Leading an excellent preschool: what is the role of self-efficacy?

Published date08 October 2018
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/QAE-04-2018-0045
Date08 October 2018
Pages430-445
AuthorYael Fisher,Keren Seroussi
Subject MatterEducation,Curriculum, instruction & assessment,Educational evaluation/assessment
Leading an excellent preschool:
what is the role of self-ecacy?
Yael Fisher and Keren Seroussi
Department of Educational Administration, Achva Academic College,
Shikmim, Israel
Abstract
Purpose This study was carried out in 2013 and aims to dene the professionalself-efcacy of preschool
teachers (PTSE); dene preschool teachers'perception of preschool excellence (PTPPE); and investigate the
relationshipbetween the two.
Design/methodology/approach Scales for PTPSE and PTPPE were developed especially for this
study. Preschool teachers (N = 202) participatedduring the 2013 school year. Structural equation modelling
was performedto test the t between the research model and the obtained data.
Findings PTPSE scale (a = 0.91) comprised threesubscales: pedagogy (a = 0.84), organisation (a = 0.85)
and staff (a = 0.72). The PTPPE scale (a = 0.92) is also composed of three subscales: organisation and
pedagogy (a = 0.88), staff (a = 0.84) and parents (a = 0.83). The goodness of t measureswere RMSEA =
0.045, CFI= 0.97, NFI = 0.89, df = 173,
x
2
= 242.94, p= 0.000,showing GFI = 1.4 (3) as a good t.
Research limitations/implications As the sample was relatively small, the results need to be
replicated with largersamples. Therefore, the conclusions of this studyare only partially applicable. Another
limitationis that both the PTPSES and PTPPE were testedonly in Israel and not in other environments.
Practical implications Understanding self-efcacyof preschool teachers, preschool excellence and the
relations between them could assist policymakers with decisions concerning continuing professional
development(in service training) of preschool teachers.
Originality/value Little is known about perceivedself-efcacy of preschool teachers, their perception of
preschoolexcellence or the relations between the two.
Keywords Self-efcacy, Preschool, Preschool excellence, Preschool teachers
Paper type Research paper
Theoretical background
Very few studies if any have dealt with the issue the characteristics or denitions of
excellent preschools and self-efcacyof preschool teachers. The attempt to connect between
the two is a new approach.
Excellent schools terminology and denitions
One of the most notable characteristics of excellent schools is the existence of a clearly
established underlying mission, which motivates all of the schools activities and decisions.
The mission is grounded in the pursuit of academicexcellence, adapting to studentsneeds
in terms of their cognitive development and promoting social equality (Rattan et al.,2015).
Studies have proposed seven major factors that dene excellent schools (Fisher and
Heimann, 2008;Fisher,2012): the principals leadership, organisational structureand annual
pedagogical plan, academic achievements, the schools pedagogical staff, diversity of the
student body, qualityof life at school and the school's relations with the parents.
In regard to academic achievements in excellent schools, the curriculum planning, the
teaching and the evaluation are all performed at the highest standards, and each student is
QAE
26,4
430
Received27 April 2018
Revised19 July 2018
Accepted21 July 2018
QualityAssurance in Education
Vol.26 No. 4, 2018
pp. 430-445
© Emerald Publishing Limited
0968-4883
DOI 10.1108/QAE-04-2018-0045
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/0968-4883.htm
expected to meet the required standards. Self-evaluation processes are also employed
(Antoniou et al.,2016). It has beenshown that schools dened as excellent allow the members
of their teaching faculties to plan,choose and participate in their own course of professional
development as well as in the studentsacademic development. Teachers are given ample
opportunity to collaborate with colleagues, expand their professional knowledge and
improve their teaching skills. In addition, they partake in decision-making on matters
pertaining to the curriculumand to teaching methodologies.
Preschool and preschool teachers in Israel
In Israel, the term preschool teacherrefers to all educators who teach children of ages threeto
six. Preschool and kindergarten attendance for these age groups is mandated by law. Only
in 2015 was the Free Compulsory Education Law for ages three to four enacted, which
requires all children from age three to attend a preschool, which can belong either to the
municipal or regional authority, or a privatepreschool licenced by the local authority. Until
2015, attending a preschool framework was mandatory only from the age ofve. Preschool
and kindergarten teachers' pedagogical, health and safety practices are supervised by the
Ministry of Education.
Preschool teachers in effect manage their preschool; they have to be certied teachers,
with a BEd degree to be the head teacher. A characteristic of preschools is the internal
hierarchical structure, whereby the teacher assistant, the inclusion teachers, psychologists,
the parent teacher association members and supplementary teachers of extracurricular
disciplines (e.g. teachers of art, movement and music) report to the head preschool teacher
(Frish, 2012).
The preschool teachers are responsible for providing a safe and developmentally
appropriate preschool programme, in accordance with all relevant legislation, policies and
regulations. Thus, the nature of a preschool's day-to-day activities allows the teacher a fair
degree of autonomy, although there is general educational programme, dictated by the
Ministry of Education. The managing teacher can determine the daily schedule, as well as
the specic teachingcontents, values and teaching methods (Shkedi and Nisan, 2006).
The interaction with the children, including the language used and the general
pedagogical practices used, has a major impact on the childrens general development,
(Hamre et al., 2014). Therefore,the teacher's role as the mediator of the relationship between
children's behaviouralproblems and the overall emotional climate in the classroom is crucial
(Friedman-Krausset al.,2014).
Professional self-ecacy and teacher self-ecacy
The concept of self-efcacy has been termed professional self-efcacywhen appliedto the
context of organisational psychology and is dened as the belief in ones ability to control
events and behaviours affecting professional activities and life (Cherniss, 1993). The
literature mentionstwo aspects of the term: self-efcacy of the profession and self-efcacy of
the professional (Guskey and Passaro, 1994). Self-efcacy of the profession refers to the
beliefs pertinent to the specic professional discipline, i.e. belief that the profession can
inuence others. Thus, for example, educators believe that education or teaching
can inuence students. Self-efcacy of the professional refers to the belief that one can
successfully perform the tasks of ones profession. Thus, individual teachers perceive
themselves as good professionalswhen they believe in their individual ability to make a
difference and inuence their students'future. Both aspects together comprise the notion of
professional self-efcacy(Zee and Koomen, 2016.).
Excellent
preschool
431

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