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PSYCHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF THE IMPACT OF WORK ON THE LIFESTYLE OF TEACHERS

УДК 159.9.072:371                              Maria Katarzyna GRZEGORZEWSKA,

Phd,

Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology,

Faculty of Humanities,

AGH University of Science аnd Technology,

Krakow, Poland

PSYCHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF THE IMPACT OF WORK
ON THE LIFESTYLE OF TEACHERS

Часто люди, які працюють в однаковому професійному середовищі, істотно різняться між собою способом життя. У статті зроблено спробу дати відповідь на питання стосовно природи та ролі психологічних чинників, які, в поєднанні з професійною діяльністю, впливають на стиль життя вчителя. Автором доведено, що причинами цього є як особистісні риси, набуті в процесі соціалізації, так і безпосередній вплив середовища. Особлива увага приділяється суб’єктивному сприйняттю людиною значення праці, а також тій об’єктивній ролі, яку вона насправді відіграє в людському житті. З-поміж інших автор виокремлює такий чинник, як важливість особистих рис щодо оцінки мікроклімату в педагогічному колективі, а також демонструє, який вид мотивації, пов'язаний із колективом, переважає в цієї професійної групи осіб.

Ключові слова: вчитель, праця, спосіб (стиль) життя.

Часто люди, работающие в одинаковой профессиональной среде, существенно различаются между собой образом жизни. В статье сделана попытка дать ответ на вопрос о природе и роли психологических факторов, которые, в сочетании с профессиональной деятельностью, влияют на стиль жизни учителя. Автором доказано, что причинами этого являются как личностные черты, приобретенные в процессе социализации, так и непосредственное влияние среды. Особое внимание уделяется субъективному восприятию человеком значения труда, а также той объективной роли, которую он на самом деле играет в человеческой жизни. Среди других автор выделяет такой фактор, как важность личных качеств в оценке микроклимата в педагогическом коллективе, а также демонстрирует, какой вид мотивации, связанный с коллективом, преобладает в этой профессиональной группе лиц.

Ключевые слова: учитель, труд, образ (стиль) жизни.

This article attempts to answer a question about the nature and affecting a lifestyle in connecting with work. It is puzzling why seemingly similar people functioning often in a similar way, in professional work environment tend to lead a varied lifestyle. Reasons of that situation are probably caused by attributes of personality characteristics, schemes acquired in the socialization process as well as they are influenced by surroundings. I will also try to pay attention to the factors that form subjective meaning of work for a person and also its role that plays objectively in human life. Considering further described research, the impact of personality traits on the climate assessment in the organization such as school – teachers’ workplace seems crucial as well as showing what kind of motivation associated with an attachment to the organization prevails in this particular professional group.

Keywords: teachers, work, lifestyle.

Characteristics of the teaching profession. The teaching profession comes under creative, innovative and constantly developing professions. ”What is the aim and the content of the work and teaching profession shall be internally very diverse, personalized, unconventional, strictly relating to an individual, very inherent and differing from others. It is also changing along with the development and progress of science, culture, technology and civilization” [1, p. 7]. An aspect of rapid progress of technology and civilization requires lifelong teacher’s self-development and acquisition of new skills. The teachers themselves are responsible for their profession success in the sense that as the specific model, constantly being witnessed by students becomes for them a model or an anti-model of behavior. The teacher becomes a model, especially when they do not consider themselves excellent teachers, constantly works on self-development as a human being, an expert and an educator while trying to be guided by certain values, understanding and liking their students, respecting their subjectivity and attempting to prepare them best for life.

The occupation of a teacher is primarily characterized by the fact, that the subject of his actions are people, especially children and adolescents, and its primary role is to educate and up bring children. The essence of the teacher's work was not only teaching, but also to stimulate pupils, their development and self-education as well as self-upbringing [2, p. 59].

The teaching profession is perceived by them like many others, where the most important are the rational employee features such as knowledge, skills and attitudes. There are two kinds of things that are being formed under the influence of various factors; on the one hand - professional attitudes of teachers in the cognitive, emotional (motivational) and behavioral spheres and on the other hand - professional attitudes of teachers also create specific opportunities for development, the implementation of the ambitions and teachers' professional aspirations. Professional development is an essential element in the teacher's work and the development involves changes of the progressive nature that is targeted at optimization of ways of performing a professional role.

The social and economic circumstances together with cultural and educational changes have caused that the teacher stopped to be the main organizer of education, but he became one of the many cultural and educational employees [2, p.59]. Today, you will find that the teacher's role is mostly limited to educational activities, leaving out their upbringing role

A contemporary teacher “takes ‘crucial’ place as a promoter, a creator of changes, a supporter of mutual understanding and tolerance, as a translator and an interpreter of the current reality. The teacher is responsible for the method, the quality and the pace of a personal development, for arranging and building the internal harmony of that confused and lost man” [3, p.38]. So the teacher is becoming needed in a slightly different way than it was previously the case. The teacher is no longer the only source for a student, therefore the knowledge that he gives/communicates must be linked the way the student sees a connection of the knowledge with broader problems or issues. The role of that teacher is to point to the pupil sources of knowledge, methods how to use it both at and out of school. The teacher must search for new sources of the student’s knowledge, take care of the attractiveness of working methods, contribute in the student’s search promoting and supporting him/her in achieving independence, independence, criticism and creativity.

What we understand under the concept of a lifestyle. A lifestyle appears as a complex totality of processes with multifaceted internal structural links It shall be considered as specific group of everyday behaviors of a certain community members which are reflecting their position and due to that allowing their social identification. Therefore it can be assumed that a lifestyle is culturally conditioned way of meeting the needs, habits and norms that govern the value systems adopted by a single entity or a group. It is being formed in a process of mutual interaction of widely comprehended living conditions and individual behavioral patterns [5, p. 18-22]. These behaviors are determined by personal qualities and socio-cultural factors.

The concept of "lifestyle" is very strongly connected with the private sphere of human life, and thus also with the way of spending spare time. Spare time is sometimes recognized as multifunctional, because both the way as well as motivations can be very different. It plays various functions like educational one! which consists of developing own horizons and interests; also upbringing functions related to learning and following specific norms and values; integration functions which put the groups together and cover the need of belonging, recreational functions related to activities of taking a rest, cultural functions aimed at learning and following cultural values and also compensational functions related to aligning of unmet needs at work and in other spheres of life.

A very important element here is also a role which plays spending free time in the social processes. It is used for maintaining social relationships, identification of individuals and of entire social groups. Research Institute for Public Opinion, Market and Consumption GfK Polonia, presented the results from the research "Lifestyles in Poland", which showed that "almost all Polish people simply spend their free time with family (83%), while men are doing it slightly less. Besides, the most popular way of spending free time is unfortunately watching TV, which declares 75% of Polish people [5, p. 36].

Summing up the above considerations on the lifestyle, it can be definitely stated that it is a very broad term consisting of many aspects often very difficult to define. As a result it can often lead to confusion of determinants of a lifestyle with elements concerning that style. Problems of distinguishing elements of a lifestyle, a content that falls under this term and affects it, the difficulty exposes at the moment of attempting to define a relationship between a lifestyle and values. By determinants of a lifestyle we understand such groups of conditions that coexist with certain styles and their change causes a change of the style. It means that the change depends on the combination of the economic, cultural and psychological factors. The change of oneself and the world according to a certain imaginary ideal, activity aimed not only at satisfying needs, but also for the implementation of timeless values is a very important component contributing and shaping a lifestyle.

Research methodology.

Characteristics of the research problem. The analysis of the present paper aims to verify research problems focused on the following issues:

  • the main issue is whether working as a teacher in different schools is related to the teachers’ different lifestyles or not.
  • whether the personal predispositions of the subjects match their occupation or not. In this study, I assume that there are differences in the intensity of these traits (variables) between Group A (high school teachers) and Group B (middle and elementary school teachers).
  • another issue this study attempts at verifying is the correlation between the variables tested in both of the studied groups. By this, I mean the influence of personality on the commitment (also referred to as ‘attachment’ in this study) to the institution (also referred to as ‘organization’ in this study), as well as on the assessment of its climate.

In order to answer those questions, average values from both groups have been compared, and the correlation of their results has been investigated.

Research questions. The following research questions have been addressed in the study: 1) What is the influence of the commitment to the institution on the teachers' lifestyle? 2) Does the necessity of self-education among teachers influence their involvement in their ‘family life’ as a part of their lifestyle? What type of motivation of the commitment to the institution prevails among high school and middle school teachers? Which of the studied teacher groups feels more pressured to maintain high quality of their tasks?

Research hypotheses. As a result of the questions posed, the following research hypotheses have been adopted:

H1. Among teachers of both groups there is a correlation between extroversion, involvement in the organisational life of the school, commitment to it, and interpersonal relationships.

H 2. The involvement of the school teachers in their ‘family life’ decreases with the increase of their self-education level.

H 3. Middle school teachers are more committed to the institution than high school teachers.

H 4. Middle school teachers are more focused on the quality of their teaching-related tasks.

Characteristics of the studied groups. The study has been performed on two groups of thirty people each: The tested group (Group A) consisted of thirty high school teachers. They were men and women aged 27-52, with varying educational background and slightly differing (although similar in most cases) professional experience and competence levels, which were not taken into consideration as variables during the research and the analysis of the results. All subjects in this group were regularly employed in high schools in Kraków. The control group (the so-called Group B) consisted of thirty middle and elementary school teachers. They were also men and women of the same age group as the subjects from Group A, i.e. aged 27-52. Intentional selection has been used, in order to make the following analysis easier and increase the accuracy of the results. The criterion for selection was the place of employment, i.e. the same city the subjects from Group A are from. In the case of this study this is all the more important, as the lifestyles of people living in larger and smaller cities and towns may differ greatly, due, for instance, to a different availability of cultural entertainment, interpersonal contact, and part-time work.

Research tools. The following tests have been employed in the study [6]:

  1. NEO-FFI INVENTORY, the so-called BIG FIVE (Costa, McCrae),
  2. A QUESTIONNAIRE ON THE LIFESTYLE OF THE TEACHERS,
  3. ORGANISATIONAL COMMITMENT (Meyer, Allen),
  4. ORGANISATIONAL CLIMATE TEST (Atkinson).

Research procedure. The research was conducted in Kraków between January and mid-April 2015, on two groups of 30 people each. The first group – Group A consisted of high school teachers, while the second group – Group B consisted of middle and elementary school teachers. Part of the research has been conducted in the homes of the subjects, and the remaining part was conducted during the conference summarising the past school semester. Most of the research conducted on Group B (elementary and middle school teachers), however, has taken place during pre-arranged appointments in the staff room. Several people have also been given tests to solve in their homes. The subjects' attitude towards the study has been very positive. The subjects worked diligently and were interested in what they were doing, although there were some exceptions, in which a subject did not finish their test or copied their answers from the person sitting next to them. The time taken to solve the employed battery of tests ranged from 25 to 45 minutes. There was no time limit imposed by the researcher. Every person could work at their own pace. The subjects were informed about the aim of the study, the anonymity of it, and the fact that the obtained results would be used for a research paper. The results obtained were then statistically analysed, and the entirety of the calculations was performed using SPSS 11.

Analysis of the results. Verification of the hypotheses. In order to investigate all the differences in organisational commitment, organisational climate, and lifestyle between the studied groups, the average results of the high school teachers group have also been compared with the results of the middle school teachers group.

Investigation of the importance of the observed differences was made possible by employing the Independent Student's T-test.

For the investigation of correlation between extroversion (E), involvement in the organisational life of the school (Z), affective commitment (P), and interpersonal contact (K), the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient was employed.

The same procedure was employed for the correlation between self-education (S) and involvement in the family life (R).

Conclusions of the study.

Analysis of the findings. The present study has been concerned chiefly with proving and exploring what kind of various factors, especially working life, affect the lifestyle of teachers, and what is their role. The study has investigated two groups consisting of thirty people each, all of whom teach at high and middle schools, in order to illustrate this problem.

The results of the study performed in order to verify the problem of this paper suggest the following conclusions:

Crucial correlations between involvement in the organisational life of the school, affective attachment to the institution, extroversion, and interpersonal relations among the teachers have been demonstrated. The correlation of chosen variables among both of the studied groups of teachers indicates that extroverts with a high level of activity, vibrancy, and a large amount of social interaction are decidedly more likely to participate in activities related to the organisational life of the school, and as the study has confirmed, they find it easier to establish interpersonal relationships. Their attachment to the institution can be characterised as an emotional and personal relationship.

Further conclusions have been drawn from the findings on the correlation of the self-education level with the involvement in the family life. The findings have proved this correlation to be a significant negative relationship among high and middle school teachers.

In other words, this means that the acquisition of new knowledge, necessary in the modern world, takes place at the cost of the family life.

The comparison of average values regarding the attachment to the institution between the high school and middle school teacher groups has demonstrated a higher intensity of this trait among middle school teachers. This indicates a positive emotional attitude towards the institution and is an example of a general tendency related to the need for a stable and secure employment. This is also related to a feeling of moral obligation to remain in the institution, as well as a conviction of the necessity of loyalty to the company.

Middle school teachers put significantly more emphasis on the quality of the performed tasks than high school teachers. This may stem from the fact that in Poland, middle school is a relatively new institution that has elements of novelty and is still in its development stage. Therefore, expectations on middle school employees are decidedly higher, encouraging teachers to exercise creativity, innovation and self-improvement.

The importance of the respective lifestyle elements for the respective study groups has also been analysed. The comparison of the findings of this analysis obviously shows a relatively high level of correspondence between the groups. However, the difference is that the high school teachers are more involved in their family life and additional part-time work. Middle school teachers put more emphasis on interpersonal relationships, self-education, and cultural life.

The study conducted has also allowed to determine which factors of the attachment to the institution among high school teachers are of highest importance. The most important factor in this group is a stability attachment, followed by an affective attachment, and finally, normative attachment.

The results for the middle school teacher group are slightly different. They find an emotional relationship with the institution (in other words, the affective attachment) to be the most important factor, while the necessity of remaining in a single institution – in other words, the stability attachment – is of less importance to them.

However, the normative attachment, related to the idea of a moral bond with the institution is equally important to both groups.

The methods used for measuring the factors studied have proved very effective and also useful, due to the relatively short time the study took in those conditions. An additional asset of these methods is also the easy-to-understand and substantial nature of the questions asked. For future studies on this subject, the importance of the correspondence of the relative relations between the subjects of the study and the researcher should be considered. This would allow for a better involvement of the subjects in solving the tests, which would therefore improve the accuracy and reliability of the obtained results.

Practical conclusions. In light of the above findings, we can draw up several conclusions backed up by psychological theory and the observation of the work environment of the subjects and its changes in response to social situations. An example demonstrating the influence of the aforementioned social and political changes related to the reorganisation of the work environment is the formation of middle schools in Poland. It translates directly into a stronger focus on the quality of teaching-related tasks by the middle school teachers. The new role of such a teacher is thus to thoroughly understand the direction of the changes, and it requires an active participation in those changes, as well as engaging in acquiring increasingly more competences. The study conducted has confirmed the situation described above and encourages us to consider a third hypothesis, which assumes that middle school teachers are more strongly attached to the institution than high school teachers. This may be related to the fact that an institution having 'the benefit of novelty' and such an absorbing operational structure as a middle school can induce an attachment effect in a short time and force emphasis on the quality of the performed tasks.

Another conclusion we may draw from the study performed regards the correlation between the rise of the self-education level of a person and the decrease of their commitment to their family life. It is a natural and justified occurrence, as it is known that the teacher profession belongs to the so-called creative professions, which require constant improvement, continual self-education and thorough study of new teaching methods. Unfortunately, the will and need of acquiring new competences require time and, as the study has shown, this is usually done at the expense of family life.

The last of the conclusions presented here regards the correlation between extroversion, involvement in the organisational life of the school, attachment to it, and interpersonal relationships. This stems from the fact that extroverts are very active and energetic, and are characterised by a large amount of social interaction and a stronger involvement in organisational activities, and as the study has shown, are better at establishing interpersonal relationships. As we have mentioned before, their attachment to the institution is characterised by an emotional and personal relationship with it.

Summary of the findings. The study performed has proved the hypothesised correlation between some of the personality components, such as extroversion, and lifestyle factors regarding involvement in the organisational life of the school; interpersonal relationships and an emotional attachment to the school institution. We have also demonstrated that the rise of the self-education level of a teacher is directly tied into the decrease of their involvement in family matters. Despite having discovered many similarities, both groups also greatly differ in certain areas. Middle school teachers are more strongly attached to the institution and more focused on the quality of their tasks.

Due to the specific nature of their profession, which requires patience and involvement in scholarly work, teachers are an interesting subject for various studies.

This profession also contributes to the industrial and organizational psychology studies in the field of hypotheses and analyses regarding the performance of particular professions. It shows an indisputable relationship of this part of life (i.e. professional work) with psychology. It can also constitute a basis of sorts for further and more comprehensive psychological studies.

LITERATURE

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Категорія: Статті англійською мовою | Додав: Natali (23.02.2016)
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