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Factors behind teacher agency: a structural equation modelling study

Gülmez, Gülçin
The purpose of this study was to model the relationship among factors that relate to teacher agency. The particular variables under scrutiny were teachers’ personality traits, levels of academic optimism, and their commitment to teaching. More specifically, the present study aimed at addressing the following research question through Structural Equation Modeling (SEM): “To what extent is teacher agency predicted by the model including direct and indirect effects of personality traits, academic optimism, and commitment to teaching?” The study sample comprised of 577 in-service secondary and high school teachers working in public schools in selected districts of Ankara. Data were collected through a survey instrument which includes 4 scales showing good psychometric characteristics (reliability estimates range from .70 to .89). The results revealed that teachers’ academic optimism and their commitment to the teaching profession were significant predictors of teachers’ agency, while the direct effect of personality traits on teacher agency was not significant. On the other hand, when indirect effects were examined, findings indicated that personality traits had a significant indirect effect on teacher agency through academic optimism and commitment to the teaching profession. Moreover, academic optimism had an indirect effect on teacher agency through commitment to the teaching profession. While academic optimism was predicted with an explained variance of 30 percent, commitment to the teaching profession was accounted for a 42 percent of the variance. The overall model explained 55 percent of the variance in teacher agency.