The teacher who inspired you every time she walked into a class, the teacher who spoke about her subject like it was the most important in the world, the teacher who watered curious minds so the effort in her lessons was clearly visible. Does this remind you of someone you know? Or did you always just dream of learning in a class like that?
In the modern schooling system, student performance and academic achievement is given utmost priority. The pressure of this expectation is the highest on teachers and thus the intensity of professional and personal scrutiny of teachers is high. Many teachers feel ill-equipped to deal with the low attention span and disengagement of students in the classroom. For the success of the education systems, one crucial factor is the confidence that teachers have in their teaching-learning skills and abilities to produce effective outcomes.
An educator’s sense of belief in his own learning and execution is quintessential to the performance of a student. Along with self-confidence, having faith in the capabilities of your co-teachers, colleagues and school systems is critical to the achievement of students in a class.
Teacher efficacy is exhibited through the enthusiasm for teaching while learning simultaneously, commitment to the profession and positively approaching classroom diversity. The perspective of viewing roadblocks as challenges would promote teachers to learn consistently to better their efforts and practice differently. Implementing these strategies and moulding them as per the divergent needs of students would lead to a notable surge in the self-confidence of students and achieve better results.
Research suggests that there is an inevitable impact of external factors on scholastic learning. Parenting styles and involvement, social environment, access to resources, economic privileges, innate abilities of students, peer influence and quality of education provided, affect a student’s prospects in the future.
However, when a teacher wants to evaluate and improve student performance, the focus must lie on factors within their control, like classroom environment, teaching and learning strategies used in class, collaboration with co-teachers, differentiated learning, building student motivation and confidence along with positive reinforcements. Teachers who attribute the success of students to their own confidence and teaching potential have demonstrated higher levels of efficacy.
Teachers with high efficacy believe in taking calculated risks. They experiment willingly and are aware that the process is never free of errors. This helps them to understand their classroom dynamics and plan better each time. In contrast, teachers who view experimentation as time-consuming, unreliable and unmanageable face stagnancy in their classes as well as student performances. Such educators tend to deliver results only when they have students who are innately competent in academics. Teachers with low efficacy perceive certain students as “difficult” and “disruptive”, or subpar performances of students as “incompetent”. Thus,inclusivity is viewed as inappropriate. Many teachers are not prepared to deal with the same which in turn impacts student performance in the short and long run.
Every classroom is heterogeneous and thus, homogenous strategies of teaching and assessment will rarely yield positive outcomes for all students.
Efficacy in teachers is intensified when a group of teachers share the same beliefs and collective efficacy influences student achievement considerably. Every organisation contributes to the efficacy of its teachers. Teachers attending to multiple responsibilities in school display higher efficacy as they see themselves as an integral part of the organisation. They have an elevated sense of commitment resulting in higher self-confidence, motivation and a lower attrition rate. It is thus advisable for organisations to evaluate their teachers on a timely basis and provide them with roles that improve their self-worth and confidence in their abilities. Reiterating my opinion from an educator’s perspective — cultivating and nurturing teacher efficacy is at the crux of the process that leads to the enhancement of the overall performance of students.