Teachers’ Self-Efficacy in Relation to Individual Students With a Variety of Social–Emotional Behaviors: A Multilevel Investigation

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The present study examined teachers’ domain-specific self-efficacy (TSE) in relation to individual students with a variety of social–emotional behaviors in class. Using a sample of 526 third- to sixth-grade students and 69 teachers, multilevel modeling was conducted to examine students’ externalizing, internalizing, and prosocial behaviors as predictors of TSE toward individual students, and the potential moderating roles of teaching experience and teachers’ perceived amount of classroom misbehavior. Results showed that most of the variance in TSE occurred within teachers. Students’ externalizing behavior was negatively associated with TSE for instructional strategies, behavior management, student engagement, and emotional support. In contrast, teachers reported higher levels of self-efficacy toward students with high levels of prosocial behavior, irrespective of teaching domain. Students’ internalizing behavior predicted lower levels of TSE for instructional strategies and emotional support, and higher levels of TSE for behavior management. Last, teachers’ perceived levels of classroom misbehavior exacerbated the negative association between externalizing student behavior and TSE for behavior management. These findings illustrate the importance of viewing TSE from a dyadic perspective.

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