Page 62

Journal for Effective Schools

Volume 11, Number 1

requirement that a school choice program be offered. Reduction in resources also brought an increase in teacher commitment through its influence on teacher classroom management efficacy. The requirement that supplemental educational resources be provided, as a predictor of teacher efficacy to enlist administrator direction, reduced teacher commitment. In practice, this suggests that the availability of extra supplies that teachers might request from a principal are not necessarily required to sustain teacher commitment. It is likely that teachers will make do with what they have and they do not necessarily believe they have to be able to ask their principal for ‘everything.’ Consistent with Model 6, the three forms of teacher efficacy significantly increased teacher commitment. Two findings are consistent among our models. First, the three aspects of teacher efficacy were associated with higher levels of teacher commitment. Second, the principals’ belief in their own influence on establishing curriculum and setting performance standards for students also was associated with increases in teacher commitment. Both address forms of autonomy—autonomy for the teachers and autonomy for the principal. For teachers, Firestone and Pennell (1993) have pointed out that, historically, teacher autonomy has been associated with teacher commitment. They also reflect the effective school correlates of strong instructional leadership, commitment to high expectations for all students, and frequent monitoring of student progress – in action. Implications for Practice and Further Research The findings of the present study revealed that increases in teacher commitment are associated with certain teacher efficacy beliefs. An important practical implication of one of these findings is that teacher commitment can be enhanced when teachers feel they can seek direction from their principal—when they can approach their principal on, say, a sensitive issue and get informed guidance—not necessarily things, but direction—from the principal. A further implication is that if teachers believe, as a group, that they can influence decisions at their school, they are likely to bring increased commitment to their work. Among the ways in which this might be manifested in a school would be in those occasions when a principal seeks and uses teacher input on a decision likely to affect multiple members of a staff. From the principal’s standpoint, giving teachers increased opportunities to take on instructional leadership roles in the school is likely to increase their commitment. Additionally, when teachers believe they have control over practice in their classroom, their commitment increases. The variables in this study did not facilitate further interpretation of “practice in their classroom.” We do not know whether this means using certain instructional approaches or something as simple as seating arrangements. What the finding does suggest is that commitment may be enhanced by asking the teacher WHY they are using a specific practice, listening to their responses, and reviewing the relevant data on how it 52

Journal for Effective Schools - Spring 2013  

Vol. 11, #1