How do we develop a sense of efficacy in our work—the confidence that we can accomplish meaningful things and have a positive impact? This is a pertinent question across industries, but it is especially critical in K–12 education right now. Collective efficacy among teachers—that is, when educators in a school believe they can positively affect student learning—is now increasingly recognized as a key (if long-underutilized) driver of student achievement. At the same time, schools are facing momentous challenges and pressures this year as they seek to rebuild in the midst of a pandemic. As a result, many educators may be feeling a distinct lack of efficacy—or even a sense of professional fatigue or demoralization.

As Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey write in the article included in this certificate course, we are at an inflection point where we need to be sure to “address the rebuilding of educator agency with the same vigor as we do the recovery of student learning.”

This ASCD certificate course aims to provide critical support to school leaders—including teacher leaders—in meeting that challenge. It looks closely at key adjustments schools can make to their instructional cultures to bolster and tap into educator efficacy, both in the individual and collective sense. As the articles make clear, such changes are particularly important in the current climate of crisis response and recovery—precisely when “whole educator” needs are easy to lose sight of.

The authors featured in this course offer a wealth of detail and a range of insights on cultivating educator efficacy, but there are a few key themes running through the articles. They represent good departure points for reflection or discussion.

Collaboration and feedback. Several articles emphasize that, to support educator efficacy, schools need to develop richer collaborative cultures where teachers can observe and learn from one another, analyze problems of practice, and refine instructional strategies. Of course, the importance of collaboration among teachers is not new, but the key here is to ensure a focus on authentic adult learning and development, not just student issues. Such collaborative spaces can be sources of modeling, support, and improvement—all elements of efficacy.

Closely related to collaboration is the importance of positive, constructive feedback, from both administrators and peers. To be effective in heightening efficacy, feedback should be closely tied to specific instances of teaching practice. As Chase Mielke writes, “free coffee and donuts are always welcome, but what teachers want more is affirmation that their practice is making a difference.”

Effective practice and impact. But educator efficacy is not merely a matter of support and affirmation. To believe they can make a difference, as several of our contributors point out, educators must see evidence of that in their work. According to Thomas R. Guskey, this often means “changing teachers’ experience,'' primarily through supporting them in the use of effective practices and providing them reliable evidence of their impact. A teacher’s belief in her ability, in other words, is preceded by intentional action—by the hard work of learning, practice, and refinement. It is more data-driven than magical.

Teacher voice and support. This leads to the important cautionary note that efficacy, particularly collective efficacy, is not something that can just be expected of educators as a matter of attitude or “team spirit.” As Paul Emerich France argues, collective efficacy efforts that are foisted on teachers without allowance for sustainable conditions or teachers’ own input can veer dangerously close to toxic positivity. True collective efficacy, as B.C. Preston and Jenni Donohoo write, is complex. It makes room for disagreement, problem solving, and “interruptions” of the status quo.

For educators as well as other professionals, efficacy is always in part about being seen and valued.

5 Additional Hours!

The certificate course allows you to earn 5 additional hours of professional development symposium registration.

Course Objectives

Through this certificate program, participants will be able to...

  • Describe the importance of collective efficacy.
  • Implement strategies to elevate teacher voice.
  • Develop school cultures with an emphasis of educator collaboration and feedback.
  • Support educators through effective practices and reliable evidence of their impact.

Course curriculum

  • 1


    • Welcome

    • Course Objectives

    • FAQs

    • Before We Begin

  • 2

    Assignment 1

    • Activity 1.1 - Read: "The Critical Element of Self-Efficacy" by Chase Mielke

    • Activity 1.2 - Reflection

  • 3

    Assignment 2

    • Activity 2.1 - Read: "The Past and Future of Teacher Efficacy" by Thomas R. Guskey

    • Activity 2.2 - Knowledge Check

  • 4

    Assignment 3

    • Activity 3.1 - Read: "It's Not Collective Efficacy If It's Easy" by B.C. Preston and Jenni Donohoo

    • Activity 3.2 - Reflection

  • 5

    Assignment 4

    • Activity 4.1 - Read: "Collective Efficacy or Toxic Positivity" by Paul Emerich France

    • Activity 4.2 - Reflection

  • 6

    Assignment 5

    • Activity 5.1 - Read: "Building a Faculty's Skills in Culturally Relevant Teaching" by Kel Hughes Jones

    • Activity 5.2 - Knowledge Check

  • 7

    Assignment 6

    • Activity 6.1 - Read: "'Four Myths on Coaching and Efficacy" by Rashaida Melvin and Lauren Vargas

    • Activity 6.2 - Reflection

  • 8

    Assignment 7

    • Activity 7.1 - Read: "How Mattering Matters for Educators" by Shelly Wilfong and Ryan Donlan

    • Activity 7.2 - Reflection

  • 9

    Assignment 8

    • Activity 8.1 - Read: "Building a Culture of Efficacy with Habits of Mind" by Arthur L. Costa, Bena Kallick, and Allison Zmuda

    • Activity 8.2 - Knowledge Check

  • 10

    Assignment 9

    • Activity 9.1 - Read: "Self-Efficacy Holds Staying Power for New Teachers" by Wendy Anderson and Kathy Schuh

    • Activity 9.2- Reflection

  • 11

    Assignment 10

    • Activity 10.1 - Read: "Efficacy in the Face of Adversity" by Alexandra Pfleging and Katie Egan Cunningham

    • Activity 10.2 - Knowledge Check

  • 12

    Assignment 11

    • Activity 11.1 - Read: "Rebuilding Teacher Efficacy" by Douglas Fisher & Nancy Frey

    • Activity 11.2 - View - Show & Tell: A Video Column

    • Activity 11.3 - Knowledge Check

  • 13

    Assignment 12

    • Activity 12.1 - Read: "The Inner Workings of Teams" by Jill Harrison Berg

    • Activity 12.2 - Knowledge Check

  • 14

    Assignment 13

    • Activity 13.1- Read: "The Conversation Workout" by Jim Knight

    • Activity 13.2 - Knowledge Check

  • 15


    • Before You Go

    • Final Reflection & Survey

Forgot to add the certificate course to your symposium registration?

Call the ASCD Service Center at 1-800-933-2723.


  • Can the course be accessed via phone or tablet?

    The course platform is completely responsive, so you may use any device of your choice.

  • How is learning assessed?

    This course utilizes a combination of Knowledge Check quizzes and written assignments.

  • How are assignments submitted?

    Assignments are uploaded directly onto the certificate platform.

  • Is there a final exam?

    No; there is no cumulative exam or summative assessment. Certificate requirements are met by completing each assignment, (reading/viewing and corresponding activity).

  • What is the deadline for completing the certificate course?

    All assignments should be completed by September 30, 2021, when the course will close.

Limited Availablity!

Course begins January 16, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST.

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