How Attitude, Self-efficacy, and Job Satisfaction Relate with Teaching Strategies?

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

Abstract

The primary purpose of the present study was to explore whether there was any significant relationship between attitude, self-efficacy, and job satisfaction of Iranian EFL teachers on the one hand, and their choice of teaching strategies. Strategies mostly used by participants of the study with low, mid, and high levels of self-efficacy comprised another purpose of the study. To this end, a questionnaire was developed, piloted, validated, and its reliability was estimated for collecting the required data. Subsequently, based on cluster sampling, 420 male and female teachers from three different educational districts of Tehran responded to the questionnaire. Three separate MANOVAs were run to investigate the effect of teachers’ attitudes on strategies they employed for teaching grammar, vocabulary, and reading. This was followed by the same approach to study the effect of teachers’ self-efficacy and job-satisfaction levels, as well. The results revealed a significant relationship between three factors (attitude, self-efficacy, and job satisfaction) and teachers’ choice of teaching strategies. Moreover, based on the scores obtained from the answers to the questionnaire, participants were classified into three levels of low, mid, and high which corresponded with their degrees of attitude, self-efficacy, and job satisfaction. Accordingly, it was shown that high level of attitude, self-efficacy, and job satisfaction strongly affected teachers’ use of vocabulary teaching strategies; mid to high level of attitude and efficacy affected use of  reading and grammar strategies. Also, it appeared that strategies for teaching vocabulary are used more frequently among teachers than grammar and reading.

Keywords


Societies with inefficient and rigorous teaching systems are doomed to fail in today’s technological world. Economic, industrial, and political development of many advanced societies is built upon teaching strategies employed by professional teachers who play a significant role in educational change and school improvement (Hargreaver & Fullan, 1992) and are the ultimate key to defining and refining the curriculum, which in turn, help learners accomplish learning. In other words, what learners learn is eventually determined by teachers’ thinking and activities in classrooms.  Personal characteristics of teachers are among the most important driving factors of success in teaching and learning processes.

The literature on teacher characteristics denotes a wide range of roles such as controllers, assessors, prompters, organizers, feedback providers, and knowers to teachers (Harmer; as cited in Hedge, 2008). Teachers decide on a fair attitude to make any form of evaluation (Kayode, Akande & Osagbemi, 2005) and are dedicated towards their job (Bishay, 1996). Moreover, their role as counselors who create environments to generate self-directed language learners is prominent (Clemente, 2001). Likewise, the quality of an educational program, as Dolmans, Wolfhagen, Schmidt, and Van der Vleuten (1994) argue, is assumed to be influenced by teachers’ performance towards their teaching and in the long run on graduates’ competence.

Consequently, to investigate teachers’ affective characteristics in creating a successful teaching process in a well-adjusted style is an issue highly at stake. It is important to note that currently for the vast majority of teachers, enhancing students’ learning outcome is considered to be the main achievement; in other words, satisfaction and success of some teachers is determined by learning outcomes. Fullan (1999), for example, has found that, regardless of teaching level, most teachers delineate their victory on the basis of their students’ behaviors and activities rather than in terms of themselves. However, several factors intervene in teachers’ performance and thus teaching outcome. For instance, a very suitable framework has been offered by Freeman (1991) who considers attitudes, knowledge, skills, and awareness as four essential constituents of teacher education. Clemente (2001) has also, proposed four major elements that directly deal with teachers’ attitudes including students, background, colleagues, and self which are referred to as “plausibility” (Prabhu, 1992, p. 161).

One of the roles that teachers should actively adopt is using different strategies to hasten knowledge acquisition and learning potential of students (Magogwe & Oliver, 2007). These strategies are believed to make language learning more successful and enjoyable, more self-directed, and even easier and faster (Oxford, 1990). Cohen (1998) emphasizes teachers’ role in using strategies and giving responsibilities to students to develop their language and find out about their own weaknesses and strengths. Studies in second language reading have shown that readers engage in a wide variety of strategies to promote their reading ability through storage and retrieval of information (Anderson, 1991; Cohen, 1998). Furthermore, there are studies which reveal that strategy training plays a critical role in grammar and vocabulary instruction and thus promote L2 acquisition (DeKeyser, 1993; Schulz, 1996).

 

 

LITERATURE REVIEW

Attitude, one of the weightiest crucial components of teachers’ belief system (Clemente, 2001), is defined as "the whole constellation of beliefs, behaviors, desires, and other internal processes that seem to determine our behavior" (Berg, 2008, p. 3). It is also defined as the “core of human individuality”, “permanent organization of an individual’s motivational, emotional, perceptional, and mental processes towards an event or a psychological object”, “positive or negative sensual intensity”, and “learned tendency” (Bohner &Wanke, 2002; Muller, 1986). Self-experience and personalityare believed to affect teachers’ attitude (Prabhu, 1992; Woodward, 1991) and accelerate academic achievement (Mogharia, Lavasani, Bagherianc & Afsharid, 2011).

Yet, another eminent belief regarded as one of the most influential elements on teacher and student outcomes is teachers’ self-efficacy. Pajares (1992) has postulated that ‘‘beliefs are formed early and tend to self-perpetuate; the earlier a belief is incorporated into the belief structure, the more difficult it is to alter’’ (pp. 324-325). Bandura (1994) has defined self-efficacy as individuals’ beliefs about their abilities to run a certain task at an appointed level, the concept which is related to self-confidence and ability to teach. Moreover, as Bandura (2006) argues, individuals with high self-efficacy are competent to heighten their fulfillments and are more self-organizing, proactive, and self-regulating. On the other hand, a learning environment created to organize learning is influenced by teachers’ beliefs in their instructional efficacy. High self-efficacious teachers believe that difficult students can be teachable if teachers try harder and put extra effort. Contrariwise, teachers with a low sense of teaching efficacy believe that there is little they can do to teach unmotivated students since their success is due to the external environment (Gibson & Dembo, 1984).

Although  teachers are considered as a determinant factor in the quality of classroom instruction (Desimone, Smith & Frisvold, 2007; Justice, Mashburn, Hamre & Pianta, 2008), the link between teachers’ characteristics such as years of experience or level of educational attainment and classroom quality have been failed; also, the role of instructors’ efficiency on the quality of education is not confirmed yet (Justice, Mashburn, Hamre & Pianta, 2008; LoCasale-Crouch, Konold, Pianta, Howes, Burchinal & Bryant, 2007). Furthermore, Senler and Sungur (2010) have found that teachers using instruction strategies effectively could manage classroom at higher levels and engage all students in learning. Teachers with a low level of efficacy, however, seem to be skeptical not only about their own abilities, but also about abilities of their students and colleagues (Siebert, 2006). In general, studies on self-efficacy have shown its impact on achievement and motivation (Gibson & Dembo, 1984), teachers’ adoption of innovation (Guskey, 1988), commitment to teaching (Coladarci, 1992), classroom management and control strategies (Woolfolk & Hoy, 1990), and  personal characteristics such as gender, grade level taught, and experience (Ghaith & Shaaban, 1999).

Job satisfaction, as another important driving factor of constructive attitudes and beliefs of teachers is defined as people’s appreciation of their job or experience leading to a positive emotional state (Locke, 1976) and involves a cognitive, judgmental process. Different studies have confirmed that teachers’ sense of efficacy plays a decisive role in protracting their job satisfaction (Caprara, Barbaranelli, Steca & Malone 2006; Wheatley, 2005). Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) in 2009 has proposed a framework for the analysis of teaching practices and beliefs, professional competence (knowledge and beliefs), teacher classroom practice, teachers’ professional activities, classroom level environment, school level environment, and student background related beliefs and attitude. It is upheld that teachers’ self-efficacy and job satisfaction mainly depend on and interact with their personality, personal experiences, competencies, and attitudes. Also, teachers with high self-efficacy expect to bear fruit in teaching, and this influences their view on the concept of success and disappointment, standards they set, and approaches to deal with difficult instructional situations (Bandura, 1997; Ross, 1998).

Several studies (e.g. Caprara, Barbaranelli, Borgogni, Petitta & Rubinacci, 2003; Caprara, Barbaranelli, Borgogni & Steca, 2003) have signified that the level of satisfaction with job conditions acts upon teachers' beliefs in their capacity to efficaciously manage class situations, educational tasks, and interpersonal relationships with the other school members. It can be concluded that in order to be able to create conditions to promote work satisfaction, teachers need high level of self-efficacy beliefs.  On the other hand, due to many new responsibilities and lack of external rewards, teachers in many countries are likely to be at risk of job burnout; thus teachers’ perceived sense of competence is likely to be one of the sources of satisfaction and motivation. Strong self-efficacy beliefs can prevent stress and is linked to instructional practices and student achievement (Ashton & Webb, 1986; Ross, 1998).

Different factors such as personal experience, personality, and motivation which contribute to job satisfaction overlap with those of self-efficacy and attitude. As a case in point, a higher self-efficacy is an element which leads to a higher job satisfaction, which in turn, results in a more preferable attitude toward the job (here working as a language teacher). Another instance of this overlap could be the reciprocal positive correlation between motivation on the one hand and self-efficacy and job satisfaction on the other. By taking this point into consideration, at least as much as self-efficacy, job satisfaction is necessary to have satisfactory teaching results due to related value and attitude.

 

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

As further improvement of teachers’ knowledge and teaching capabilities seem to be a critical requirement for educational development of any society, this study aimed at studying strategies which seem to be useful in developing human resources. To support educational teacher training courses, as Al-Mekhlafi and Ramani (2009) believe, the more teachers are well-informed, the better they can make sound decisions. Hence, another aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of teachers’ attitude, self-efficacy, and job satisfaction on the choice of teaching strategies applied by them in classrooms. However, not definitely demarcated as one of the major goals of the study, revealing some information about affective psychological factors was also peripheral.

In effect, the present study intended to answer the following research questions:

  1. Is there any significant relationship between Iranian English teachers’ characteristics (namely attitude, self-efficacy, and job satisfaction) and the extent to which they use strategies in teaching grammar, reading, and vocabulary?
  2. Which of the above characteristics has a more effective role in using teaching strategies by Iranian English teachers?

 

METHOD

Participants

A number of 420 Iranian English language teachers (135 males & 285 females), from different educational districts of Tehran, Iran were selected based on cluster sampling. About 77% held a Bachelor degree, 13% Masters and 1% were English PhD holders. The remainders had studied other fields or had learned English through a self-learning approach. Participants’ teaching experience varied from six to 38 years and their age ranged from 27 to 60.

 

Instrumentation

In order to compile the data needed for this study, a questionnaire developed by the researchers was utilized (see Appendix for English version). Primarily, based on previous studies carried out in the field and after negotiation with different teachers on the strategies they used and suggestions they had regarding the content and format of a questionnaire, 70 items were generated. Subsequently, after revising the items, the number of items was reduced to 60 under four different teaching strategy categories: Reading strategies (7 items), grammar strategies (8 items), vocabulary strategies (20 items), and general items regarding teacher characteristics (25 items).

Subsequently, the questionnaire was reviewed by four professional experts selected from among distinguished professors of Applied Linguistics with more than 20 years of experience in English language teaching. In total, 63 items were organized for the pilot study, eight of them were modified and three of them were removed. At final stage, the clarity of items was confirmed by the experts.

Final version of the questionnaire consisted of 60 items, 35 of which were related to teachers’ strategies, 18 to their attitude, 10 to self-efficacy, and 14 to job satisfaction. Some questions, however, addressed two or more of the above four areas simultaneously with the same categories mentioned above. A five-point Likert approach (with strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, and strongly disagree choices) was employed to enable the researchers to quantify results obtained. Moreover, to collect some general information about the respondents, some items asking for age, gender, academic degree and major, years of experience, and school’s ownership (private or public) were included. Meanwhile, the questionnaire’s reliability was estimated through Cronbach’s alpha (r=0.89); reliability indices for the components of the questionnaire ranged from 0.85 (job satisfaction) to 0.66 (grammar). In order to examine the questionnaire’s construct validity a factor analysis through the varimax rotation method was carried out to probe the underlying constructs of the six components of the questionnaire. The SPSS extracted two factors which accounted for 70.518% of the total variance. Table 1 displays factor loadings for six components. Job-satisfaction, attitude, and vocabulary components load on the first factor; grammar loads on the second factor while self-efficacy has its loadings on both factors.

 

Table 1: Factor Loadings

 

Component

1

2

Job satisfaction

.90

 

Attitude

.82

 

Reading

.65

 

Grammar

 

.77

Vocabulary

.74

 

Self-efficacy

.62

.50

 

Factor Analysis

An exploratory factor analysis in the sense that SPSS decides on the number of factors to be extracted, through the principal axis factoring and varimax rotation was run to probe the underlying constructs of the items of the questionnaire. It should be mentioned the present sample size of 420 is adequate to run a factor analysis. As displayed in Table2 the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy is higher than 0.50 (KMO=0.8>0.50). It should be mentioned that Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity=3877.18, P=.000<0.05indicates that there are fair correlations among all items of the questionnaire.

 

Table2: KMO and Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity

Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy.

.88

Bartlett's Test of Sphericity

Approx. Chi-Square

3877.18

Df

195

Sig.

.000

 

 

 

Data Collection

For sampling purposes, 19 educational districts of Tehran were divided into three main areas including north (6 districts), center (6 districts), and south (7districts). Four hundred and twenty questionnaires were distributed among participants who were selected based on cluster sampling from different districts of Tehran (namely 130, 134, and 156 participants from north, center, and south districts of Tehran, respectively). The questionnaire was distributed upon the permission awarded by official authorities of the Ministry of Education. The incomplete, invalid or suspicious answers were crossed out. The remaining information was utilized as inputs to data analysis.

 

Data Analysis

In order to analyze the data gathered from the questionnaire, Pearson product moment correlation coefficient was used to find answer to the first research question of the study; that is, to examine whether there was a relationship between the participants’ attitude, self-efficacy, and job satisfaction and the strategies they used while teaching. Moreover, to answer the second research question, it was necessary to divide teachers into three groups of high, mid, and low based on total scores on attitude, self-efficacy, and job-satisfaction. Subsequently, three separate MANOVAs were run to investigate the effect of teachers’ attitude levels, self-efficacy levels, and job satisfaction levels on strategies they employed for teaching grammar, vocabulary, and reading.

 

RESULTS

First Research Question

To answer the first research question Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated to find the relationships between Iranian EFL teachers’ attitude, self-efficacy, job satisfaction, and their use of teaching strategies. As displayed in Table 3, all of the R-values show statistically significant relationships (P=.000<.05) between the variables. Based on these results, it can be concluded that there are significant relationships between Iranian EFL teachers’ attitude, self-efficacy, job satisfaction, and their use of teaching strategies.

 

Table 3: Correlation, attitude/self-efficacy/job satisfaction & teaching strategies

 

Vocabulary

Grammar

Reading

Attitude

Correlation

.24**

.24**

.36**

Sig. (2-tailed)

.000

.000

.000

N

420

420

420

Self-efficacy

Correlation

.33**

.21**

.26**

Sig. (2-tailed)

.000

.000

.000

N

420

420

420

Job satisfaction

Correlation

.23**

.27**

.48**

Sig. (2-tailed)

.000

.000

.000

N

420

420

420

**Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)

 

According to Field (2009) if a series of analyses are carried out to probe a single research question, the Bonferroni correction should be applied to reduce the chance of committing type I error. To this end, level of significance was divided into the number of correlation coefficients calculated for a single study and the new alpha for controlling Type I error was .0055 (0.05 divided by 9). Comparing the probabilities mentioned in Table 3 with the new alpha value (.0055), it could be concluded that all of the above mentioned Pearson values are statistically significant and there is a significant relationship between Iranian English teachers’ attitude, self-efficacy, job satisfaction, and the extent to which they use strategies in teaching grammar, reading, and vocabulary.

As Table 3 signifies, the highest correlation coefficient is between teachers’ job satisfaction with their strategies for teaching reading (R=.47), followed by coefficient between teachers’ self-efficacy and strategies for teaching vocabulary (R=.33); however, the lowest correlation is between the teachers’ self-efficacy with strategies for teaching grammar (R=.21). The teachers’ comments at the end of the questionnaire indicated that they didn’t believe grammar to have a crucial role in teaching English. Having its roots in traditional Grammar Translation Method, grammar didn’t seem to be of interest for language teachers. The participants of the study, as their comments at the end of the questionnaire implied, had a more or less negative attitude toward teaching grammar, and they believed that other components of language possessed a more significant role in language learning.

 

Second Research Question

As mentioned in the data analysis section, the participants were classified into three groups to enable the researchers to find an answer to the second question of the study. In order to classify teachers, each of the three measures (attitude, self-efficacy, job-satisfaction) was divided into high, medium, and low levels, based on mean scores and standard deviations as depicted in Table 4. For each measure, values more than one standard error above and below the mean were considered high, and low, respectively, otherwise medium.

 

Table 4: Descriptive statistics, teachers’ attitude, self-efficacy & job satisfaction

Descriptive Statistics

Number of teachers

 

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Low

Mid

High

Attitude

420

35.31

3.22

26

325

69

Self-efficacy

420

36.32

3.27

56

313

51

Job satisfaction

420

35.55

3.36

67

284

69

 

Table 5: Teachers’ attitude levels on using strategies

Effect

Value

F

Hypothesis df

Error df

Sig.

Attitude level

Pillai's Trace

.17

13.13

6.00

832.00

.000

Wilks' Lambda

.82

13.60a

6.00

830.00

.000

Hotelling's Trace

.20

14.06

6.00

828.00

.000

Roy's Largest Root

.19

26.49b

3.00

416.00

.000

 

MANOVA was run to investigate the effect of teachers’ attitude levels on their use of strategies (Table 5). The F-observed value [F(2, 417)=10.86, p=.000] for the effect of teachers’ levels of attitude shows that teachers’ attitude levels have a significant effect on their use of strategies. Although these results indicate that levels of the teachers’ attitude have a significant effect on their use of strategies when teaching vocabulary, grammar, and reading, it is not clear whether the effect is significant for all strategies. As displayed in Table 6, F-observed values for the effect of teachers’ levels of attitude on teaching vocabulary [F(2, 417)=35.58, p=.000], grammar [F (2, 417)=11.21, p=.000], and reading [F(2, 417)=9.78, p=.000] are all significant; that is, the teachers’ levels of attitude have a significant effect on their use of strategies.

Table 6: Teachers’ levels of attitude on vocabulary, grammar & reading

Dependent Variable

Sum of Squares

Df

Mean Square

F

Sig.

Vocabulary

Contrast

888.74

2

444.37

12.48

.000

Error

14839.09

417

35.58

 

 

Grammar

Contrast

149.81

2

74.90

6.68

.001

Error

4674.74

417

11.21

 

 

Reading

Contrast

724.00

2

362.00

37.00

.000

Error

4079.65

417

9.78

 

 

 

Table 7 illustrates descriptive statistics for the effect of teachers’ attitude on their use of strategies. The mean scores for the low and mid groups are almost the same; however, the high attitude groups show the highest mean scores for all three strategies.

 

Table 7: Descriptive statistics, vocabulary, grammar & reading by attitude levels

Dependent Variable

Attitude level

Mean

Std. Error

95% Confidence Interval

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

Vocabulary

LOW

33.53

.29

32.95

34.11

MID

34.47

.22

34.02

34.91

HIGH

35.18

.30

34.59

35.77

Grammar

LOW

32.48

.40

31.68

33.29

MID

32.70

.31

32.08

33.32

HIGH

34.68

.41

33.86

35.50

Reading

LOW

32.95

.42

32.12

33.78

MID

32.96

.32

32.32

33.61

HIGH

36.69

.43

35.84

37.54

 

All of the significant F-values discussed above, indicate that teachers’ levels of attitude have a significant effect on their use of strategies. Nevertheless, they do not show where the exact differences are. The post-hoc comparison tests (Table 8) compare attitude levels two by two on the three strategies separately. Based on these results the following conclusions can be made:

 

Vocabulary

There is no significant difference between the low (M=33.53) and the mid (M=34.47) attitude levels on teaching vocabulary; teachers with a moderate attitude use more strategies when teaching vocabulary. There is a significant difference between the low (M=33.53) and the high (M=35.18) attitude levels on teaching vocabulary. This means that teachers with a high attitude use more strategies when teaching vocabulary. Moreover, there is a significant difference between the high (M=35.18) and mid (M=34.47) attitude levels on teaching vocabulary.

 

Table 8: Post-Hoc comparison on vocabulary, grammar & reading by attitude levels

Dependent Variable

(I) Attitude Level

(J) Attitude Level

Mean Difference (I-J)

Std. Error

Sig.a

95% Confidence Interval for Differencea

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

Vocabulary

LOW

MID

-2.68

1.216

.086

-5.830

.34

HIGH

-6.01*

1.37

.000

-9.38

-2.64

MID

HIGH

-3.32*

.77

.000

-5.23

1.38

Grammar

LOW

MID

-.31

.51

1.00

-1.45

1.02

HIGH

-1.95*

.78

.001

-3.59

-.79

MID

HIGH

-1.58*

.72

.001

-3.24

-.72

Reading

LOW

MID

-.13

.63

1.00

-1.30

1.27

HIGH

-3.73*

.60

.000

-5.19

-2.28

MID

HIGH

-3.54*

.54

.000

-5.03

-2.41

*The mean difference is significant at the .05 level.

a. Adjustment for multiple comparisons: Bonferroni.

 

Grammar

There is no significant difference between the low (M=32.48) and the mid (M=32.70) attitude levels on teaching grammar. There is a significant difference between the low (M=32.48) and the high (M=34.68) attitude levels on teaching grammar, i.e., teachers with a high attitude use more strategies when teaching grammar. Also, there is a significant difference between the high (M=34.68) and the mid (M=32.70) attitude levels on teaching grammar. Teachers with a high attitude use more strategies when teaching grammar.

 

Reading

There is no significant difference between the low (M=32.95) and the mid (M=32.96) attitude levels on teaching reading. There is a significant difference between the low (M=32.95) and the high (M=36.69) attitude levels on teaching reading. Teachers with a high attitude use more strategies when teaching reading. Furthermore, there is a significant difference between the high (M=36.69) and the mid (M=32.96) attitude levels on teaching reading; teachers with a high attitude use more strategies when teaching reading.

 MANOVA results (Table 9) for the effect of teachers’ levels of self-efficacy 10.90 (p=.000<.05) signify that self-efficacy levels have a significant effect on use of strategies for teaching grammar, reading, and vocabulary. Still, it is not clear whether the effect is significant for all of the three strategies. As displayed in Table 10, [F(2, 417)=16, p=.000] for the effect of the teachers’ levels of self-efficacy on teaching vocabulary, grammar [F(2, 417)=6.26, p=.000], and reading [F(2, 417)=14.31, p=.001] are significant which show that teachers’ levels of self-efficacy have a significant effect on their use of strategies.

 

 

Table 9: Teachers’ self-efficacy levels on using strategies

Effect

Value

F

Hypothesis df

Error df

Sig.

Self-efficacy level

Pillai's Trace

.11

8.48

6.00

832.00

.000

Wilks' Lambda

.88

8.57a

6.00

830.00

.000

Hotelling's Trace

.17

8.67

6.00

828.00

.000

Roy's Largest Root

.10

14.57b

3.00

416.00

.000

 

Table 10: Teachers’ levels of self-efficacy on vocabulary, grammar & reading

Dependent Variable

Sum of Squares

Df

Mean Square

F

Sig.

Vocabulary

Contrast

1121.42

2

560.71

16.008

.000

Error

14606.42

417

35.02

 

 

Grammar

Contrast

140.63

2

70.31

6.26

.002

Error

4683.92

417

11.23

 

 

Reading

Contrast

308.68

2

154.34

14.31

.001

Error

4494.57

417

10.77

 

 

 

Table 11 signifies the descriptive statistics for the effect of teachers’ self-efficacy on the use of strategies. The order of mean scores for the three groups is from high to low; that is, the high self-efficacy group shows the highest mean scores and the low self-efficacy has the lowest mean scores across the three strategies.

 

Table 11: Descriptive statistics, vocabulary, grammar & reading by self-efficacy levels

Dependent Variable

Self-Efficacy Level

Mean

Std. Error

95% Confidence Interval

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

Vocabulary

LOW

32.81

.28

32.25

33.37

MID

34.65

.21

34.22

35.07

HIGH

35.62

.29

35.04

36.20

Grammar

LOW

31.21

.40

30.42

32.00

MID

33.56

.30

32.96

34.16

HIGH

34.50

.41

33.68

35.31

Reading

LOW

32.49

.44

31.61

33.37

MID

34.33

.33

33.67

35.00

HIGH

34.77

.45

33.87

35.67

All significant F-values discussed above indicate that self-efficacy levels have significant effects on use of strategies when teaching vocabulary, grammar, and reading; nonetheless, post-hoc comparison tests (Table 12) compare self-efficacy levels two by two on three strategies separately on the basis of which the following conclusions can be made:

 

Vocabulary

There is a significant difference between the low (M=32.81) and the mid (M=34.65) self-efficacy levels on teaching vocabulary, i.e., teachers with a moderate self-efficacy use more strategies when teaching vocabulary. There is a significant difference between the low (M=32.81) and the high (M=35.62) self-efficacy levels on teaching vocabulary; teachers with a high self-efficacy use more strategies when teaching vocabulary. Moreover, there is a significant difference between the high (M=35.62) and the mid (M=34.62) self-efficacy levels on teaching vocabulary. Teachers with a high self-efficacy use more strategies when teaching vocabulary.

 

Table 12: Post-Hoc comparison on vocabulary, grammar & reading by self-efficacy levels

Dependent Variable

(I) Self-Efficacy Levels

(J) Self-Efficacy Levels

Mean Difference (I-J)

Std. Error

Sig.a

95% Confidence Interval for Differencea

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

Vocabulary

LOW

MID

-3.84*

.85

.000

-6.70

-1.98

HIGH

-2.81*

.40

.000

-3.79

-1.83

MID

HIGH

-2.97*

.36

.023

-1.84

-.09

Grammar

LOW

MID

-2.34*

.50

.000

-3.55

-1.12

HIGH

-3.28*

.57

.000

-4.67

-1.89

MID

HIGH

-.94

.51

.204

-2.17

.29

Reading

LOW

MID

.84

.56

.213

-2.08

-.39

HIGH

-2.28*

.64

.001

-3.81

-.74

MID

HIGH

-2.43*

.570

0.00

1.13

3.57

*The mean difference is significant at the .05 level.

a. Adjustment for multiple comparisons: Bonferroni.

Grammar

There is a significant difference between the low (M=31.21) and the mid (M=33.56) self-efficacy levels on teaching grammar; teachers with a moderate self-efficacy use more strategies when teaching grammar. There is a significant difference between the low (M=31.21) and the high (M= 34.50) self-efficacy levels on teaching grammar, i.e., teachers with a high self-efficacy use more strategies when teaching grammar. Meanwhile, there is no significant difference between the high (M=34.50) and the mid (M= 33.56) self-efficacy levels on teaching grammar.

 

Reading

There is no significant difference between the low (M=32.49) and the mid (M=34.33) self-efficacy levels on teaching reading; teachers with a moderate self-efficacy use more strategies when teaching reading. There is a significant difference between the low (M=32.49) and the high (M=34.77) self-efficacy levels on teaching reading. This means that teachers with a high self-efficacy use more strategies when teaching reading. Also, there is a significant difference between the high (M=34.77) and the mid (M=34.33) self-efficacy levels on teaching reading.

As Table 13 shows, [F=17.72, p=.000] verifies that teachers’ job satisfaction levels have a significant effect on their use of strategies. Furthermore, the significant F-observed values for the effect of teachers’ levels of job satisfaction on teaching vocabulary (F=8.92, p=.000), grammar [F=23.72, p=.003<.05], and reading [F=46.96, p=.001<.05], as shown in Table 14, show that teachers’ levels of job satisfaction have a significant effect on their use of strategies.

 

Table 13: Teachers’ job satisfaction levels on using strategies

Effect

Value

F

Hypothesis df

Error df

Sig.

Job satisfaction level

Pillai's Trace

.227

17.729

6.000

832.00

.000

Wilks' Lambda

.777

18.595

6.000

830.00

.000

Hotelling's Trace

.282

19.462

6.000

828.00

.000

Roy's Largest Root

.264

36.560b

3.000

416.00

.000

 

Table 14:  Teachers’ levels of job satisfaction on vocabulary, grammar & reading

Dependent Variable

Sum of Squares

df

Mean Square

F

Sig.

Vocabulary

Contrast

645.070

2

322.835

8.926

.000

Error

15082.178

417

36.168

 

 

Grammar

Contrast

492.949

2

246.475

23.728

.003

Error

4331.613

417

10.388

 

 

Reading

Contrast

833.085

2

441.543

46.963

.000

Error

3920.579

417

9.402

 

 

 

Table 15 demonstrates descriptive statistics for the effect of teachers’ job satisfaction on use of strategies. All significant F-values signify that teachers’ levels of job satisfaction have a significant effect on the use of strategies when teaching vocabulary, grammar, and reading.

 

Table 15: Descriptive statistics, vocabulary, grammar & reading by job satisfaction levels

Dependent Variable

Job Satisfaction Levels

Mean

Std. Error

95% Confidence Interval

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

Vocabulary

LOW

33.61

.251

33.124

34.112

MID

34.50

.277

33.955

35.045

HIGH

35.22

.272

34.693

35.763

Grammar

LOW

32.25

.353

31.560

32.947

MID

33.45

.389

32.694

34.224

HIGH

33.95

.382

33.204

34.706

Reading

LOW

31.63

.338

30.973

32.303

MID

33.37

.373

32.644

34.112

HIGH

37.20

.366

36.487

37.927

The post-hoc comparison tests (Table 16) indicate the following conclusions:

 

Vocabulary

There is a significant difference between the low (M=33.61) and the mid (M=34.50) job satisfaction levels on teaching vocabulary. There is a significant difference between the low (M=33.61) and the high (M=35.22) job satisfaction levels on teaching vocabulary; teachers with a high job satisfaction use more strategies when teaching vocabulary, and there is no significant difference between the high (M=35.22) and the mid (M=34.50) job satisfaction levels on teaching vocabulary.

 

Table 16: Post-Hoc comparison, vocabulary, grammar & reading by job satisfaction levels

Dependent Variable

(I) Job Satisfaction Levels

(J) Job Satisfaction Levels

Mean Difference (I-J)

Std. Error

Sig.a

95% Confidence Interval for Differencea

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

Vocabulary

LOW

MID

-2.55*

.81

.008

-4.78

-.58

HIGH

-4.61*

1.371

.000

-6.50

-1.71

MID

HIGH

1.77

.87

.097

-3.78

.21

Grammar

LOW

MID

-2.79*

.48

.000

-3.87

-1.71

HIGH

-3.37*

.55

.000

-4.72

-2.01

MID

HIGH

.58

.43

.412

-.49

1.64

Reading

LOW

MID

-2.79*

.41

.000

-3.80

-1.76

HIGH

-5.09*

.52

.000

-6.38

-3.79

MID

HIGH

-2.30*

.41

.000

1.29

3.31

*The mean difference is significant at the .05 level.

a. Adjustment for multiple comparisons: Bonferroni.

 

 

 

Grammar

There is a significant difference between the low (M=32.25) and the mid (M=33.45) job satisfaction levels on teaching grammar. There is a significant difference between the low (M=32.25) and the high (M=33.95) job satisfaction levels on teaching grammar. Finally, there is no significant difference between the high (M=33.95) and the mid (M=33.45) job satisfaction levels on teaching grammar.

 

Reading

There is a significant difference between the low (M=31.63) and the mid (M=33.37) job satisfaction levels on teaching reading. There is a significant difference between the low (M=31.63) and the high (M=37.20) job satisfaction levels on teaching reading; teachers with a high job satisfaction use more strategies when teaching reading. There is a significant difference between the high (M=37.20) and the mid (M=33.37) job satisfaction levels on teaching reading, i.e., teachers with a high job satisfaction use more strategies when teaching reading.

 

Table 17: Summary of Significant Differences; Vocabulary, Grammar, & Reading by Attitude, Self efficacy, & Job Satisfaction

Teaching Strategies

Attitude level

Self-efficacy level

Job satisfaction level

 

Vocabulary

Low to Mid

 

ü   

ü   

Mid to High

ü   

ü   

 

High to Low

ü   

ü   

ü   

 

Grammar

Low to Mid

Mid to High

High to Low

 

ü   

ü   

ü   

 

 

ü   

ü   

ü   

 

Reading

Low to Mid

Mid to High

High to Low

 

 

ü   

ü   

ü   

ü   

ü   

ü   

ü   

DISCUSSION

Knowledge, the most effective factor for production of goods and services in each country is produced by education and teachers as the most important wealth of nations play a critical role in different aspects of educational development. This study investigated the role of a number of factors (i.e. attitude, self-efficacy, & job satisfaction) in performance of Iranian English teachers.

            The positive answer to the first research question of the study supported the findings by Celikoz and Cetin (2004) who conducted their study in Turkey. Also, in line with studies carried out by, Bohner and Wanke (2002), Muller (1986), and Rafferty (2003) on non-Iranian participants, the results of the present study showed that Iranian teachers with positive attitude towards their profession seemed to fulfill their job more fruitfully and thus succeeded to utilize more innovative teaching techniques and strategies. However, the results were more interesting when teachers’ characteristics were classified into low, medium, and high levels. Teachers with low levels of attitude did not appear to use efficient strategies in teaching vocabulary, reading, and grammar. Even moving from a low level of attitude to a medium level seemed not to significantly improve teaching success. Only those with a high level of attitude efficiently employed appropriate strategies in teaching; in other words, only high level of attitude affected Iranian teachers’ performance.

            Any improvement in self-efficacy of Iranian teachers, even from a low to a medium level, appeared to have a considerable impact on their ability in vocabulary teaching. As Guskey (1988) and Milner (2002) have signified in their studies, the finding of the present study could indicate that teachers with high self-efficacy are capable of using different teaching strategies in the best possible way.

            With regard to teaching grammar, as correlation coefficients showed, a medium level of self-efficacy was enough for a successful performance; improving self-efficacy level from medium to high did not significantly affect teachers’ performance. It was found that as much as 75% of participants strongly disagreed with the idea of asking their students to bring real life examples (item 27 of the questionnaire) mainly because grammar translation method is still a dominant method in Iranian English language teaching system, while it is considered as traditional and seems to be no longer effective compared with most recent developed methods worldwide (Holliday, 2005).Teachers with low self-efficacy level might have misunderstanding about student-centered teaching approaches and prefer to have teacher-fronted classes although there seems to be no official obstacles in changing teaching style. It seems that, lack of self-confidence drives them to doubt their students’ capability, and thus 82% of low efficacious participants selected ‘strongly disagree’ and ‘disagree’ options in response to item 11 of the questionnaire.

            Results for “teaching reading” are, however, completely different; that is,  with a low level of self-efficacy, teachers seemed not to have a good teaching performance as compared to medium and high levels. However, it seems that teachers with a medium level of self-efficacy used better strategies to teach reading skills. In spite of shortage of educational facilities, 77% of self-efficacious teachers enjoyed teaching English and put utmost effort to design student brainstorming strategies prior to their lecture (items 34 and 35 of the questionnaire). Participants’ responses to items 57 and 60 which investigated the degree of professional happiness and extra payments they received, respectively, reveal that teachers with low self-efficacy level did not feel to be respected enough at work, a finding which is in line with Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk Hoy, and Hoy (1998).  Teachers with high self-efficacy, on the other hand, were concerned about their commitment to teaching and did their best to design and utilize various strategies, no matter whether or not they received enough monetary or social rewards.

            It appears that any effort to keep job satisfaction at high levels is not a sufficient condition for further success in teaching vocabulary and grammar. The difference between performance of teachers with medium and high levels of job satisfaction was not statistically significant in teaching vocabulary and grammar. However, Moè, Pazzaglia, and Ronconi (2010) have found that there is a strong indirect relationship between strategy use and job satisfaction, even though no direct correlation is observed.

            Furthermore, it seemed that 77% of teachers did not feel to be appreciated when they tried to use vocabulary or grammar strategies while teaching. As well as lack of motive rewards, participants believed that teaching materials was either boring or repetitive. Furthermore, 69% of participants asserted their dissatisfaction with teaching the same material for many years.

            With regard to teaching grammar, Pajares (1992) argues that beliefs tend to perpetuate; when beliefs are formed, it is very difficult to change teachers’ attitude towards the way they utilize teaching strategies. Also, the results of this study indicate that 83% of teachers employ traditional strategies to teach grammar (referring to item 30 of the questionnaire) and thus they rarely observe any significant progress in their students’ knowledge, eventually resulting in their disappointment, a finding which is in line with Fullan (1990) who argues that teachers trace their victory on the basis of the fruits of student efforts.

            Job satisfaction does, however, matter for success in teaching reading, since the mean success of reading enhances with any improvement in job satisfaction (from low to medium or from medium to high levels). So it seems that teachers with high sense of satisfaction towards their jobs are more familiar with reading strategies and are able to apply them in classrooms. Transfer of experiences from high satisfied teachers to those with lower levels of satisfaction (through free discussion workshops) is highly recommended in order to identify the key factors of success in reading strategies.

 

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS

A number of general recommendations are necessary to conclude the paper. Focusing on the factors which affect teachers’ self-efficacy and satisfaction would contribute to designing a strategic plan which aims at utmost educational achievement at micro (school) and macro (national) levels. At micro level, it is suggested to persuade teachers to communicate professional ideas, develop educational interactions and cooperation. These activities could develop a more positive attitude in teachers and consequently, enhance English language teaching in schools. Moreover, acquainting and motivating teachers to conduct action research for the advancement of the strategies they utilize, and solving classroom teaching problems seems to be vital.  As Al-Mekhlafi and Ramani (2009) believe, the more teachers get familiar with new perspectives in the domain of language teaching, the better decisions they can make regarding adopting beneficial strategies. Developing discussion circles, for example among schools in an educational district, can increase self-efficacy of teachers and will help them develop a more positive attitude toward their job.  This can contribute to teachers’ knowledge about the state-of-the- art in the domain of language teaching, help them experience a dynamic job condition, and enhance efficacy and positive attitude.

            At macro level, however, the responsibility is to introduce modern language teaching issues, techniques, strategies and innovative teaching experiences via newsletters, meetings, conferences, and workshops. Researchers of the present study believe that in-service trainings as well as teacher training courses could promote Iranian EFL teachers’ efficacy and attitude.  However, participation in such courses should be remunerated and considered as an indispensable part of the profession; this could enhance job satisfaction, increase motivation and self-confidence of teachers and hence, and improve the outcome of language teaching in general.

            Furthermore, the results of this study suggest that teachers, in general, welcome a shift from traditional ways to more recent trends in the domain of language teaching. Thus, the responsibility of curriculum developers and experts in the field of teacher education is to provide teachers with educational audio visual materials which could facilitate their professional improvement.

 

 

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Appendix
Questionnaire
This questionnaire is designed to investigate the effectiveness of teaching system and the strategies used by English teachers in Iran. Your precision in completion will contribute to compilation of valuable data. Please put a check mark in the box which best describes your teaching practices. The information you provide will be confidential and only used for   research purposes.
 
Personal information
 
Gender:                        male                                         female  
Marital status:  married                                    single   
Age:
Education:       AA in English              BA in English 
                        MA in English  PhD in English 
Years of experience:
Working hours per week:
 
Teaching Vocabulary
 
While teaching vocabulary I:
1
2
3
4
5
1
use words other than those from textbooks.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
2
use flash cards.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
3
use body language.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
4
use practical examples to teach new words.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
5
use synonyms.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
6
give my students enough time to guess the meaning of new words.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
7
draw students’ attention to pronunciation of words.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
8
hang selected words on the wall.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
9
use educational instruments such as computer, projector or voice recorder.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
10
use pictures to clarify the meaning of words.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
11
ask my students to assist me in teaching.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
12
use “playing games” approach in teaching vocabulary.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
13
ask my students to repeat words chorally,
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
14
ask my students to repeat words individually.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
15
categorize words before starting to teach.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
16
use textbooks other those introduced by official  authorities.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
17
change my teaching technique when students have difficulty in learning the meaning of new words.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
18
test students in a short intervals.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
19
look for words with same root before going to class.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
20
use words other than those included in the textbook.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
21
ask my students to look for the meaning of words in a dictionary.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
22
think there are some mistakes in the textbook.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
 
Teaching Grammar
 
For teaching grammar I:
1
2
3
4
5
23
study other references than the main textbook before starting to teach.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
24
use charts to teach grammar.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
25
ask my students to write a text using the new grammar points.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
26
use other texts not included in main textbook.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
27
ask students to study texts other than their textbook and make real life sentences.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
28
ask students to study before a new lesson.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
29
ask students to self-evaluate.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
30
traditional methods more effective in learning.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
31
use Persian only.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
32
consult my colleagues.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
33
believe it is a pre-requisite for vocabulary
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
 
Teaching Reading
 
For teaching reading I
1
2
3
4
5
34
am highly motivated.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
35
brainstorm students..
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
36
try to make students interested in the topic of the text.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
37
focus on students’ pronunciation.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
38
ask students questions about the text.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
39
emphasize group work.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
40
test students in short intervals.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
41
Think about its difficulties.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
42
read aloud and then want students to read silently
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
43
I use educational instruments.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
 
General questions
 
I believe:
1
2
3
4
5
44
content of school English textbooks is boring.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
45
content of school English textbooks is repetitive.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
46
vocational training courses enhance my teaching skills.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
47
I should change my job If there is a good alternative.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
48
the number of students affects teaching outcomes.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
49
teachers’ motivation is an important factor in their success.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
50
I am interested in teaching daily used English.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
51
I am interested in teaching scientific English.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
52
I am interested in teaching novel English.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
53
it is necessary to teach scientific English.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
54
team work is necessary for an effective teaching.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
55
job interest is a necessary requirement for a successful teaching.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
56
it is necessary to attend vocational training courses more frequently.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
57
I feel happy when I am teaching.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
58
students’ learning outcome is important in choosing my method.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
59
enough salary is an important factor for teaching effectively.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
60
extra payments play an important role in teaching effectively.
Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly agree
 
Please provide any suggestions that you think can improve Iranian teaching system.
Please comment on this questionnaire.
Do you think any of the questions above was not clear enough? Which ones? Please mention.