Exploring Advocacy Self-efficacy Among K-12 STEM Teacher Leaders

Richard Carlos L. Velasco, Rebecca Hite, Jeff Milbourne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Advocacy is an emergent dimension of teacher leadership, given its growing importance in shaping policy and facilitating reform efforts in American K-12 education. In 2014, the National Academies called for advancing advocacy-based activities and leadership among K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers, who are presently understudied. The purpose of this embedded single-case case study was to explore STEM teachers’ development of self-efficacy in advocacy for STEM education. Contextualizing the case, participants consisted of 11 STEM teacher leaders who were part of the STEM Teacher Ambassadors (STA) program, a year-long advocacy-focused leadership development fellowship program, jointly sponsored by the National Science Teaching Association and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Employing case study research methodology, primary data were collected using semi-structured interviews, while secondary data were sourced via focus group interview and documents to triangulate interview data. Utterances (i.e., participant statements, groups of statements, or segments of statements) from transcribed data were coded a priori and analyzed via four constructs of self-efficacy theory: enactive master experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and emotional arousal. Results revealed 157 utterances coded to self-efficacy building within STEM education advocacy. Findings suggest that STEM teacher leaders’ participation in professional development programs that specifically focus on development of policy knowledge and advocacy activities help to develop and sustain STEM teacher leaders’ advocacy self-efficacy, given that participating teachers have numerous opportunities to fully engage in mastery experiences in STEM education advocacy. Implications and recommendations for policy and suggestions for further studies are discussed.

Keywords

  • Advocacy
  • Case study
  • STEM
  • Self-efficacy
  • Teacher leadership

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