01 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Exhibition
General Poster Session during Lunch
A positive working environment is an important mechanism of quality and change at school. Today’s trends in teacher training emphasise a social dimension that views school as a learning organisation where relationships prevailing in the working environment support teachers’ professional development. The main question of this research is how Estonian primary school teachers assess social and emotional aspects of their school’s environment and how these assessments are related to the teachers’ overall satisfaction.
Modern understanding of teachers’ professionalism attaches value to professional development at school level, primarily cooperation between teachers and networking (Estonian Teacher Education Strategy for 2009-2013 (2009)). Several studies and schools’ daily practice have demonstrated that working environment related emotional and social factors create opportunities for mutual support, exchange of ideas and experience, and may increase teachers’ self-efficacy (Fullan, 1991; Kokkinos, 2007). OECD’s Teaching and Learning International Survey - TALIS (TALIS, 2009) that involved 23 countries identified professionalism indicators of teachers and their job, including factors related to teachers’ working environment. The central factor characterising satisfaction with working environment is the quality of the cooperation between its members – school administration, teachers and pupils. This research also reveals that emotional and social factors ensuring satisfaction, like good relations with colleagues and pupils, are associated with improved learning outcomes. Studies (Klassen et al., 2008; Senge, 2001; TALIS 2009) prove that teachers’ personal and collective self-efficacy greatly depends on the quality of their working environment.
Teachers and their working environment are directly related to the interpersonal relationships dominating in the given environment and their intensity. Some school environments stimulate an enduring culture of cooperation, others attempt to smother it. The impact of a working environment manifests itself in people’s attitudes, values and skills arising from their personal background and experience. Successful teachers appreciate professional community as a source of their professional motivation and that is the reason why they do not burn out in increasingly more demanding situations. Such school communities are characterised by the following features: reflective dialogue, cooperation and exchange of experience, openness to new ideas, mutual trust and respect.
Estonian Teacher Education Strategy for 2009-2013. (2009). [Text file]. URL http://www.hm.ee/index.php?popup=download&id=8782 [June 30, 2011] Fullan, M. (1991). The New Meaning of Educational Change. New York: Teacher College Press. Klassen, R.M. (2010). Teacher Stress: The Mediating Role of Collective Efficacy Beliefs. The Journal of Educational Research, 342-350. Kokkinos, C. M. (2007). Job stressors, personality and burnout in primary school teachers. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 77, 229-243. Marsick, V. J., Watkins, K. E. (2003). Demonstrating the value of an Organization`s Learning Culture: The Dimension of the Learning Organization Questionnaire. - Advances in Developing Human Resources. Vol. 5, No.55, No 2, 132-151. Senge, P., Cambron-McCabe, N., Lucas, T., Smith, B., Dutton, J., Kleiner, A.(2001). Schools that Learn. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing TALIS. (2009). Creating Effective Teaching and Learning Environments: First results from TALIS [Survey report]. URL http://www.oecd.org/edu/talis/firstresults [June 30, 2011]
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