The Development and Scaling of the Teaching Outdoor Education Self-Efficacy Scale

Authors

  • Scott Schumann The University of Utah
  • Jim Sibthorp The University of Utah

Abstract

Outdoor educator teaching self-efficacy beliefs are an important, yet unexamined, aspect of teaching in the outdoors. Teaching self-efficacy beliefs are self-perceptions of ability to successfully perform necessary teaching tasks. These beliefs may influence the approach or avoidance of instructional strategies, the likelihood to experiment with new teaching strategies (Allinder, 1994), and persistence amidst set-backs while teaching (Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998). In some cases, self-efficacy beliefs can be overinflated and result in inappropriate selection of behaviors, acceptance of risk, and decreased performance (Woolfolk Hoy & Burke- Spero, 2005). Thus, in the context of outdoor education, errors in an educator's teaching selfefficacy beliefs carry consequences for student learning and student safety (cf. Martin & Priest, 1986). It is critically important to attend to the accuracy of outdoor educator teacher self-efficacy beliefs during initial training phases because unrealistically positive or negative self-efficacy beliefs are commonly found to develop in teachers when they first begin their teaching careers (Cakir &Alici, 2009). Initial judgments of teaching self-efficacy are some of the most powerful influences on long-term beliefs and future behaviors (Shaughnessy, 2004). Despite the importance of attending to the accuracy of outdoor educator teaching self-efficacy beliefs, no context specific scale exists to measure these beliefs or their accuracy. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to present two studies, which develop a teaching outdoor education self-efficacy scale (TOE-SES).