The influence of perceived collective teacher efficacy, and contextual variables on individual teacher efficacy of special education teachers serving students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds



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Research over the last three decades has documented that teacher efficacy has an effect on student achievement (Armor et al., 1976; Bandura, 1997). The literature on culturally responsive teaching (CRT) recognizes teacher efficacy as one of the attributes of successful teachers of students from culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) backgrounds (Gay, 2000; Ladson-Billings, 1994). Researchers (e.g., Goddard & Goddard, 2001) have also found that collective teacher efficacy (CTE) beliefs can affect teachers’ goal setting, motivation, and persistence with challenging tasks or situations; specifically, the CTE construct not only explains school-level effects on achievement, but also explains effects on individual teachers’ self-efficacy. When CLD students require special education services, their instruction must be equally responsive to their cultural and linguistic characteristics in addition to their educational needs based on the disability (García & Ortiz, 2004; McCray & García, 2002). Consequently, CRT practices are central to improve these students’ learning outcomes (Gay, 2000). The purpose of this descriptive, correlational survey research study was to investigate (a) the relationship between special education teachers’ collective teacher efficacy beliefs and CRT efficacy for teaching CLD students in special education; and (b) the influences of personal and professional background variables on participating teachers’ CRT efficacy beliefs. The survey was sent to 855 special education teachers of CLD students with disabilities in three urban school districts in Texas; 344 complete responses were received, yielding a 44% response rate. The survey consisted of four sections: Background Information, Collective Teacher Efficacy (CTE), Culturally Responsive Teaching Self-Efficacy Scale (CRTSE), and Culturally Responsive Teaching Outcome-Expectancy Scale (CRTOE). Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, factor analysis, analysis of variance, and multiple regression. The results revealed statistically significant relationships (a) between CRTSE and CRTOE beliefs, with a positive and moderate association; and (b) between CTE and CRT efficacy beliefs (CRTSE as well as CRTOE), but the associations were positive and weak. Teachers’ language characteristics, instructional setting, certification in bilingual education/English as a second language, and their perceptions of the quality of their professional preparation emerged as significant influences on their CRTSE and CRTOE beliefs. Implications for teacher education and future research are presented.