Interplay: Factors affecting the music teaching self-efficacy of pre-service student teachers
This thesis examines the factors that affect teaching self-efficacy related to Music in preservice teacher education students. This study specifically focused on the factors that affect the initial formation of Music Teaching Self-Efficacy and changes that occurred over time. Music is one strand of the Creative Arts in which many student teachers display a low level of teaching efficacy, i.e. their belief in their ability to teach Music, even after concentrated periods of study which often carries over into their permanent teaching careers. These low perceptions of ability are of particular concern in New South Wales (Australia) where generalist teachers are required to teach Music as part of the mandated curriculum in the primary (elementary) sector of schooling. This study was a longitudinal design developed predominantly with a quantitative framework through a pre-test/post-test survey questionnaire. The survey data were supplemented with qualitative data gathered through a small number of in-depth interviews. The subjects participated in the study across the compulsory two-year methodology component of their primary (elementary) teacher education degree. The theoretical perspectives of Bandura’s (1977, 1986) construct of Self-Efficacy informed the design of this study and the data analyses. The results largely support the hypothesis that General Teaching Self-Efficacy influences Creative Arts, which, in turn, influences teaching self-efficacy for Music in a nested sequence. Paired T-tests showed that teaching self-efficacy increased over the period of the study, at each of the three levels: generally in teaching across the curriculum, specifically in teaching within the Creative Arts and specifically in music teaching. While the increases were similar for the three levels, teaching self-efficacy for Music was the lowest of the levels measured. Regression analyses revealed that for the student teachers in this study. Music Teaching Self-Efficacy depends more on perceived musical ability than on general or specific teaching self-efficacy. The importance of Musical Ability Perceptions was also seen in the analysis of change, which showed that it was the greatest single influence on change in Music Teaching Self-Efficacy. Current teaching self efficacy in the Creative Arts was also a major influence along with the amount of music teaching experience, which made a significant, although smaller contribution. The interview data results were consistent with the survey data results in that perceptions of musical ability were clearly the strongest influence on Music Teaching Self-Efficacy both initially and over time.