Scholarly article on topic 'Identifying Factors of Job Motivation and Satisfaction of Foreign Language Teachers: Research Project Design'

Identifying Factors of Job Motivation and Satisfaction of Foreign Language Teachers: Research Project Design Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Eleni Griva, Eugenia Panitsidou, Dora Chostelidou

Abstract A study has been designed with the purpose to identify those factors which contribute to motivation and professional satisfaction of foreign language (FL) teachers employed in the Greek education system. The sample consists of primary and secondary school FL teachers, FL advisors, and school directors. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection is used: a) questionnaires, b) semi-structured interviews, c) focus group discussions, d) non-participant observations, and e) open-ended interviews. We believe that the findings will provide accounts for the issue of job motivation and satisfaction and serve as a useful corpus of data for education policy makers.

Academic research paper on topic "Identifying Factors of Job Motivation and Satisfaction of Foreign Language Teachers: Research Project Design"

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Social and Behavioral Sciences

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 46 (2012) 543 - 547 —

WCES 2012

Identifying factors of job motivation and satisfaction of foreign language teachers: research project design

Eleni Griva a *, Eugenia Panitsidou b, Dora Chostelidou c

aUniversity of Western Macedonia, Florina,53100, Greece bUniversity of Macedonia, Thessaloniki,54006, Greece cAristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki,54124, Greece

Abstract

A study has been designed with the purpose to identify those factors which contribute to motivation and professional satisfaction of foreign language (FL) teachers employed in the Greek education system. The sample consists of primary and secondary school FL teachers, FL advisors, and school directors. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection is used: a) questionnaires, b) semi-structured interviews, c) focus group discussions, d) non-participant observations, and e) open-ended interviews. We believe that the findings will provide accounts for the issue of job motivation and satisfaction and serve as a useful corpus of data for education policy makers.

Keywords: FL teachers; research; design; job satisfaction

1. Introduction

Research on school effectiveness has indicated that student outcomes depend highly on the quality of instruction, which is interrelated to motivation and job satisfaction of the human resources (Scheerens, 2008). A growing interest in teacher job satisfaction in the field of EFL/ESL has been flourishing during the last two decades; More and more people around the world were in need of acquiring a higher level of competence in the target language, which has resulted in the English language teaching profession becoming a highly popular career choice (Pennington & Riley, 1991). Nevertheless, not always has an adequate degree of job satisfaction been reported on the part of the language teachers, while concern has been voiced for the recorded attrition rates.

As job satisfaction is regarded a multidimensional and dynamic construct, it is affected by factors such as individual characteristics of the profession, features of the working conditions and specific job related aspects. Dinham and Scott, (1998) on their part, considered three broad categories of factors which affect job satisfaction: factors intrinsic to teaching, factors operating at the school level, factors operating at the system level. The concept of motivation is closely interrelated to professional satisfaction which derives from the teaching practice, and determines effective teaching practices and professionalism overall (Lent & Brown, 2008). It should be noted that 'motivation explains why people decide to do something, how hard they are going to pursue it and how long they are willing to sustain the activity' (Dornyei, 2001:7). Contemporary research on teachers' motivation (Bandura, 1997; Lent & Brown, 2008; Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2011) has outlined three substantial intrinsic motivation variables: expectancy, value and work goals, and affective or personality traits.

What is outlined in most studies as basic motivation component, contributing to overall professional satisfaction, are elements inextricably linked to the teaching profession, such as interaction with students, autonomy and self

* Eleni Griva. Tel.: +23850-25027 E-mail address: egriva@uowm.gr

ELSEVIER

1877-0428 © 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Huseyin Uzunboylu doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.05.157

growth, while negative reinforcement is usually related to institutional structures and policy measures (Karavas, 2010; Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2011). Since the concept of motivation is closely related to the reasons-motives, which drive people into performing an action (Thoonen et al., 2011), it would be useful to identify what actually motivates people to choose teaching as a career and why people are attracted to enter the teaching profession.

2. Design of the research project

2.1. The Greek Context of teaching foreign languages

Although English remains by far the most widely spoken foreign language throughout Europe (Breidbach, 2003), the European Commission has attempted a strive for multilingualism in all state members for the last two decades with the purpose of enabling all European citizens to speak two foreign languages (Commission of the European Communities, 1995). Multilingualism helps learners develop their multilingual and multicultural awareness but also acquire a wider sense of citizenship, manage mutual understanding, and develop an understanding of their rights and responsibilities as citizens of a multilingual Europe (Griva & Chostelidou, 2011). In this vein, language teaching constitutes a priority policy area for European educational systems (Commission of the European Communities, 2oo7).

The Greek Ministry of Education has agreed on a broad spectrum of foreign language policy goals and has taken a series of initiatives in the context of Greek public primary and secondary education for promoting students' foreign language competence. As a result, the educational system has experienced certain initiatives to promote the teaching of English, French, German and Italian as FLs for the last decade (Griva & Iliadou, 2011: 18). English is taught as a compulsory FL (Foreign Language) for 3 hours per week, at all state primary schools (Circular C1/636/05-10-1987), from the 3th grade onward (9 year old students) and a second compulsory foreign language (French or German) was introduced in primary education four years ago ( Circular F 52/345/48265/C1/17-5-2005). Furthermore, English is taught as a compulsory FL at all state secondary schools, French or German have been taught as second FLs since 1993 (Official Gazette, 1993) or even Italian has been taught as a second FL since 2008 (Circular I 11800/C2/2-9-2008).

2.2. Rationale and purpose of the research

The role of FL teachers in relation to the promotion of multilingual education and development of the students' plurilingual competence is considered important not only for the students' development of the four basic skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking), but also for their motivation to learn European languages (Griva & Papadopoulou, 2008). If FL teachers can be supported to understand where they stand, and if they can stand there with dignity, security, satisfaction and competence, then all, schools students and communities, can widely benefit, advance and meet targets of policy planning (Papastamatis et al., 2009).

In this line, a research project has been designed with the main purpose to deal with the issue of professional satisfaction and motivation of FL teachers employed in primary and secondary education. In the proposed research, an attempt is made to identify those factors which contribute to motivation and professional satisfaction of foreign language (FL) teachers in Greek primary and secondary education. Specifically, it aims at:

• Identifying the level of satisfaction of FL teachers in relation to working conditions;

• Exploring the level of satisfaction of FL teachers in relation to status and recognition;

• Recording the level of satisfaction of FL teachers in relation to teaching efficacy;

• Recording the level of satisfaction of FL teachers in relation to supervision and in-service provision;

• Eliciting the motivational factors in relation to their job and teaching practice;

• Investigating the factors which influence the FL teachers' level of professional satisfaction (the effect of demographic and other variables, such as gender, further studies, teaching experience, position, type of school, school grade and school area);

• Recordmg Foreign Language Advisors' point of views on the abovementioned issues.

The ultimate purpose is to develop an integrative model that will attempt to account for the joint operation of multiple motivational factors and professional satisfaction variables, concerning FL teachers within the Greek educational system.

2.3. The sample

In order to establish a multidimensional picture of the issue of job satisfaction, three categories of stakeholders are included for different views to be represented: a) Teachers of English, French, German and Italian language employed in primary and secondary education, including various types of schools across the country. It would be significant to collect data from a large number of primary and secondary education FL teachers in order for the results to be generalized. In primary and secondary schools English, German, French and Italian are taught as FLs by Greek teachers who generally have learned English, German, French and Italian within the Greek educational system, graduated from the Faculties of English, German, French and Italian Language and Literature at Greek universities. It should be noted that there are no differences in teacher education and training between primary and secondary school FL teachers. b) Twenty FL School Advisors (10 English language advisors, 5 French language advisors and 5 German language ones). It is necessary to include a randomly selected sample of advisors in order to gain more meaningful insights into the situation from another perspective and to obtain a complete picture of the issue to be investigated. c) School Directors.

2.4. Methodology and procedure

A combination of the following quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection is employed: questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, non-participant observations, open-ended interviews. The design of the research is made on the basis of the five (5) stages followed for the development of a job related satisfaction evaluation model as well as the design of some basic INSET actions: 1) pilot phase of the research, 2) investigation of the level of job satisfaction and motivation of FL teachers, 3) mapping of FL school advisors' point of views, 4) analysis of the research data, 5) development of a job-related satisfaction evaluation model.

2.4.1. First Stage: Pilot phase of the research

This is the first step of the research design through the pre-record and analysis of FL teachers' needs, motivation, and desires, which form the basis for designing the teacher questionnaire that will be used in the second phase.

Visits are planned to be made to various types of randomly selected schools in order to hold focus group discussions with FL teachers regarding issues related to their satisfaction with the working conditions and teaching efficacy, as well as their professional needs. Also, open-ended interviews are conducted with the school directors on challenges and problems they face in their work. Furthermore, field notes from non-participant observations are carried out by the researchers to explore factors including classroom practice, relationships among the staff of the school, and school working conditions. Field notes are thought to be central to gaining an in-depth understanding of the situation.

2.4.2. Second Stage: Investigation of the level ofjob satisfaction and motivation of FL teachers

A questionnaire, which consists of both open- and closed-type questions (Likert type and nominal type questions, as well as ranking questions) are used for collecting data from the part of the FL teachers. The questionnaire is organised into four basic areas: i) motivational factors, ii) satisfaction with working conditions, iii) satisfaction with teaching efficacy, iv) satisfaction with supervision and in-service provision. After having been in contact with the directors of schools, questionnaires are distributed to FL teachers across the country. In addition, detailed field notes from non-participant observations are carried out by the researchers in 100 schools of all types (50 primary and 50 secondary schools).

2.4.3. Third Stage: mapping FL school advisors' point of views

Semi-structured face to face interviews are planned to be conducted individually with 20 FL advisors in order to obtain ample qualitative data on their views and beliefs and to gain further meaningful insights into the situation from another perspective. The interviews comprise open-ended questions, which are grouped under the following basic sections: a) teachers' motivational factors, b) teachers' satisfaction with working conditions, c) teachers' satisfaction with teaching efficacy, and d) teachers' in-service training needs.

2.4.4. Fourth Stage: Analysis of the research data

A) Data derived from the questionnaires are analyzed by using descriptive statistical methods; frequencies and percentages for all items of the questionnaires are obtained. Moreover, the techniques of Chi-square-test (x2) and t-test and ANOVA are performed in order to identify possible differences in ranking the various items. The open-ended questions of the student questionnaires are qualitatively segmented, coded, examined for patterns and grouped into basic thematic strands and categories/subcategories (content analysis). Then, frequencies and percentages for all categories/subcategories will be obtained and the techniques of Chi-square (x2) and t-test are performed.

B) The interviews and focus group discussions are tape recorded, transcribed and analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively. Concerning the qualitative analysis, the verbal data undergo 'data reduction', involving first and second level coding, which results in a number of codes that are grouped under certain categories (Miles & Huberman, 1994). These codes and categories are then classified into basic thematic strands. Regarding quantitative analysis, frequencies and percentages for all categories/subcategories are obtained. The technique of Chi-square-test (x2) is performed in order to identify differences in FL Advisors' point of views and perceptions in relation to their qualifications and counselling experience.

C) Concerning the analysis of the field notes, basic typologies emerge, so as to classify similar categories and subcategories, giving further meanings and understanding of the content of the field notes (Bailey, 1994).

The problems, difficulties and challenges encountered by the researchers are pointed out and discussed. Moreover, a synthesis of the research activities accomplished by the researchers are made, focusing on understanding the effects of the independent variables under investigation (i.e. gender, further studies, teaching experience, position, type of school, school grade and school area).

2.4.5. Fifth Stage: development of a job related satisfaction evaluation model

At this stage the mandate is to develop an integrative model aiming to account for the joint operation of multiple motivational factors and professional satisfaction variables, concerning FL teachers within the Greek educational system. Moreover, an INSET framework and certain actions will be formulated on the basis of information obtained in relation to FL teachers' needs. These INSET actions will be governed by a number of principles involving the notions of a) relevance of the content and practical arrangements to the various needs of FL teachers as defined by the different school types, school grades and school areas, b) collaboration and negotiation between the teachers and other stakeholders, c) decentralization of INSET actions, d) compensation, e) autonomous learning and f) reflection. Based on the quantitative and qualititative findings accrued from previous research stages, the model will provide for a comprehensive matrix depicting causal interrelations among demographic - as well as personal trait and situational factor - variables, along with motivational and work satisfaction components. Moreover, it could set directions for future research.

Assuming that FL teachers are more efficient in performing their tasks and attaining their work goals when they are highly motivated and experience greater work satisfaction, the model's purpose is to identify parameters serving as predictors of motivation and satisfaction levels in relation to specific contextual variables.

The integrative model could therefore provide for a reference framework to guiding policy reforms and interventions, and to developing effective quality assurance systems with regard to foreign language teaching. The process of building environments that promote FL learning, as well as the successful implementation of policy reforms, heavily depend on the efficiency and sustainable use of resources and on the promotion of evidence-based policy and practices, aiming to enhance teachers' motivations and capacities, as well as to ameliorate work settings and facilitate changes in school and classroom practices.

3. Conclusion

Given the fact that enhanced job satisfaction can be regarded as determinant of FL teaching effectiveness, the process of performing measurements of teacher job satisfaction is a significant task to be undertaken periodically. Teachers' motivation is best viewed as "the process of satisfying internal needs through actions and behaviours" or to put it more simply as a "need-satis^ng process" ( Frunzi & Savini, 1997: 139); therefore, it is essentially linked with the concept of job satisfaction in acknowledgement of the view that the latter essentially involves an understanding of what motivates an individual in order to satisfy his/her needs. Such a link which clearly depicts

and identifies the issue of job satisfaction can ultimately lead to changes in the way the teaching profession is perceived as well as strengthen the image and career of teaching.

It is acknowledged that the mapping of the factors, which affect FL teachers' job satisfaction and motivation, is of great significance, since teachers' views and needs can have a profound impact on their attitudes, work behavior and commitment in teaching. It is also interesting to reveal how FL teachers' expectations and fulfillment from their job differ from individual to individual, from school to school and from context to context. By obtaining a complete picture of the issue of job satisfaction and motivation, certain procedures could be followed to satisfy teachers' needs and help develop more self motivated and higher achieving, higher level FL teachers. As a result, the status can be enhanced not only of its individual practitioner but also of the profession as a whole. Apart from that, ensuring and maintaining a high level of teacher job satisfaction can provide the students with the best possible learning outcomes and education standards.

We believe that this research will establish a multidimensional picture of the issue of FL teachers' job satisfaction employed in the Greek education system and provide complete data base on the area of professional satisfaction of the particular target group, which could serve as a useful corpus of findings for education policy makers. Changing society's attitudes towards the role and purpose of foreign language education is certainly not a task within the realm of responsibility of the Greek EFL teacher; however, changes must also occur at the policy making level (Karavas, 2010).

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