The role of contextual factors in understanding mathematics teacher efficacy beliefs
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Citation of Original PublicationAustin, J. (2013). The role of contextual factors in understanding mathematics teacher efficacy beliefs. Journal of Mathematical Sciences and Mathematics Education, 8(2)c
The purpose of this article is to argue for a more nuanced view of mathematics teacher efficacy beliefs as a construct. I argue that most researchers studying teacher efficacy assert that teachers should display a strong sense of teacher efficacy, even though the ways teacher efficacy beliefs are often measured are not specific to any content area. This belief apparently is based on the assumption that a strong sense of teacher efficacy results in more effective teaching. Other explanatory variables (e.g., teachers’ content knowledge for teaching and the content to be taught) are important contextual factors affecting teacher efficacy beliefs. I argue that these too often have been neglected in the existing literature. An understanding of the effects of these contextual factors can help reveal why advocating a strong sense of teacher efficacy is too simple a prescription for improving teaching.