"Autonomous, but Together: Exploring Elementary School Teachers' Sense of Autonomy and Self-Efficacy"
American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting
Theme: Leveraging Educational Research in a “Post-Truth” Era: Multimodal Narratives to Democratize Evidence
April 5-9, 2019
Title: Autonomous, but Together: Exploring Elementary School Teachers' Sense of Autonomy and Self-Efficacy (Paper)
Session: Teacher-Centered Professional Development: Promoting Autonomy and Collaboration
Author: Ha Nguyen
Abstract: Teachers experience individual autonomy in their classroom and collective autonomy in decision-making with other teachers to improve instruction and school environments. This mixed-method study examined the relationships among teacher self-efficacy, individual autonomy in the classroom, and collective autonomy in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Analysis of data from the North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions Survey 2014 and from focus groups revealed that elementary school teachers with higher perceptions of individual and collective autonomy considered their teaching to be more efficacious. Paradoxically, teachers who reported more frequent participation in PLCs were more likely to perceive lower teaching efficacy—particularly in schools with high teacher turnover. Implications include catering to teacher autonomy and self-efficacy in professional development as means of teacher retention.