It's not you, it's me: teachers' self-efficacy and attributional beliefs towards students with specific learning difficulties

Stuart Woodcock*, Elizabeth Hitches, Garry Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study of 122 British secondary teachers investigated the relationship between teacher self-efficacy and teachers' causal beliefs towards students with and without specific learning difficulties. Results found that teachers reporting higher levels of teacher self-efficacy provided more positive feedback to all students, regardless of students' ability levels, effort expenditure, or the presence of specific learning difficulties. Additionally, teachers reporting higher levels of teacher self-efficacy felt less frustration, more sympathy, and held lower expectations of future failure towards students who expended low effort. The findings suggest that teachers with higher levels of teacher self-efficacy may undertake a teacher-intrapersonal causal search to explain student underachievement, in comparison to teachers with lower levels of teacher self-efficacy who may undertake an interpersonal causal search.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-118
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Research
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • attribution theory
  • teacher self-efficacy
  • specific learning difficulties
  • secondary education

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