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Teaching Assistants’ Self-Efficacy in Teaching Literature: Sources, Personal Assessments, and Consequences



Byrnes (2001) has suggested that the disconnection between language and literature instruction within many foreign language departments has consequences on the professionalization of graduate students. These structural issues lead to questions about graduate students’ development. How do teaching assistants (TAs) perceive their competency as “language” and “literature” instructors? What are the sources and consequences of their self-beliefs? Teacher self-efficacy (TSE), or a teacher's perception of his or her capabilities to bring about desired objectives in student engagement and learning (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk-Hoy, 2001), was explored to gain insight into TAs’ perceptions of teaching competence. This qualitative study evaluated 10 French literature doctoral students’ TSE beliefs to teach literature and their accompanying sources, personal assessments and analyses, and consequences. Results revealed that although the TAs found the graduate program to be highly effective in its formation of literary scholars and language instructors, they found that the pedagogy of literature “falls in a gap between these two holes” (teaching assistant, study data excerpt).