Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 795–833 | Cite as

Reconceptualizing the Sources of Teaching Self-Efficacy: a Critical Review of Emerging Literature

  • David B. Morris
  • Ellen L. Usher
  • Jason A. Chen
Review Article


Teachers’ efficacy beliefs are thought to influence not only their motivation and performance but also the achievement of their students. Scholars have therefore turned their attention toward the sources underlying these important teacher beliefs. This review seeks to evaluate the ways in which researchers have measured and conceptualized the sources of teaching self-efficacy across 82 empirical studies. Specifically, it aims to identify what can be inferred from these studies and what important questions still remain about the origins of teachers’ efficacy beliefs. Results indicate that a number of methodological shortcomings in the literature have prevented a clear understanding of how teachers develop a sense of efficacy. Nonetheless, insights gleaned from existing research help to refine, and to expand, theoretical understandings of the sources of self-efficacy and their influence in the unique context of teaching. Implications for future research and practice are addressed.


Teachers Self-efficacy Sources of self-efficacy Social cognitive theory 



We would like to thank Dr. Helenrose Fives for her insights as we developed the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


References marked with an asterisk indicate sources of teaching self-efficacy studies included in the review

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • David B. Morris
    • 1
  • Ellen L. Usher
    • 2
  • Jason A. Chen
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Educational StudiesSt. Mary’s College of MarylandSt. Mary’s CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational, School, and Counseling PsychologyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  3. 3.School of EducationThe College of William and MaryWilliamsburgUSA

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