A Structural Model of Teacher Self-Efficacy, Resilience, and Burnout among Iranian EFL Teachers (Research Paper)

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of English Language, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Iran.

2 Department of English Language, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran.


As the individual and psychological constructs of teachers have gained momentum recently, a growing number of empirical studies have been carried out to investigate the relationships among teacher-related variables. In order to further explore the associations between teacher variables in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) context, this research explored the significance of teachers’ sense of efficacy and their resilience in predicting teacher burnout among Iranian EFL teachers. To this end, a total number of 213 male and female practicing teachers filled out a battery of three measuring instruments for these constructs. Structural Equation Modeling was used to test the structural model of the constructs. The results demonstrated that teacher self-efficacy represented 20.1% of the burnout variance while teacher resilience explained 11.7% of the variance in teacher burnout. It was found that although either of the two variables had a unique contribution to burnout, teacher self-efficacy appeared to be a more powerful predictor of burnout than teacher resilience. The findings have significant implications for teacher education programs.


Article Title [Persian]

بررسی مدل ساختاری خودکارآمدی، تاب آوری و فرسودگی شغلی در میان معلمان زبان انگلیسی ایرانی

Authors [Persian]

  • جلیل فتحی 1
  • عبدالباسط سعیدیان 2
1 گروه زبان انگلیسی، دانشگاه کردستان
2 گروه زبان انگلیسی، دانشگاه علامه طباطبایی تهران
Abstract [Persian]

همانطور که سازه های ذهنی و فردی معلمان اخیرا از اهمیت ویژه ای برخوردار بوده است، مطالعات تجربی فراوانی به بررسی رابطه ی میان متغیرهای مرتبط با معلمان پرداخته اند. به منظور بررسی بیشتر متغیر های مرتبط با معلمان در زمینه تدریس زبان انگلیسی به‌عنوان یک زبان خارجی، پژوهش حاضر با هدف مطالعه نقش  خودکارآمدی و تاب آوری در پیش‌بینی فرسودگی شغلی معلمان زبان انگلیسی ایرانی انجام گردید. تعداد 213 معلم زبان انگلیسی سه پرسشنامه مربوط به این متغیرها را تکمیل نمودند. جهت تحلیل داده‌ها از رویکرد مدل معادلاتساختاری برای بررسی مدل ساختاری مفروض استفاده گردید. نتایج بدست آمده نشان داد که خودکارآمدی معلم 1/20% واریانس، و همچنین تاب آوری معلم 7/11% واریانس در فرسودگی شغلی را تبیین می کند. همچنین نتایج بیانگر این بود که با وجود تأثیر یکتای هر دو متغیر بر فرسودگی شغلی، خودکارآمدی معلمان پیش‌بینی‌کننده قویتری برای فرسودگی شغلی آن ها بود. این یافته ها پیامدهای مهمی برای دوره های تربیت معلم دارد.

Keywords [Persian]

  • تاب آوری معلم
  • فرسودگی شغلی
  • خودکارآمدی معلم
  • معلمان زبان انگلیسی
  • مدل معادلات ساختاری

A Structural Model of Teacher Self-Efficacy, Resilience, and Burnout among Iranian EFL Teachers

[1]Jalil Fathi*

[2]Abdulbaset Saeedian

IJEAP- 2003-1518

Received: 2020-03-27                          Accepted: 2020-04-24                      Published: 2020-05-03


As the individual and psychological constructs of teachers have gained momentum recently, a growing number of empirical studies have been carried out to investigate the relationships among teacher-related variables. In order to further explore the associations between teacher variables in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) context, this research explored the significance of teachers’ sense of efficacy and their resilience in predicting teacher burnout among Iranian EFL teachers. To this end, a total number of 213 male and female practicing teachers filled out a battery of three measuring instruments for these constructs. Structural Equation Modeling was used to test the structural model of the constructs. The results demonstrated that teacher self-efficacy represented 20.1% of the burnout variance while teacher resilience explained 11.7% of the variance in teacher burnout. It was found that although either of the two variables had a unique contribution to burnout, teacher self-efficacy appeared to be a more powerful predictor of burnout than teacher resilience. The findings have significant implications for teacher education programs.

Keywords: Resilience, Burnout, Teacher Self-Efficacy, EFL Teachers, Structural Equation Modeling

1. Introduction

With the advent of post-method pedagogy in second language (L2) education, there has been a radical change of attention from a passive conceptualization of teachers towards a more active and constructivist view of teachers as theorizers and decision makers in the world of classroom (Kumaravadivelu, 2006). However, teaching is considered to be a very complicated and demanding activity requiring that educators make instantaneous decisions in the classroom (Kyriacou, 2001; Pollard & Collins, 2005). Moreover, it should be noted that every teacher has his/her own particular personality factors, value systems, ideologies, and cognition which greatly influence the decisions they make and the activities they do in the classroom (Donald, 2000). As a result, a bulk of studies have been carried out to illuminate the role of the individual and psychological variables of teachers. In this line of enquiry, the investigation of the associations among some teacher-related variables such as teacher self-efficacy, burnout, emotional intelligence, commitment, resilience, and job satisfaction have enjoyed much research attention (e.g., Fathi & Derakhshan, 2019; Razmjoo & Ayoobiyan, 2019; Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2007, 2010, 2014, 2017).

Grounded in social cognitive theory and first introduced by Bandura (1997), sense of efficacy is conceptualized as “belief in one's capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments” (p. 3). As far as educational contexts are concerned, teacher’s sense of efficacy is concerned with the teacher’s perception of his/her competence in managing and orchestrating necessary actions to carry out a particular teaching activity in a particular learning context (Tschannen-Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998). From Bandura’s (1997) perspective, self-efficacy is shaped by four main sources: verbal persuasion, vicarious experience, mastery experience, and emotional arousal. Of these main sources, Mastery experience is regarded as the most significant source of self-efficacy in which teachers’ prior experience of their students’ success enhances their sense of efficacy and their learners’ experience of failure can reduce teachers’ sense of efficacy.

As another teacher-related variable, burnout is conceptualized as the lack of ability to deal with work-related apprehension, worsened social interactions, lengthy exhaustion, and reduced interest in the vocation (Maslach, 1982). Maslach and Jackson (1981) viewed burnout as a multi-dimensional construct constituting three sub-categories of emotional exhaustion, personal accomplishment, and depersonalization. As a key component of burnout, emotional exhaustion is concerned with the situation in which a person’s healthy psychological state is disturbed by negative emotions; personal accomplishment refers to a person’s feeling of incompetence and inability to do a particular task; and depersonalization deals with the process in which a person begins to hold negative feelings about the related profession. Burnout and teaching stress are of significant importance in teacher preparation programs as it is claimed that they can be major causal variables for teacher attrition (Gallant & Riley, 2014; Kyriacou, 2011). One approach to uncover the reasons behind teacher attrition is to investigate why practitioners stay in the teaching enterprise, how they struggle to overcome the challenges they face, what resources they employ to solve the problems, and how they develop resilience in their teaching profession (Beltman, Mansfield, & Price, 2011). Based on the positive psychology literature, numerous studies were carried out to investigate teacher resilience in different educational contexts (e.g., Clarà, 2017; Mansfield, Beltman, Price, & McConney, 2012). Overall, it is argued that specific personality factors and employing particular coping strategies empower teachers to build resilience (Mansfield, Beltman, Broadley, & Weatherby-Fell, 2016). A significant bulk of research has revealed that teachers usually confront various unforeseen problems in their teaching practice (Price, Mansfield, & McConney, 2012). The dynamic nature of classrooms calls for “classroom- ready” teachers who should have resilience as the construct which enables them to face various everyday challenges of teaching with their own creative and flexible teaching methods (Mansfield et al., 2016). It is argued that resilience of teachers is associated with their further teaching commitment, positive engagement, and job satisfaction (Hong, 2012).

As far as social ecological perspective is concerned, resilience is conceptualized as a number of behavioral manifestations which represent how persons interact with their contexts and what kind of opportunities they may have in order to grow and develop (Ungar, 2012). Teacher resilience may be addressed in terms of a capacity, a process and also as an outcome. Capacity refers to the teacher’s ability to use the available resources to overcome challenges. The process is concerned with the situation in which personal characteristics of teachers interact with the contextual variables to employ particular strategies in facing challenges. The outcome also refers to the final performance of a resilient teacher as a teacher with more commitment, job satisfaction, professional growth, and well-being (Beltman, 2015). Teacher resilience is argued to be a ‘quality retention’ criterion in a sense that resilient teachers are more motivated and committed and are continually aspiring to develop professionally and to enhance the quality of their teaching (Day & Gu, 2010). Resilient teachers are the ones who possess the adequate competence to succeed in difficult situations, are good at classroom management, establish good relations with their students, hold positive perceptions, have a sense of satisfaction, and are more committed to their profession (Howard & Johnson, 2004). It is also claimed that the students of more resilient practitioners are more likely to have more effective learning outcomes (Day, 2008; Day & Gu, 2014).

Although a prolific line of research into teacher psychological factors exists in the body of literature, a deeper insight into the factors which affect teachers’ professional career needs further empirical investigations. In spite of the significant role of teacher-related variables in affecting teachers’ performance, limited number of studies have explored the effect of teacher resilience on burnout in Iranian EFL context. Also, the majority of studies examining the relationship between teacher self-efficacy and teacher burnout have been carried out in the field of education, and such studies are still lacking in EFL contexts. More importantly, to the best knowledge of the present researchers, no study has ever examined the simultaneous impacts of teacher self-efficacy and resilience on teacher burnout among Iranian EFL teachers. As a result, the objective of the current research was set to investigate the role of teachers’ sense of efficacy and resilience as predictors of teacher burnout in the Iranian EFL context. Therefore, the following research questions guided the objectives of the present study:

Research Question One: Does teacher self-efficacy significantly predict burnout among EFL teachers?

Research Question Two: Does teacher resilience significantly predict burnout among EFL teachers?

Research Question Three: Which variable is a stronger predictor of burnout among EFL teachers?

2. Literature Review

During the past two decades the research literature has indicated a heightened interest in investigating the effects of some teacher-related variables on their job dissatisfaction and teacher burnout (e.g., Fathi & Derakhshan, 2019; Khani & Mirzaee, 2015; Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2007, 2010, 2017; Ware & Kitsantas, 2007). Although it is not the purpose of the present study to review all the bulk of research carried out in this area, to ground the current research, some more related studies are reviewed here. For example, Sarıçam and Sakız (2014) investigated the association between teachers’ sense of efficacy and burnout in Turkey. 118 teachers from four formal special education institutions and six non-formal rehabilitation centers participated in their study. To collect the data, they administered the validated scales of both variables to the participants. The results showed that significant associations existed between teacher self-efficacy and burnout. Further analysis of the structural model via SEM showed that self-efficacy was a significant predictor for the components of teacher burnout. The researchers claimed that the degree of stress and emotional exhaustion felt by special education teachers is correlated with their perceptions of their own instructional abilities.

In another study, Ventura, Salanova, and Llorens (2015) investigated the significance of teacher’s sense of efficacy as a correlate of psychosocial well-being, operationally defined as burnout and engagement. The data collected from a big sample of respondents were analyzed using SEM. The findings revealed that professional efficacy beliefs were a significant correlate of both burnout and engagement. More particularly, professional self-efficacy was positively correlated with engagement and it was negatively correlated with burnout. Also, Schaufeli, Bakker, and Van Rhenen (2009) examined the correlation among the variables of job demands, resources, burnout, work engagement, and sickness absenteeism. The findings revealed that the absence of resources and high job demand could significantly predict burnout, and burnout was positively correlated with sickness absenteeism. Moreover, it was found that a circular correlation was observed among these constructs. More specifically, it was revealed that early work engagement affected resources, which also increased engagement and decreased burnout.

In another study, Khani and Mirzaee (2015) investigated the associations among stressors, contextual variables, self-efficacy, and teacher burnout in Iranian EFL context. Two hundred and sixteen EFL teachers completed the survey including a battery of questionnaires. The analysis of the theorized model via SEM revealed that self-efficacy could significantly reduce teacher burnout and self-efficacy could act as a mediating construct mitigating the negative impacts of contextual variables and stressors on teacher burnout. Also, Fathi and Savadi Rostami (2018) examined a hypothesized model of collective teacher efficacy, teacher self-efficacy, job satisfaction, and teaching commitment. They also tested, and particularly a mediation model in which t teaching commitment functioned as a mediator affecting the impacts of collective teacher efficacy and teacher self-efficacy on job satisfaction. A number of three hundred and twelve Iranian EFL teachers completed the validated versions of the scales. The data analysis using SEM supported the fitness of the structural model, revealing that both teacher self-efficacy and collective teacher efficacy could significantly predict job satisfaction of the EFL teachers.

As far as resilience is concerned, the number of empirical studies is significantly fewer. Karimi and Adam (2018) examined the correlations teaching context, perceived occupational stress, burnout, and teacher resilience among Iranian EFL teachers. In so doing, validated measuring instruments of the constructs under investigation were given to a sample of four hundred Iranian English teachers. The gathered data were statistically analyzed through SEM. The findings revealed that inadequate supervisory support as a component of teaching context significantly influences teachers’ occupational stress more than other components. Additionally, it was found that there were significant positive correlations between occupational stress and teachers’ degree of burnout. Also, significant negative correlations were observed between teacher resilience and burnout. The authors also concluded that teacher resilience could significantly decrease occupational stress and burnout. In another study, Richards, Levesque-Bristol, Templin, and Graber (2016) developed and tested a conceptual framework to account for the role of resilience in decreasing role stress and burnout. Four hundred and fifteen US teachers participated in this study. The data were gathered through administering a survey including the three questionnaires of resilience, role stressors, and burnout. Using SEM to analyze the data, the researchers verified the hypothesized model and revealed that resilience could significantly decrease perceived teacher stress and burnout. Also, Razmjoo and Ayoobiyan (2019) explored the interplay between teacher resilience and sense of efficacy among Iranian EFL teachers. To this end, 92 teachers of English filled out the validated scales of the two variables. The results of the study indicated that various underlying components of self-efficacy could significantly predict teacher resilience. More particularly, it was revealed that the constructs of student engagement, classroom management, and instructional strategies were positively correlated with teacher resilience.

In spite of the existing body of literature on the relationships among various teacher variables such as teacher self-efficacy, resilience, and burnout, no study has ever explored the simultaneous contributions of teacher self-efficacy and resilience on teacher burnout in EFL contexts. Therefore, the present study sought to investigate the role of teachers’ sense of efficacy and resilience as predictors of teacher burnout in the Iranian EFL context.

3. Methodology

3.1. Participants

In order to address the objectives of this non-experimental, correlational study, a sample of 213 Iranian EFL teachers from various provinces of Iran was recruited as the participants of this research. To select a more representative sample for this nation-wide survey, a mixture of stratified random sampling and cluster sampling (Ary, Jacobs, Irvine, & Walker, 2018) was utilized to select respondents in this research. The participants included both male (N = 92) and female (N = 121) EFL practitioners with various teaching experience and different educational degrees. The teaching experience of the participants ranged from less than a year to 23 years, and their age varied from 20 to 49 years. The teachers were made sure that their information would remain confidential and they could give up from the study whenever they wished.

3.2. Instruments

3.2.1. Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale

The Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES) is considered to have acceptable levels of reliability and validity for measuring teachers’ general self-efficacy in their teaching activities. TSES which comprises 24 self-report items was designed and piloted by Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk Hoy (2001). It is a Likert-type scale measuring three sub-scales of instructional strategies, student engagement, and classroom management. Higher mean scores on every sub-scale shows higher levels of teachers’ beliefs in their abilities. The degree of teacher self-efficacy is measured on a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (nothing) to 5 (a great deal). The reliability and validity of TSES have been verified in various contexts by some researchers (e.g., Klassen, Foster, Rajani, & Bowman, 2009).

3.2.2. Teacher Burnout Scale

In order to measure the burnout of the participants, the educator version of the Maslach burnout scale (MBI-ES) which was validated by Maslach, Jackson, & Leiter (1996) was employed in the current research. This scale includes 22 items measuring three underlying components of teacher burnout including emotional exhaustion (9 items), depersonalization (5 items), and reduced personal accomplishment (8 items). The level of teacher burnout is assessed on a seven-point Likert type scale ranging from 0 (never) to 6 (every day). Through this scale, burnout is conceptualized as the existence of greater scores on the emotional exhaustion and depersonalization sub-scales but the existence of low scores on the personal accomplishment sub-scale. The scale is reported to have high internal consistency and validity (Hastings & Bham, 2003). The internal consistency indices for emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment turned out to be 0.76, 0.63, and 0.73, respectively (Maslach, et al, 1996). All the items of this scale are presented in Table 1.

3.2.3. Resilience Scale

Scale (CD-RISC; Campbell-Sills & Stein, 2007) which consists of 10 items was employed. The unabridged version of this scale which includes 25 items was originally developed and validated by Connor and Davidson (2003) as a multi-dimensional measuring instrument of resilience. The short version, however, was modified, shortened, and validated by Campbell-Sills and Stein (2007). This questionnaire is a Likert-type scale whose responses vary from 0 (not true at all) and 4 (true nearly all the time). The reliability coefficient of the 10-item CD-RISC was estimated by using Cronbach’s alpha formula. The alpha index of .85 revealed good internal consistency for the scale. All the items of this scale are presented in Table 1.

3.3. Data Collection and Procedure

The data collection procedure was initiated by administering a battery of questionnaires including the three validated versions of the measuring instruments for the three variables (i.e., resilience, self-efficacy, & burnout). The data were collected during the fall semester of 2019. Since access to the teachers as participants was not easy, the electronic versions of the scales were created through the Google Docs application which is both convenient and free. Then the link of this survey was sent to Telegram groups including EFL teachers from various provinces in Iran. Because some teachers did not have access to WhatsApp or Telegram, the online versions of questionnaires were emailed to them. In addition, some data were also collected via the direct contacts of the researchers in the institutes or language schools in Tehran.

3.4. Data Analysis

The data analysis of the present study was carried out using the SPSS AMOS 20. As the necessary and pre-requisite step of the analytic procedure, the missing data and outlier values were identified and investigated. Also, it was found that there were no erroneously coded data. Additionally, few missing items were randomly assigned through the expectation– maximization (EM) algorithm. Afterwards, Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) was employed to examine the predictive power of the independent on dependent variables and a number of goodness of fit indices were examined. These employed indices included: χ2/df (chi-square to degrees of freedom ratio), goodness-of-fit index (GFI), root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA), Tucker-Lewis index (TLI), and comparative fit index (CFI). The values of these indices are acceptable if χ2/ df <3, TLI>.95, GFI>.95, RMSEA<.06, and CFI>.95 (Hu & Bentler, 1999).

4. Results

As the first step in data analysis, a Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was performed to ensure that the utilized scales of the three variables enjoyed acceptable validity and reliability indices. In fact, the purpose of performing CFA was to confirm the fitness of the used questionnaires in this study. With regard to the examination of the psychometric properties of the three questionnaires, the results of indices for the performed CFA indicated a good fit (X2/df = 1.89, p = 0.00, GFI = 0.984, TLI = 0.972, CFI = 0.994, RMSEA = 0.05). Concerning the internal consistency of the questionnaires and their underlying components, Table 1 indicates that the reliability coefficients for all the scales and sub-scales exceeded 0.70, revealing that all the employed scales had acceptable internal consistency. Moreover, the values for composite reliabilities ranged from 0.79 (resilience) to 0.84 (self-efficacy). Furthermore, the factor loadings for the items of all scales and sub-scales were significant (p < 0.001) and acceptable. Also, because the calculated values for composite reliabilities and factor loadings were significantly high, the model is claimed to have convergent validity (Anderson & Gerbing, 1988).

Table 1: Overall Reliability of the Constructs and Factor Loading of Indicators







t- value


How much can you do to get through to the most difficult students?





How much can you do to help your students think critically?





How much can you do to control disruptive behavior in the classroom?





How much can you do to motivate students who show low interest in school work?





To what extent can you make your expectations clear about student behavior?





How much can you do to get your students to believe they can do well in school work?





How well can you respond to difficult questions from your students?





How well can you establish routines to keep activities running smoothly?





How much can you do to help your students value learning?





How much can you gauge student comprehension of what you have taught?





To what extent can you craft good questions for your students?





How much can you do to foster student creativity?





How much can you do to get children to follow classroom rules?





How much can you do to improve the understanding of a student who is failing?





How much can you do to calm a student who is disruptive or noisy?





How well can you establish a classroom management system with each group of students?





How much can you do to adjust your lessons to the proper level for individual students?





How much can you use a variety of assessment strategies?





How well can you keep a few problem students from ruining an entire class?





To what extent can you provide an alternative explanation or example when students are confused?





How well can you respond to defiant students?





How much can you assist families in helping their children do well in school?





How well can you implement alternative strategies in your classroom?





How well can you provide appropriate challenges for very capable students?






I am able to adapt when changes occur.







I can deal with whatever comes my way.





I try to see the humorous side of things when I am faced with problems.





Having to cope with stress can make me stronger.





I tend to bounce back after illness, injury or other hardships.





I believe I can achieve my goals, even if there are obstacles.





Under pressure, I stay focused and think clearly.





I am not easily discouraged by failure.





I think of myself as a strong person when dealing with life’s challenges and difficulties.





I am able to handle unpleasant or painful feelings like sadness, fear, and anger.





I feel emotionally drained from my work





I feel used up at the end of the workday.





I feel fatigued when I get up in the morning and have to face another day on the job.





Working with people all day is really a strain for me.





I feel burned out from my work.





I feel frustrated by my job.





I feel I’m working too hard on my job.





Working with people directly puts too much stress on me.





I feel like I’m at the end of my rope.





I feel I treat some students as if they were impersonal subjects.





I’ve become more callous toward people since I took this job.





I worry that this job is hardening me emotionally.





I don’t care what happens to some students.





I feel students blame me for some of their problems.





I can easily understand how my students feel about things.





I deal very effectively with the problems of my students.





I feel I’m positively influencing other people’s lives through my work.





I feel very energetic.





I can easily create a relaxed atmosphere with my students.





I feel exhilarated after working closely with my students.




I have accomplished many worthwhile things in this job.




In my work, I deal with emotional problems very calmly.




Note : CR represents construct or composite reliability

*** significant at the 0.001 significance level


Table 2: Descriptive Statistics and Correlations


M (SD)







1. RES

22.16 (7.56)






2. SE

41.56 (1123)





3. IP

39.98 (10.87)





4. CM

44.02 (12.82)






5. Total SE









47.12 (16.24)







Note. RES= resilience; SE= Student engagement; IP= Instructional practices; CM=classroom management; Total SE= Total teacher self-efficacy.

* p <.05.

** p < .01.

Afterwards, correlations and descriptive statistics between the constructs and their underlying sub-constructs were computed. Descriptive statistics and correlations between teacher resilience, teacher self-efficacy, and burnoutare shown in Table 2. As observed in Table 2, the correlation coefficient between total teacher self-efficacy and burnout(r=.49, p<.01) was greater than that between resilience and burnout (r=.38, p<.01).

As the next step in data analysis, SEM was used to gain a more thorough insight into the role of the two variables of resilience and teacher self-efficacy in predicting burnout. SEM is viewed as an effective multivariate technique that is employed to use a confirmatory hypothesis-testing technique for the hypothesized structural model introduced in this study. It is worth noting that SEM varies with other multivariate procedures due to some key features. One main characteristic of SEM is the fact that it employs a confirmatory statistical approach for analyzing the data (Byrne, 2001). Consequently, SEM can be employed for hypothesis testing. Another characteristic of SEM is the fact that although traditional multivariate techniques do not evaluate measurement error, SEM can be employed to measure the estimates of error variance components. Another key feature is the fact that unlike other multivariate procedures that are reliant on only the observed measurements, SEM takes into consideration both observable and latent variables (Byrne, 2001).

In order to analyze the data via SEM, two models were specified, as demonstrated in Fig. 1. The formats of the correlations for either of these two hypothesized models are identical. Hence, both models are statistically considered to be identical. Nevertheless, in order to verify the statistical results, models A and B were investigated. For the purpose of investigating the unique contributions of the resilience and teacher self-efficacy, goodness of fit indices were used to examine the appropriateness of the proposed models. The model assessment revealed a good fit to the data (Table 3). As it is demonstrated in model A, the correlations among the three latent variables were significant. Teacher self-efficacy and resilience had 5% of shared variance ( =.228). Teacher self-efficacy and burnout showed 20.1% common variance ( =.449). In the same vein, resilience and burnout shared 11.7 % of variance ( =.346). As a result, these results revealed that teacher self-efficacy was a stronger predictor of burnout than resilience.

Then, in order to determine the unique impact of teacher self-efficacy and resilience beyond and above each other, R^2 increments were investigated by comparing the percentage of variability in burnout showed in models A and B. In model B, teacher self-efficacy and resilience together explained for 27% of the variance in burnout. Hence, it can be argued that resilience explained for the extra amount of 7% of the variance of teacher burnout, beyond the single teacher self-efficacy predictive variable (ΔR^2=.27−.20=.07). Additionally, the unique effect of teacher self-efficacy in predicting teacher burnout above the resilience factor was 16% (ΔR^2=.27−.11=.16). Based on these results, it is also indicated that the unique effect of teacher self-efficacy was higher than resilience in predicting burnout.

Table 3: Goodness of Fit Indices










Models A and B








Model A1 (β RES = 0)








Model A2 (β TSE = 0)








Note. RES= resilience; TSE= teacher self-efficacy.

* p <.05.


As the next step in the analysis, the unique contribution of resilience and teacher self-efficacy on burnout was investigated by constraining every relevant beta weight to zero and then their χ2 differences were assessed in model B. When constraining beta weights to zero results in substantial reduction in χ2, the unique effect of every construct in predicting burnoutis regarded to be significant. Table 3 illustrates the fit indices for the models. When beta weights were constrained to zero in model A1 (β resilience =0) as well as model A2 (β teacher self-efficacy =0), the results yielded significant chi-square changes (model A1 (β resilience =0): Δχ2 (1, N=213) = 5.18, p<.05; model A2 (β teacher self-efficacy =0): Δχ2 (1, N=213) = 6.05, p<.05). These results revealed the significant unique contributions of resilience and teacher self-efficacy as significant predictors of burnout.



Model A











Model B










Figure 1. Resilience and teacher self-efficacy as predictors of burnout.; TE= Teacher efficacy; SE=student engagement; IS= instructional strategies; CM=classroom management. *p <.05.** p <.01. ***.p <.001.

5. Discussion

The aim of the study was set to explore the role of resilience and teacher self-efficacy in predicting burnout among Iranian EFL teachers. The results obtained from the investigation of the structural model indicated that teacher sense of efficacy was a significant correlate of burnout. This result is in line with the findings of studies suggesting that there is a significantly strong correlation between teacher self-efficacy and burnout (e.g., Betoret, 2006; Khani & Mirzaee, 2015, Leiter 1992; Sarıçam & Sakız, 2014; Skaalvik & Skaalvik 2010, 2017; Ventura et al., 2015). More specifically, this finding verifies the studies that showed that individuals’ beliefs about their effectiveness in carrying out the vocational needs might affect their apprehension, emotional breakdown, and depersonalization (e.g., Jepson & Forrest 2006; Leiter & Schaufeli, 1996; Maslach & Leiter, 2008). In other words, EFL teachers’ beliefs in their competencies in using proper instructional strategies, managing their classrooms, and using strategies to engage students can predict their likelihood of feeling burnout. EFL practitioners who have stronger beliefs in their abilities to improve their students’ learning, organize and manage their classrooms, and use well-designed instructional strategies are more unlikely to experience burnout. This finding is also in line with that of Jepson and Forrest (2006) who found that more powerful perceptions of self-efficacy reduce the risk of experiencing burnout. Moreover, this finding supports those of Schwarzer and Hallum (2008) that highlighted the significance of efficacy beliefs in affecting teaching stress and burnout and found that lower self-efficacy beliefs are likely to lead to teaching stress, which in turn results in teacher burnout.

In addition, it was revealed that resilience could significantly predict teaching burnout of EFL teachers. This finding is consistent with those of a number of studies who found that a negative relationship was observed between teacher resilience and burnout (e.g., Beckett, 2011, Dworkin, 2009; Hong, 2012; Karimi & Adam, 2018; Richards et al., 2016). It can be argued that teachers that are more resilient are more likely to be competent in navigating the sociopolitical atmospheres of the institutes and schools where they work and feel less apprehension accordingly (Richards, 2015). It is also claimed that teachers who feel higher levels of resilience feel less stress and perceive higher levels of role consensus, leading to a more powerful sense of community which also causes teachers to have greater belief in their competencies to meet expectations (Biddle, 1986; Richards, 2015). In other words, teachers that have stronger degrees of resilience are less emotionally exhausted, obtain a stronger sense of job satisfaction, and are more competent in maintaining effective interactions with others. Teachers who feel more resilience experience less vocational stress, leading to a less probability of feeling burnout (Howard & Johnson, 2004).

Also, the results of the present study revealed that teacher self-efficacy appeared to be a stronger predictor of burnout than teacher resilience. In other words, it was found that although either of the two constructs (i.e., self-efficacy & resilience) had a significant unique effect on burnout, teachers’ sense of efficacy outweighed resilience as a predictor of burnout. This finding can be attributed to the influential role of self-efficacy as a key variable affecting teachers’ effectiveness, commitment, job satisfaction, stress, and well-being (e.g., Caprara at el, 2003; Klassen & Chiu, 2010; Klassen & Tze, 2014; Zee & Koomen, 2016). More particularly, teachers with higher sense of self-efficacy are more committed to their teaching, feel more satisfaction, and are less likely to become burnout (Chesnut & Burley, 2015). This finding also re-echoes those of Betoret (2006) and Khani and Mirzaee (2015), who revealed that self-efficacy along with its underlying components could significantly affect and decrease burnout. As teacher self-efficacy deals with teachers' perceptions and beliefs of their own competence in teaching and their effectiveness in improving their students' learning outcomes, teachers with lower levels of self-efficacy may hold negative perceptions of their teaching ability and the educational milieu, a situation which enhances the probability of feeling more emotional exhaustion and depersonalization.

As previously discussed, teachingis considered to be emotionally exhausting (Day, Sammons, Stobart, Kington, & Gu, 2007), and might be even more demanding given the shift of orientation in L2 teaching and more active and accountable roles being assigned to EFL practitioners. Therefore, any kind of teaching stress might have serious implications for teacher effectiveness, recruitment policies, and also teacher attrition (Smith & Ingersoll, 2004). From this perspective, EFL teachers who experience high degrees of stress and burnout but continue to teach the language, are less likely to feel job satisfaction and to be committed to their institutions (Ingersoll & Smith, 2004). Such teachers may not teach effectively and their students are less likely to have learning achievement. The findings of the present study revealed that teacher self-efficacy and resilience could significantly affect teacher burnout. Therefore, these two variables should be given more serious attention by policy makers and teacher educators in the Iranian context.

6. Conclusion and Implications

Since Iranian educational system is highly affected by traditional, high stakes tests which increase teachers’ accountability and burden, Iranian teachers are more vulnerable to teaching stress and are more likely to experience burnout. Therefore, one integral element of competence building of teacher education programs in Iran should be devoted to teaching procedural skills and strategies for developing resilience among pre-service EFL teachers. By so doing, the likelihood of teacher attrition and teacher burnout might be decreased. However, since the underlying components and competencies related to teacher resilience are less clearly defined, further studies are required to thoroughly examine the construct of resilience and also to develop an all-embracing framework for teacher resilience which should be both theoretically sound and empirically verified. Although it may be argued that the factors which enhance teacher resilience are mainly affected by the individuals’ experience and career stage, it is also affirmed that teacher preparation programs can play an influential role in boosting teachers’ resilience (Mansfield et al., 2016). As Day and Gu (2014) rightly stated, enhancing teachers’ quality of instruction and increasing their learners’ achievement and standards would both require that teachers’ resilience be built up and revived by early teacher preparation courses.

Concerning teacher self-efficacy, it is argued that enhancing teachers’ sense of efficacy result in an increase in their sense of teaching commitment and professional identity (Canrinus, Helms-Lorenz, Beijaard, Buitink, & Hofman,, 2012), thereby increasing a sense of further accomplishment, achievement, and job satisfaction among teachers. It is natural that practitioners who feel more satisfied with their profession are less likely to experience burnout. Therefore, language schools and institutions are recommended to contribute to enhancing their teachers’ self-efficacy by creating more supportive atmosphere, giving agency and enough freedom to the teachers, and developing a sense of belongingness among their staff. The present study, however, suffers from some limitations. First, this study was cross-sectional in nature, but perceptions of teachers about their self-efficacy, resilience, and burnout may change over time. Therefore, in order to obtain more reliable findings on these constructs, future researchers can employ longitudinal designs so that they can trace the longitudinal trajectories and fluctuations in these variables over time. In addition, further researchers may employ qualitative or mixed-methods designs in order to fully understand how these three variables are related and also help to interpret the associations among these constructs.


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[1] Assistant Professor in Applied Linguistics, Jfathi13@yahoo.com; Department of English Language, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Iran.

[2] Ph.D. Candidate in Applied Linguistics, saeedianbaset@gmail.com; Department of English Language, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran.