The topic of teacher efficacy has always been an important area to research on. Different studies have shown the advantages of teachers having high efficacy; for example, they tend to stay in the career longer and students will achieve more when their teachers have high efficacy. This special issue investigates different antecedents that allow teachers to build this special efficacy, the level of teacher efficacy in different cultural settings, and will shed light on teacher efficacy using both quantitative and qualitative methods for investigation.

One of the studies in the special issue compared teachers with high efficacy and teachers with low efficacy in China and found that high teacher efficacy was related to better working memory (J. Tao, 2012). Furthermore, W.-H. Lam (2012) investigated the efficacy of teachers in Hong Kong who taught in the subdegree sector. A subdegree is a degree which students study after secondary school and before they enter university. Results found that it was important for teachers to increase their efficacy in the subdegree sector. L. Zunders-Fraser and J. Lancaster (2012) focused on the efficacy of preservice teachers before and after taking an inclusive education course in Australia. Results showed that when the courses had applied the embedded design principles, preservice teachers’ efficacy improved significantly. There was also one study by W. Jiayi and C. Ling (2012) that scrutinized the evaluation of teachers in China and how a better teacher evaluation could help teachers in implementing improvements in the school context—which would ultimately enhance their efficacy. Finally, Y. Bouchamma (2012) applied different strategies in investigating leadership practices in Canadian schools. They found that with effective leadership practices, teachers were motivated and their confidence and efficacy were increased.

In a nutshell, the studies document the current search for effective tools for the enhancement of teacher efficacy. Across the studies included in this special issue, multiple areas were identified that allow for an enhancement of teacher efficacy. On top of that it becomes apparent that, while an actual comparative theoretical approach and empirical studies are missing in the field, teacher efficacy is a topic relevant across multiple cultural settings, as evidenced in the papers collected here.

In other words, this special issue strives to promote the importance of teacher efficacy around the world and to increase the awareness of educators about different ways of enhancing the level of teacher efficacy in their countries. By comparing our teacher efficacy with other cultural contexts, we hope to open an avenue for future research to develop insights that will help us understand more clearly how we can benefit from diversity and harness differences for the advancement of teacher efficacy.

Hoi Yan Cheung
Michael Bender
Walter J. Lonner