fifty seven teachers responded to the survey, 115 of who completed every question (response rate of 16% and 12% respectively) resulting in 129 missing items (1% of data). Missing data was imputed, where possible, resulting in a sample that ranged from 115 to 157 for the analyses. No statistical differences were found between responders and nonresponders. Results revealed three out of every four teachers received minimal to no preparation to teach writing in college. Teachers reported increased feelings of preparedness when post college experiences were considered. Overall, teachers expressed positive attitudes towards writing and teaching writing, but did not engage in writing outside of school purposes. Results indicate teacher efficacy and teacher writing efficacy are separable constructs. Teachers’ attitudes towards teaching writing were predictive of teacher writing efficacy, teachers reported use of classroom practices for teaching writing, and the amount of time students spent writing. Significant differences were found between low- and high-efficacy teachers. Implications, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.