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Background. There is a plethora of research around student beliefs and their contribution to student outcomes. However, there is less research in relation to teacher beliefs. Teacher factors are important to consider since beliefs mould thoughts and resultant instructional behaviours that, in turn, can contribute to student outcomes.

Aims. The purpose of this research was to explore relationships between the teacher characteristics of gender and teaching experience, school contextual variables (socio-economic level of school and class level), and three teacher socio-psychological variables: class level teacher expectations, teacher efficacy, and teacher goal orientation.

Sample. The participants were 68 male and female teachers with varying experience, from schools in a variety of socio-economic areas and from rural and urban locations within New Zealand.

Method. Teachers completed a questionnaire containing items related to teacher efficacy and goal orientation in reading. They also completed a teacher expectation survey. Reading achievement data were collected on students. Interrelationships were explored between teacher socio-psychological beliefs and the teacher and school factors included in the study.

Results. Mastery-oriented beliefs predicted teacher efficacy for student engagement and classroom management. The socio-economic level of the school and teacher gender predicted teacher efficacy for engagement, classroom management, instructional strategies, and a mastery goal orientation. Being male predicted a performance goal orientation.

Conclusions. Teacher beliefs, teacher characteristics, and school contextual variables can result in differences in teacher instructional practices and differing classroom climates. Further investigation of these variables is important since differences in teachers contribute to differences in student outcomes.