Teachers’ Efficacy and Attitudes toward Learning Outside of the Four Walls

Gallegly, Jennifer A.
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The purpose of this study was to examine teachers’ sense of efficacy when engaging in outdoor learning experiences, addressing current gaps in research regarding outdoor education opportunities throughout K-12 public schools. The conceptual framework was Alfred Bandura’s Social Learning Theory. This quantitative study focused on engaging in outdoor learning and teacher efficacy within subscales of student engagement, instructional strategies, and classroom management, utilizing the Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale with modifications to include demographics. This study attempted to compare whether teaching certifications, current grade level(s) taught, and number of lessons taught outside impacted efficacy. The population included 69 teachers from four counties in Northwestern New Jersey. The findings indicated that most teachers do not utilize outdoor environments often. There is no difference in grade levels taught or special education certification and self-efficacy beliefs; however, a few items proved a significant difference between special and general education teachers’ self-efficacy in instructional strategies. There is not a significant positive relationship between the number of lessons taught outside and total efficacy, although results suggested the possibility of a relationship. This study could be utilized by teacher preparation programs, educational leaders, and many stakeholders who may be interested in promoting outdoor education or creating outdoor classrooms within their campuses.
Jennifer A. Gallegly Dissertation