Literacy instruction orientation and practices, and self-efficacy in teachers

Jelia Roxanne Domingo, Fordham University


The problem investigated by this study was whether teachers of kindergarten through second grade feel themselves to be effective literacy teachers and if they do not feel effective, to find out whether their agreement or disagreement with the literacy methodologies required by the school was a factor. The mixed methods approach to this study involved participants' completion of the Teacher Perceptions About Early Reading and Spelling measure, Teacher Sense of Efficacy scale, and open ended questionnaire. Three of the participants then participated in 180 minutes of observations and a debriefing interview. The majority of the participants in this study (24 out of 26) had a code-based/phonics literacy instruction orientation. As their school incorporated more whole language methodologies in their move toward balanced literacy, teachers expressed discomfort. Results of the Teacher Self-Efficacy scale seemed to indicate that all teachers had high self-efficacy. The open-ended questionnaire responses gave evidence of widespread disagreement with the literacy instruction mandates of the school and indicated that many teachers had lower self-efficacy than indicated on the Teacher Self-Efficacy scale. The observations and interviews of the three case study participants showed two responses to school requirements. One response was modified compliance in which teachers performed many of the tasks required, but spent the majority of class time using their preferred teaching methods. The pattern of responses in the interviews and open-ended questionnaires of these teachers indicated high self-efficacy in spite of strong disagreement with the school's literacy policy. The alternate response was complete compliance with evidence of lower teacher self-efficacy according to the open-ended questionnaire and interview. The unanticipated finding in this study was how the level of fear of retribution from the administrative staff affected participation in the study. Several participants of the study informed the researcher that they had answered dishonestly on the Teacher Self-Efficacy scale because they were afraid that the principal would see their responses. The case study participants acknowledged feelings of intimidation but responded to it in different ways. This discrepancy appears to indicate that fear levels may have played a more important role in Teacher Self-Efficacy and teachers' acceptance of recently adopted literacy programs and methodologies than previously anticipated.

Subject Area

Elementary education|Teacher education|Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

Domingo, Jelia Roxanne, "Literacy instruction orientation and practices, and self-efficacy in teachers" (2010). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3420958.