04 SES 16 D, Positive Education for Disadvantaged Students around the Globe
Minority group adolescents often experience challenge and distress in personal, social, and academic areas of their lives. Schools teachers can help such adolescents acquire knowledge and skills which can help them cope with these challenges, and foster their development and achievement. In this sense, teachers have the potential to serve as critical change agents. However, research suggests that teachers do not always serve this role, and in fact – their behavior often works to hinder such change, due to various reasons (Shoshana, 2017; Stephens et al., 2014). I suggest that teachers’ acknowledgment of their potential impact on students’ lives, reflected in their sense of meaning at work, is central to achieving this impact. Teachers’ sense of meaning has been associated with different aspects of improved teacher functioning such as better teacher-student relationships, increased engagement, and decreased burnout (Lavy & Bocker, 2018; Lavy, under review). Furthermore, a recent study specifically indicated associations of the sense of meaning among teachers in 30 schools serving minority group students in Israel with teachers’ performance, as well as with school graduates’ self-reported resilience (Lavy & Ayuob, under review). Building on these studies, the present research explored differences in the sense of meaning at work of teachers in Arab and Jewish schools in Israel (Arabs are considered an ethnic minority in Israel, and almost all Arab municipalities are ranked low or very low on socio-economic status; Taub Center, 2015). Furthermore, based on a recent study which initially shows the contribution of social support to teachers’ development of their sense of meaning (Lavy & Gurevich, in preparation), the research also examined associations of supervisor and colleague support with teachers’ sense of meaning in the two groups, and proposed that this expected association is mediated by teachers’ sense of school belonging. Participants (246 teachers from 53 Arab schools, 287 teachers from 50 Jewish schools) completed self-report measures assessing the study variables. Independent samples t-tests showed that teachers’ sense of meaning, supervisor support, colleagues’ support, and school belonging were all higher among Jewish schools’ teachers. Furthermore, supervisors’ and colleagues’ support were significantly associated with teachers’ sense of meaning at work, and their school belonging mediated these associations. These findings highlight the decreased sense of meaning and decreased social support of teachers serving minority group students, and imply that enhancing their social support may contribute to their sense of meaning at work – which can be an important resource.
Lavy, S. (under review). A meaningful boost: Effects of boosting teachers’ sense of meaning on their engagement and burnout. Lavy, S., & Ayuob, W. (under review). Teachers’ sense of meaning associatios with teacher performance and graduates’ resilience: A study of schools serving students from low SES. Lavy, S., & Bocker, S. (2018). A path to happiness? A sense of meaning affects relationships, which affect job satisfaction: Evidence from two studies of teachers. Journal of Happiness Studies, 19(5), 1439-1463. Lavy, S., & Gurevich, M. (in preparation). The effects of colleague support on teachers’ caring: Initial evidence. Shoshana, A. (2017). Ethnographies of “A Lesson in Racism”: Class, Ethnicity, and the Supremacy of the Psychological Discourse. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 48(1), 61-76. Stephens, N. M., Markus, H. R., & Phillips, L. T. (2014). Social class culture cycles: How three gateway contexts shape selves and fuel inequality. Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 611-634.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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