Self-Efficacy of Oklahoma Career and Technology Education Trade and Industrial Teachers and Influences That Affect Retention: A Mixed- Methods Study
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The purpose of this mixed methods study was to discover reasons Oklahoma T & I teachers choose to remain in teaching; many of whom were described as career switchers. Of particular interest was examining various types of teacher supports and factors, including mentorship that contributed to participants' decisions to remain in the teaching profession. The primary goal of this study was to examine influences on decision making as it relates to teacher retention. This research focused on a pragmatism philosophy through which both Attribution Theory and Self-efficacy based on Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory provided understandings of decision making processes. The study occurred in two sequential phases. The first phase was an online survey containing biographical questions and the Teacher's Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES) and the second phase were face-to-face interviews. One-hundred sixty two Oklahoma Trade and Industrial (T & I) teachers with at least three years of experience participated in the survey. The results of the survey were analyzed and reported as descriptive statistics. The TSES was analyzed for correlation between self-efficacy and years taught. Results indicated there was no statistical significance among the two variables. Interview participants were chosen from the outlier means scores from the TSES overall scores. Three interviews were conducted of low sense of efficacy and three were conducted on high sense of efficacy. In a cross-analysis among all interviewees, several themes developed that shaped decision making toward a sustained teaching career: Student achievement as inspiration and differences in realities of industry and in the classroom. Informal and formal themes concerning teacher supports emerged that influenced decisions to remain as a T & I teacher. The primary support were on-site mentors that provided professional guidance and a positive influence during early career challenges. Implications for practice centered on future teacher induction processes focused on student-centered development and administration playing a more inclusive role. The study revealed a need for on-going support to exist beyond the initial years of employment for teachers to maintain an increased sense of efficacy. Finally, recommendations for future research and recommendations for practice were stated.
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