• Career Decisions: Goodness-Of-Fit and Attrition of Teachers in Alternative Schools

      Coulter, Deidre S. (2010-09-21)
      Teachers are the most important element in the education system (Stronge, 2002). However, studies of teachers in certain sectors are lacking. The paucity of research on teachers who work in the alternative school environment was a driving force behind this study, which is a case study of the characteristics of alternative schools, perceptions of teacher training, attrition, and goodness-of-fit. Interviews with teachers, administrators, and support staff in an alternative school were used to investigate interactions between teachers and students and between colleagues. Classroom observations of the teachers were used to help explore the classroom climate. Emergent themes such as communication, administrative support, and a holistic view of the student population are explored using the filter of symbolic interaction theory in order to describe the characteristics of effective alternative school teachers, administrators, and staff. Symbolic interaction theory uses the internal shorthand that individuals develop to identify how their actions reflect their thoughts and feelings about the setting in which they find themselves. Implications for future research on the teacher-environment fit in alternative schools are discussed.
    • Teacher Self-Efficacy Beliefs Related to Chronic Disruptive Behavior

      Jones, Kalinda R. (2011-09-20)
      In the current study, elementary teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs regarding working with students displaying chronic disruptive behavior (CDB) were explored. CDB was defined as persistent observable actions that have a negative impact on academic or social functioning. To address the infrequently researched construct of self-efficacy beliefs specific to teaching students exhibiting CDB, a modified version of the Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (short form) was used. Factor analysis results indicated the three self-efficacy factors of instructional strategies self-efficacy, classroom management self-efficacy, and student engagement self-efficacy. No significant relationships were found between each of the three types of teacher self-efficacy beliefs and the combination of the demographic variables of education level, years of teaching experience, and gender. No significant difference was found in self-efficacy beliefs among the teaching focus areas of general education, special education, and specialty education. Potential relationships were explored with each type of teacher self-efficacy beliefs and teachers’ current and past experience working with students displaying CDB, past training and desire for future professional development related to working with students with CDB, and perceived support when working with students displaying CDB. Past training and perceived support were significantly related to both instructional self-efficacy beliefs and student engagement self-efficacy beliefs. Previous experience, past training, and perceived support were significantly related to classroom management self-efficacy beliefs. Implications for research and practice regarding teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs when working with students displaying chronic disruptive behavior are discussed.