A case study of the impact of urban immersion teacher preparation and urban school workplace on the perceived self-efficacy, persistence and institutional commitment of urban school teachers
Urban school teacher preparation and retention have been a major concern of teacher educators, school administrators and policy makers. The purpose of this case study is to explore urban school teachers' understanding of the ways in which their experiences in an urban immersion teacher preparation (UITP) program and in urban school workplace influence their perceived self-efficacy, persistence and institutional commitment as urban school teachers.
Literature review is conducted on alternative teacher certification, the Professional Development School movement, the nature of urban school teaching and learning, and the context of teaching theories. A case study approach is employed to investigate the research problem, with the social cognitive theory of self-efficacy used as the conceptual framework for data analysis. The major source of data is semi-structured interviews of UITP program graduates in addition to their personal statements as part of the UITP program application requirement.
The case study findings indicate that urban school teacher perceived self-efficacy is a belief that teachers have in their capabilities to meet the task demand of teaching at urban schools with the requisite competence of urban school teachers. The findings suggest that those participants who are staying as urban school teachers have a strong sense of integrated self-efficacy of three dimensions including classroom management, classroom instruction and contextual congruence, and they are motivated to persist and learn new competence despite setbacks and obstacles.
The findings suggest that self-efficacy is a necessary but not a sufficient factor influencing the participants' persistence and institutional commitment. Non-efficacy factors, such as salary pay and education managerial bureaucracy, are the most serious barriers to the stayers' persistence in and commitment to teaching at the urban schools.
The results have both practice and policy implications for teacher preparation and retention. Given that teachers' self-efficacy beliefs, persistence and institutional commitment interact with school contextual variables, urban school teacher education needs a better defined context sensitive knowledge base of the task demand of teaching and the requisite competence required of urban school teachers; urban school districts need to implement policies addressing teachers' financial concerns and professional development needs to alleviate teacher turnover.