A Study of teacher stress exploring practitioner research and teacher collaboration as a way forward.

Hussain, H., 2010. A Study of teacher stress exploring practitioner research and teacher collaboration as a way forward. PhD Thesis (PhD). Bournemouth University.

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Abstract

There is widespread concern over the high levels of reported work-related stress, job dissatisfaction and psychological distress associated with teaching and the effects of stress on teacher's sense of well-being and their willingness to stay in the profession (Borg, 1990; MSLAT, 1996; Troman, 1998; Schonfeld, 1990; Wilson, 2002). Much of the traditional research on teacher stress has been carried out by external 'experts' using quantitative survey type approaches to analyze occupational stress levels resulting in restrictive data analysis unrepresentative of the true picture of stress in the teaching profession. Researchers have advocated a more holistic approach incorporating mixed methods combining both qualitative and quantitative methods in order to gain subjective teacher reports of stress and coping mechanisms resulting in a fuller picture on teacher stress with future recommendations grounded in research. Recently, the reflective practice movement in healthcare (eg:-Boswell, 2007) has suggested using a more integrative approach to advance practitioner knowledge and empower them to improve practice through reflection to create an understanding ofthe issues within a local context. My research was particularly interested in the issues relating to teacher stress including the way teacher stress was being measured and the effectiveness of qualitative over quantitative methods, the inclusion and exclusion practices of disruptive students and the use of practitioner research to encourage teacher collaboration as a way of dealing with teacher stress. Practitioner-Research methodology has been successfully adopted in Nursing and Health-Care and has recently been used in Education with mixed findings some successfully advocating p-r while other research was hampered by bureaucracy and top-down managerial agendas. In relation to this a single UK Secondary school was researched as a case study by the investigator who taught Sixth formers A'level Psychology at the school. The research was conducted in phases using a qualitative multimethod approach incorporating triangulation to include staff, students and researcher reflections about practice in order to encourage staff collaboration, empowerment and meta-cognition. A reflexive stance was thus adopted to underpin the research methodology. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted on 20 teachers (varying levels, ages and mixed gender) to assess the proposed research objectives. Classroom observations and student interviews were carried out for a year 10 class to complete the data collection. The findings revealed how students felt caught up in a selffulfilling prophecy with teachers seeing them negatively, leading to a spiral of failure and lack of motivation and the teacher interviews with both newly qualified and experienced teachers, uncovered how different coping strategies were used to deal with disruption, classroom and task management in general. The most important findings came from middle managers who claimed there was poor communication between senior tiers and lower teaching tiers with a strong sense of bureaucracy ruling their decisions. In order to bridge this gap, the practice development phase of the research tried to establish collaborative meetings in order to encourage teachers from all levels to self-reflect, deal with problematic issues and action research solutions of teaching practices. The Senior Management Team (SMT, including the Head) did not encourage staff or the researcher to proceed further with the final phase and the research was abruptly halted. Despite this, I believe that practitioner-research is a viable methodology in education research as it gives 'ownership of knowledge' to the practitioner using a self-reflexive stance to increasing their evidence-based practice resulting in a growth in meta-cognition to make improvements in practice. I feel, we need to increase insider research and use Action Research spirals and collegial collaboration as a wayforward.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Bournemouth University for the degree of Doctor of Professional Practice.If you feel this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager. If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Subjects:Social Sciences > Education
Technology > Medicine and Health > Nursing and Midwifery
Group:School of Health and Social Care
ID Code:14994
Deposited By:Mrs Jill Burns
Deposited On:04 Jun 2010 16:26
Last Modified:07 Mar 2013 15:30

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