Visual Arts Self-Efficacy: Impacts and Supports for Early Childhood Teachers

Publication Name

Early Childhood Education Journal


Although visual arts pedagogies are considered central within early childhood education programs, teacher self-efficacy has a direct impact on the quality and delivery of visual arts curricula. Until recently, the visual arts self-efficacy, pedagogical knowledge, and practice of in-service early childhood teachers have remained largely unexplored. The authors of this paper present a qualitative, iterative re-analysis of their three PhD studies which broadly focussed on early childhood visual arts praxis and specifically examined the visual arts beliefs and pedagogy of early childhood teachers in Australia and New Zealand. A thematic analysis of the intersecting self-efficacy findings raised in the three studies identifies the powerful influence of self-efficacy on teaching practice in the visual arts domain and offers new understandings about visual arts self-efficacy amongst early childhood teachers. The combined findings reveal several factors that restrain or enhance teachers’ visual arts self-efficacy across time, including the impact of childhood experiences, pre-service training and epistemological beliefs. The paper also identifies several enabling conditions that appear to support teachers to develop and maintain positive visual arts self-efficacy beliefs, including practical engagement with materials, sustained professional learning, relational trust and intentional leadership. These enabling conditions offer practical strategies and research recommendations in service of positive visual arts self-efficacy to enhance quality visual arts teaching in early childhood contexts.

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