Between distinctions: Targeting high school teacher collective efficacy to serve economically disadvantaged students



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This qualitative study utilized a design-based action-research model to investigate the potential for increasing the Teacher Collective Efficacy (TCE) of an English I Professional Learning Community (PLC) related to teaching economically disadvantaged (Eco-Dis) students on an affluent high school campus. This study was guided by the following Research Questions: In what ways can the change drivers of meaningful collaboration, data-driven instructional practices, and growth mindset development influence teachers’ beliefs about their collective ability to improve the achievement of Eco-Dis students in English I? What are the lived experiences of teachers participating in targeted professional development aimed at influencing TCE?

Timely access to accurate information identifying economically disadvantaged students proved to be vital to the teachers’ awareness, empathy, and self-reflection during this study. The study found that the change drivers were intertwined in strengthening one another and were anchored in the improved organizational behaviors established during a PLC reset. The intervention program strengthened TCE by leveraging the sources of efficacy: mastery experience, vicarious experience, social persuasion, and affective state. Misconceptions about economically disadvantaged students surfaced when teachers were given accurate information, time, and prompts for reflection. The teachers experienced beneficial disequilibrium, describing the change process as easier due to the novelty of the group.

The ultimate long term goal of this study and intervention program was to improve the academic performance of this campus’s Eco-Dis students in English I by changing adult practices in such a way as to strengthen TCE.



Teacher Collective Efficacy, Economically Disadvantaged Students