Scaling the mountain: World language teacher self-efficacy in central Appalachia

This paper presents the results of a mixed-methods exploratory study of the self-efficacy beliefs of high school world language teachers in central Appalachia. The participants in the quantitative phase of study completed an anonymous online survey that consisted of a demographics and background questionnaire and slightly modified versions of the Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001) and the Second/Foreign Language Teacher Efficacy Scale (Swanson, 2010a). Qualitative participants were generated from the pool of survey respondents who volunteered to participate in semi-structured interviews with the researcher about their language teaching experiences in central Appalachia. Together, the data collected from these two research phases were used to learn about the demographics of this population of language teachers in the region, as well as answer research questions regarding the perceived teaching self-efficacy of these educators. The paper examines the factors that impact positively and negatively on the self-efficacy of this sample of world language educators. It also reports on the teaching self-efficacy of native speaker-teachers and non-native speaker-teachers in the region, as well as novice, intermediate, and veteran language educators. In addition to these findings, I suggest that the unique geographic context of central Appalachia is impactful for language teacher self-efficacy in the region due to the effect of its topography on the local population and its attitudes toward global education, as well as on the regional economy. Recommendations for future scholarship are offered, as well as implications for initial language teacher preparation and continued language teacher education and learning.