Background: Community Classical Reading Program (CCRP) is a nonmainstream educational approach in Taiwan. The promotion of CCRP has attracted controversy. Some educators have suggested that CCRP results in significant improvements in children’s word recognition, reading, and school work (Kao & Chang, 2011a, 2011b), whereas others are opposed to this approach because its paradigm is inconsistent with common educational principles and may weaken children’s thinking abilities, which violates the principle of balanced development (Chan, 2016).
Although opinions differ regarding classical reading programs, numerous volunteers wish to become CCRP teachers and strive to promote CCRP among the public. This raises the question: What are the benefits of CCRP that lead teachers to support and continually promote the program? According to the researcher’s personal experience, CCRP teachers have a positive and optimistic attitude. Even if they encounter objection from the public and scholars, they do not give up easily. They often perceive difficulties as challenges and maintain an optimistic attitude toward the future. The attitudes and traits of such teachers are similar to the psychological capital resources proposed by Luthans & Youssef (2004).
Many studies have primarily explored the correlation between psychological capital and job performance (Avey et al., 2011). In Taiwan, studies have demonstrated that psychological capital not only improves individual emotional well-being but also enables teachers to increase their work commitments and achieve higher performance (Chen et al., 2014; Huang & Hwang, 2012; Jeng & Wu, 2012; Lee, 2009). Furthermore, Hsueh (2006) highlighted that the process and method underlying children’s classical reading are major factors that influence the effectiveness of classical reading. Encouragement and support of parents and teachers also stimulate children’s willingness to read. Yen (2012) indicated that teachers who value what they do tend to believe that CCRP has a favorable effect on children. Furthermore, teachers’ teaching beliefs critically influence their teaching behavior and teaching effectiveness (Liang, 2012; Shen & Liu, 2007). Classroom management effectiveness can reflect the teaching effectiveness of teachers and is indicative of student learning; it also affects the trust parents place in teachers (Her, 2009).
In brief, the teaching beliefs of CCRP teachers are related to classroom management effectiveness and teaching effectiveness. However, most research on CCRP has focused on the changes in children’s concentration, memory, character, and behavior after the program rather than on the teaching beliefs and classroom management effectiveness of CCRP teachers, which warrants further discussion.
Relevant research has confirmed that teaching beliefs are positively related to classroom management effectiveness (Chiou & Hu, 2003), and these beliefs have predictive value (Peng & Chang, 2015). Teachers with rich psychological capital pay more attention to their work at school. They not only perform their duties but also exhibit altruistic behaviors. Thus, promoting the job performance of teachers can also benefit the school and student learning (Huang & Hwang, 2012; Lee, 2009; Wang et al., 2014). From this perspective, teachers’ teaching beliefs and psychological capital may affect classroom management effectiveness. Studies have rarely examined the relationship between teaching beliefs and classroom management effectiveness. Therefore, this study investigated the relationships among teaching beliefs, psychological capital, and the classroom management effectiveness of teachers in CCRP for children.
Guiding questions & assumptions: 1. What are the relationships among the teaching beliefs of CCRP teachers, their psychological capital, and classroom management effectiveness? 2. Does psychological capital serve as a mediator between the teaching beliefs of CCRP teachers and classroom management effectiveness?
Significance of study: Research conducted in Taiwan has revealed that 24% of teachers are at high risk of depression (Yu & Yu, 2006), and the more time teachers spend performing teaching duties, the more likely they are to develop depression (Yu et al., 2010). Excessive work pressure is related to deterioration of teaching quality and mental illness in teachers (Kyriacou, 2001). Hence, teachers’ mental health problems have a wide range of impacts that merit attention.
Psychological capital is regarded as a positive psychological trait that can be a deterrent to stress. People with psychological capital face challenges confidently and have a positive outlook toward the present and future. Given that teachers work in a high-pressure environment, exploring the impact of psychological capital on teachers is crucial. However, psychological capital is rarely discussed in the field of education. Therefore, this study focused on CCRP teachers to examine whether psychological capital serves as a mediator between teaching beliefs and classroom management effectiveness.
Theoretical framework: We investigated the effect of psychological capital use on CCRP teachers. We hypothesize that teaching beliefs have a positive relationship with classroom management effectiveness, and psychological capital is a mediator between teaching beliefs and classroom management effectiveness.
Method: A total of 297 valid questionnaires were collected through snowball sampling. The assessment tools comprised the CCRP Teachers’ Teaching Beliefs Scale, the CCRP Teachers’ Psychological Capital Scale, and the CCRP Teachers’ Management Effectiveness Scale. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and structural equation modeling.
Findings: The general findings are summarized as follows: (1) Teaching beliefs were positively related to psychological capital. (2) Teaching beliefs exerted a significant indirect effect on classroom management effectiveness. (3) Psychological capital exerted a significant direct effect on classroom management effectiveness. (4) Psychological capital was a full mediator in the prediction of teaching beliefs and classroom management effectiveness.
Discussion and implication: Our results revealed that teaching beliefs and classroom management effectiveness have a weak relationship. Hence, other factors also influence the effectiveness of classroom management. However, upon introducing psychological capital as a mediator, the association between teaching beliefs and classroom management effectiveness was stronger than before. Teachers can address problems concerning student behavior and irrational parents by using abundant psychological capital that helps them recover from setbacks, maintain optimism and positivity, and accept the challenge. Therefore, psychological capital serves as a full mediator between teachers’ beliefs and classroom management.
In terms of implications, teachers should carefully consider their teaching beliefs, hold discussions with their peers, and share their experience with their superiors in order to strengthen these influential people’s positive attitude regarding the CCRP training process. Subsequently, they can increase their psychological capital and improve their classroom management.
Future study: First, this model can be applied to other teacher groups, for example elementary and junior high school and special education teachers, to test the validity of this model in diverse contexts. If the model is good fit for other sample groups then it can be considered to have favorable external validity.
Second, psychological capital is regarded as a positive psychological trait that can help mitigate stress. In contrast to the subjective well-being measure of an individual’s current psychological state, psychological capital emphasizes the present and future-oriented psychological functions that highlight the resilience of individuals in response to circumstances (Avolio & Luthans, 2006). Psychological capital is often utilized as a mediator to explore job burnout and work efficiency in the human resources field (Avolio & Luthans, 2006; Luthans, Avolio, et al., 2007) but has rarely been discussed in the field of education. Therefore, researchers have called for greater attention to the relationships among psychological capital and job satisfaction, work pressure, and turnover (Avey et al., 2011).
Third, we focused on a group of CCRP teachers in this study who were recruited using snowball sampling. Therefore, some sampling bias may exist because of the sampling method. In future studies, participants can be recruited from online communities to increase the diversity of CCRP teachers and compare different groups to test the causal relationship.
Finally, this study employed a self-administered questionnaire as the assessment tool. It has low reliability in the student’s learning of the teaching beliefs scale. In addition to expanding the number of questions, future research can modify and add reverse questions to measure the participants’ true reactions. Furthermore, future research can add the social expectation scale to reduce the effect of social expectations.