Images of the future now: Autonomy, professionalism, and efficacy

Rose Green Willner, Fordham University


Improving our schools has been at the focus of national attention during the past few years. Increased emphasis has been given to site based management and teacher participation in instructional decision making. The teacher's role is changing in fundamental ways that enhance a collective self-efficacy and autonomy. In the increased participation of teachers, we may find efficacy, autonomy, and professionalism taking on different characteristics. New relationships can be built as schools are restructured. Autonomous yet isolated teachers can confront a new professional culture. Each individual teacher can have the opportunity to influence others in a collective effort which enriches learning opportunities for children. This new environment fosters a new kind of self-efficacy which derives from the experience of professional collaboration as well as the experience of autonomy in one's classroom. As teachers participate in instructional decision making, they can become more professional and empowered. This research is designed to explore how teachers perceive the opportunities of a restructured school environment and how they choose to respond. Do they continue to understand and address their own sovereign and autonomous needs based on the old professional culture of isolation and individual decision making thereby resenting the norms of collaboration and additional time demanded by participation and shared decision making, or do they discover a new meaning to efficacy, autonomy, and professionalism under the influence of many successful experiences of collaboration? This has been a case study involving a questionnaire and in-depth interviews among three schools. The study is significant because it may document a shift in teacher understanding and perceptions of self-efficacy, autonomy, and professionalism.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Willner, Rose Green, "Images of the future now: Autonomy, professionalism, and efficacy" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9123118.