Date of Award

Fall 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Disorders & Special Education


Early Childhood Education

Committee Director

Angela L. Eckhoff

Committee Member

Linda Bol

Committee Member

Judith Dunkerly-Bean


Teachers' self-efficacy has been demonstrated to be an important construct linked to teacher competence (Goddard, Hoy, & Woolfolk Hoy, 2000; Graham & Perin, 2007). However, little is known about how teachers think about writing, particularly as it relates to their writing instruction and to writing tasks they assign to their young students. The purpose of this multiple methods inquiry was to explore teachers' self-efficacy beliefs and orientations about writing and to examine if these factors were connected to their writing instruction. This study also aimed to examine if students' self-efficacy and attitudes towards writing are connected to their classroom writing behaviors. Data was collected from two first-grade teachers and 42 first-grade students in a suburban elementary school. The results indicated that both teachers had high self-efficacies for teaching writing, employed a combined teaching approach using process and traditional instruction, and assigned writing tasks were in line with their self-efficacy beliefs and orientations. Analysis of the data revealed that 90% of the students had positive attitudes towards writing in their elementary classrooms and the students' classroom writing behaviors were consistent with their reported survey responses. Data analysis also revealed that numerous factors (e.g. motivation, environment) contribute to the complex task of teaching writing to young students and that these factors are seemingly connected to students' writing self-efficacy and their classroom writing behaviors.