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A strength-based approach to teacher professional development

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Based on positive psychology, self-determination theory and a perspective on teacher quality, this study proposes and examines a strength-based approach to teacher professional development. A mixed method pre-test/post-test design was adopted to study perceived outcomes of the approach for 93 teachers of six primary schools in the Netherlands and the development of their sense of self-efficacy, autonomy, competence and relatedness. Results revealed a statistically significant increase in feelings of autonomy and self-efficacy in coaching others. Taking existing potential of people and institutions as a starting point could be a promising way of (re-)creating flow in teachers and schools.
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Professional Development in Education
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A strength-based approach to teacher
professional development
Rosanne C. Zwart
ab
, Fred A.J. Korthagen
b
& Saskia Attema-
Noordewier
a
a
Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogy, VU University, Amsterdam,
The Netherlands
b
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Utrecht University,
Heidelberglaan 1, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Published online: 18 Jun 2014.
To cite this article: Rosanne C. Zwart, Fred A.J. Korthagen & Saskia Attema-Noordewier (2014):
A strength-based approach to teacher professional development, Professional Development in
Education, DOI: 10.1080/19415257.2014.919341
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2014.919341
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A strength-based approach to teacher professional development
Rosanne C. Zwart
a,b
*, Fred A.J. Korthagen
b
and Saskia Attema-Noordewier
a
a
Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogy, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands;
b
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 1,
Utrecht, The Netherlands
(Received 18 November 2013; accepted 24 April 2014 )
Based on positive psychology, self-determination theory and a perspective on
teacher quality, this study proposes and examines a strength-based approach to
teacher professional development. A mixed method pre-test/post-test design was
adopted to study perceived outcomes of the approach for 93 teachers of six
primary schools in the Netherlands and the development of their sense of self-
efcacy, autonomy, competence and relatedness. Results revealed a statistically
signicant increase in feelings of autonomy and self-efcacy in coaching others.
Taking existing potential of people and institutions as a starting point could be a
promising way of (re-)creating ow in teachers and schools.
Keywords: teacher professional development; teacher motivation; learner
engagement; quality of working life
1. Introduction
Many teachers leave the eld within the rst ve years (Fischer
2011, Helms-Lorenz
et al.
2012). According to Minarik et al.(2003), the rate at which teachers leave the
profession is signicantly higher than the departure rate in other professions (see
also Borman and Dowling
2008, Ingersoll and Perda 2012). One of the concerns of
school policy therefore has to do with retaining effective teachers in schools (OECD
2005). Factors contributing to low retention rates are feelings of stress and burnout
(Philipp and Kunter
2013) due to unsatisfying working conditions, work overload
(de Jonge and de Muijnk
2002), undesirable student behavior (Geving 2007), lack
of support and supervision in the rst years in the profession, frustration with
respect to not achieving ones own teaching standards and lack of administrative
support (de Jonge and de Muijnk
2002, Blase et al. 2008). These problems point
towards a need for studies focusing on factors related to the prevention of burnout
and teacher turnover; for example, through an emphasis on job satisfaction, teacher
efcacy and engagement (Pas et al.
2012).
The latter aspect has recently received much attention in the eld of work and
organizational psychology. Following the more general trend in psychology towards
a focus on strengths and positive emotions (Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi
2000),
characteristic of the approach of positive psychology, scholars in this eld have
become increasingly interested in employees optimal functioning and positive expe-
riences at work (Van den Broeck et al.
2008). Instead of focusing on problematic
*Corresponding author. Email: r.c.zwart@uu.nl
© 2014 International Professional Development Association (IPDA)
Professional Development in Education, 2014
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2014.919341
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and troublesome issues related to work, much more attention is currently being paid
to personal qualities or strengths of people, and to work engagement (Schaufeli and
Dijkstra
2010). Research shows that being attentive to personal and positive aspects
of work is more effective with respect to performance than focusing on the preven-
tion of negative aspects such as stress and burnout (Schaufeli and Van Rhenen
2006). Analyzing positive emotions, traits and institutions, positive psychologists
have focused on identifying situations in which humans thrive and ourish
(Woolfolk Hoy et al.
2008, Seligman 2011). Such an environment is precisely what
most educators would like the classroom to be. A difcult question, however, is
how to organize such environments. How can we create working environments in
which both teachers and students can thrive and ourish, environments in which
teachers are genuinely engaged, in which they believe they can make a difference to
the academic performance of their students, and in which they feel capable of over-
coming difculties and responding to problems with resilience and perseverance?
These questions inspired Korthagen and Vasalos (
2008) to develop a professional
development approach (the Quality from Within [QfW] approach) focusing on
growth, starting from and building on the inner potential of teachers and students.
Following the broaden and build model (Fredrickson
2002), teachers qualities and
inspiration are taken as the starting point for further development. Different from
most innovations, the approach does not aim at a specic outcome in terms of how
teaching should be. The assumption is that if teachers connect with their inner
strengths and inspiration as well as those of their colleagues and students, they may
start to nd their own approaches to effective education. In addition, it is assumed
that connecting to inner strengths increases teachers sense of self-efcacy, a factor
often related to burnout (Fisher
2011, Fernet et al. 2012).
Although the approach has been implemented many times in many different
countries (e.g. the Netherlands, Belgium, the United States) and is often regarded as
very successful (Korthagen et al.
2013), more evidence-based understanding of the
impact on the professional learning of teachers and schools seems needed. The goal
of this study is to systematically explore the impact of the QfW approach in order to
describe a promising professional development program, to provide evidence of the
value of the QfW approach and consequently to provide guidelines for creating
working environments in which teachers can thrive and ourish.
2. Conceptual framework
The development of the QfW approach could be described as an ongoing process of
integrating practice and theory. While working with teachers in schools, it became
apparent that something needed to be done in order for teachers to be able to thrive
and ourish. It was also clear that the traditional professional development programs
did not seem very successful in accomplishing meaningful and sustained teacher
professional growth (see also Holmes
1998,Weiet al. 2009). Reasons for this vary
between dismissing political and organizational aspects of schools (Fullan
2001,Van
Veen et al.
2012), ineffective leadership with top-down approaches and xed goals
creating a feeling of external pressure in the teachers (Korthagen
2007), a focus on
deciency instead of growth and the neglecting of the teacher as an active and col-
laborative participant in designing his or her own professional learning (Van Veen
et al.
2012).
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Related to this is the fact that educational experts and teachers do not really take
each other seriously, and that teachers reject innovations regardless of their potential
benets to their teaching practice (Elliot
1991). As a result, teachers often respond
by showing patterns of ght (active resistance), ight (attempts to escape from the
pressure) or freeze (becoming tensed up). This can lead to emotional exhaustion
(burnout, mental fatigue) and a distancing attitude towards the innovation or ones
own work (cynicism) (Maslach et al.
2001). In order to avoid this, teacher develop-
ment programs need to focus more on ways in which teachers can prevent or cope
with stress, which implies a focus on the underlying psychological mechanisms sup-
porting teacher motivation for (continued) engagement and growth (Chong and
Kong
2012, p. 264). These psychological mechanisms are at the core of the QfW
approach.
The essence of the approach is to make teachers aware of their core qualities and
inspiration, and to support them in enacting these in practice and dealing with the
obstacles hindering them from doing so. The underlying idea is that professional
behavior becomes more effective and fullling when it connects to the qualities and
deeper values within a person, particularly if they are in harmony with other aspects
such as knowledge and beliefs, but also the (work) environment (Korthagen and
Vasalos
2005, Meijer et al. 2009). In a multi-layered model (the onion model;
Korthagen
2004), six such aspects (or levels) are distinguished: environment; behav-
ior; competencies; beliefs; identity; and personal mission (or spirituality). The sixth
level represents personal ideals. Research has shown that the loss of ideals, in other
words a disconnection with this sixth layer in oneself, is characteristic of many cases
of burnout (Edelwich and Brodsky
1980, p. 14, Freudenberger and Richelson 1980).
In Figure
1, questions are formulated to clarify each layer.
Environment
Behavior
Competencies
Beliefs
What do you do?
What are you able to do?
What do you believe in?
What do you believe about yourself ?
How do you see your role?
What do you have to deal with?
Mission
Identity
What is your ideal, your mission?
(What inspires you?)
Core qualities
Figure 1. The onion model (Korthagen 2004).
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The core qualities refer to character strengths that people possess (such as cour-
age, the potential to trust and patience) and that function as a driving force in
peoples thinking, wanting, feeling and acting. In other words, core qualities are con-
sidered a driving force in aligning the inner and outer layers of the model. The
example below illustrates how the six levels and their alignment can play a role in
teaching:
Kim is a teacher in the fth grade (environment). She feels she contributes to the world
by bringing out the best in children (mission). Hence, Kim sees herself (identity) as a
teacher whose main task is to stimulate childrens learning and their growth. Today,
she teaches geography and believes it is important for her students motivation to start
by looking at their own geographical area (belief ). Therefore, she uses her skills to
guide her students in making a map of the route they take from their homes to school
(competencies and behavior). While doing this, she uses her core qualities of inspira-
tion and trust.
This example also demonstrates how alignment between the levels can be
achieved. It is assumed that a harmonious connection between the outer and inner
levels of the model (thus between aspects situated within the person and aspects
related to the external environment) results in an experience of ow, a concept
coined by Csikszentmihalyi (
1990) (Korthagen and Vasalos 2005). Deci and Ryan
(
2000, Ryan and Deci 2002) call this interaction between a person and the environ-
ment a positive organic-dialogical process resulting in a high degree of fulllment
of the three basic human psychological needs, being the need for autonomy, for
competence and for relatedness. Autonomy refers to the need of experiencing the self
as the source of ones own behavior and the need of expressing ones authentic self
(Ryan and Deci
2002). The personal will and the clear decision-making based on
personal values are central to experiencing autonomy (Hodgins et al.
1996). A
recent study on teacher motivation revealed that autonomous types of motivation
toward work activities are negatively related to burnout, whereas controlled types of
motivation positively associate with burnout (Fernet et al.
2008). Competence refers
to feeling effective in personal, ongoing interactions in the social environment. It
implies that humans are born with the need to use their capabilities to inuence their
surroundings (Baumeister and Leary
1995, Ryan and Deci 2002). The concepts of
perceived competence and self-efcacy are theoretically related (Fernet et al.
2012).
Self-efcacy is dened by Bandura (
1997, p. 3) as, beliefs in ones capabilities to
organize and execute the course of action required to produce given attainments.In
recent studies, scholars found that teachers capacity to inuence others (interper-
sonal efcacy) and teachers classroom efcacy are both negatively associated with
burnout (Fernet et al.
2012).
The need for relatedness refers to a longing for positive relations and engage-
ment with others that is, to care and be cared for by others by belonging to a
group or community (Ryan and Deci
2002). If a person responds to the demands of
a situation in such a way that the three basic needs become fullled, this is also per-
sonally fullling.
This means that environment and person become connected in a positive sense.
If the outer layers conict with the inner layers, the result is disharmony (or non-
alignment). This non-alignment or incongruence is often related to experiences of
stress, and if this lasts a long time it may result in burnout (Korthagen
2004).
Essential in the QfW approach is, therefore, the promotion of reection in indi-
viduals on the relation between the various onion layers, in order to increase their
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awareness of their ow or non-ow states. This is called core reection (Korthagen
et al.
2013). Core reection is aimed at:
(1) promoting awareness of ideals and core qualities related to the situation
reected on, in order to strengthen awareness of identity and mission;
(2) identifying internal obstacles to acting out the ideals and core qualities;
(3) promoting awareness of the cognitive, emotional and motivational aspects
embedded in ideals, core qualities and obstacles;
(4) promoting awareness (cognitively and emotionally) of the friction between
aims (1) and (2), and the self-created nature of internal obstacles;
(5) developing trust in the process that comes from within the person;
(6) supporting inner potential within the situation under reection; and
(7) developing autonomy in using core reection.
In sum, essentially, core reection develops an awareness of core qualities and ide-
als, and supports acting on these qualities and ideals as well as overcoming
obstacles.
3. The professional development program
In this study, the implementation of the QfW approach was examined in six primary
schools between June 2008 and June 2009. The teachers learned to use a reection
and coaching method starting with acknowledging their own core qualities and
inspiration and those of their students, and promoting development from there.
Moreover, the teachers reected on their pedagogical views, based on their experi-
ences with this new method. It was assumed that, by using this method, the teachers
would become better facilitators of learning for their students and their colleagues.
An intervention was implemented at each school, in which a combination of princi-
ples was used:
(1) Building on the needs and concerns of the participants. In three one-day
group meetings centered on a pedagogical approach based on the concept of
realistic teacher education (Korthagen et al.
2001), concerns that partici-
pants encountered in their work were taken as the starting point of the learn-
ing process and were addressed according to the principles of core
reection.
(2) Practicing in authentic situations. Teachers practiced the methods of core
reection with their students, in their real work situations. This was partly
coached by the trainers (through coaching on the job in the classroom or by
working with students in the group meetings).
(3) Promoting individual reection. Personal reection by the participants was
constantly encouraged, in order to realize deep learning. This reection was
about several topics; for example, recent situations in the teachers work,
their ideals and beliefs, their core qualities, the obstacles they encountered
and so forth.
(4) Enhancing/promoting transfer. Transfer was enhanced/promoted by encour-
aging participants to continuously apply what they had learned to their
teaching practice, both in their work with their students as well as with each
other. Moreover, participants practiced inter-collegial coaching in pairs, kept
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logbooks for reecting on their experiences, shared them with the trainers
and their colleagues, and read a few Dutch articles on core reection. In
addition, a developmental group was formed, which monitored, guided and
supported the development within the school. The group consisted of two to
ve teachers.
(5) Promoting engagement at the team and school level. Participants were stim-
ulated to reect on and discuss the collective educational identity and mis-
sion of the school as a team. The development of a common language was
essential in this process, a language supporting the teams discussions on the
relationship between theory, vision and practice at the school level, and also
deepening individual reections. Moreover, the participants were stimulated
to make public the learning processes that were taking place; for example,
by organizing an information afternoon for parents, other schools, the educa-
tional inspectorate and so forth. This helped them formulate a sharper deni-
tion of the educational identity of the school, and to critically reect on what
had been achieved and what still had to be achieved.
In sum, what was characteristic for the approach was not just three days of train-
ing but the whole ongoing process, with meetings of the developmental group and
inter-collegial coaching (see also Attema-Noordewier et al.
2012). Finally, in order
to fully realize these characteristics of the approach, it is important to mention that
the trainers were experienced teacher trainers who for several years had been speci-
cally trained in guiding the learning process using core re ection and the pedagogy
of realistic teacher education.
4. Method
4.1. Research questions
Recent empirical studies (Meijer et al.
2009, Hoekstra and Korthagen 2011) suggest
that awareness of the role of the different levels of the onion model and especially
of the alignment between those levels is important for education. These studies
focused on individual teacher learning, which provides a modest proof of concept
and a starting point for further exploration of the process of teacher professional
growth in the context of the QfW approach, which is the focus of this study. The
present study was guided by the following research questions:
(1) What do the participants perceive as the outcomes of the project (for them-
selves, their students and the school as a whole), and how do these outcomes
according to the participants take form in daily practice?
(2) Does their sense of self-efcacy, autonomy, competence or relatedness
increase after having taken part in the QfW project?
Insights from this study may be useful for other schools when designing interven-
tions for professional learning.
4.2. Design of the study
During a period of 17 months, this study monitored six primary schools implement-
ing the QfW approach. A mixed-method design (Johnson and Onwuegbuzie
2004)
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was adopted, which means that both quantitative and qualitative data were combined
to study the outcomes of the program. The method was chosen for reasons of trian-
gulation, complementarity and development (Johnson and Onwuegbuzie,
2004,
p. 22). Quantitative data consisted of a questionnaire on the perception of work, and
qualitative data were collected using reective reports of the participants and
semi-structured interviews.
4.3. Participants
Participants in this study were 93 primary school teachers from six schools located
in six different, small to middle-sized cities (three in the East and three in the middle
of the Netherlands). The schools ranged from small (one school with ve teachers)
to large (30 teachers and two locations). The teachers taught from Kindergarten
through Grade Six. Teaching experience ranged from novices to teachers with 25
years or more of experience. Of all participating teachers (n = 93), only 61 lled out
the questionnaire twice (pre-test and post-test). Hence, the quantitative part of this
study is based on the data of these 61 teachers. With respect to the qualitative data,
they were collected from a subsample of 24 teachers from four schools. The selec-
tion was based on a representative distribution of teachers over categories ranging
from highly to less enthusiastic about the approach.
4.4. Data collection
Table
1 provides an overview of the variables, data collection instruments and num-
ber of participants.
4.4.1. Fulllment of basic psychological needs and self-efcacy in coaching others
To assess the fulllment of teachers needs and their perceived self-efcacy regard-
ing coaching others, a questionnaire on the perception of work was administered
before and immediately after the project. The questionnaire consisted of four sub-
scales: fulllment of the basic psychological need for competence (example item:
Table 1. Overview of the variables, instruments and measurement moments.
Variable Instrument Measurement moment Number of teachers
Fulllment of
basic
psychological
needs
Questionnaire Before and directly after the project
had ended
61
Self-efcacy in
coaching
others
Questionnaire Before and directly after the project
had ended
61
Perceived
learning
outcomes
Semi-
structured
interview
Half-way through the project, directly
after the project had ended and six to
eight months after the project had
ended
24
20
14
Reective
report
Twice during the project (after each
workshop day)
14
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The people at work tell me I am good at what I do); fulllment of the need for
relatedness (example item: I feel I have a bond with my colleagues); fulllment of
the need for autonomy (example item: I feel I can decide for myself how to do my
work); and self-efcacy regarding the principles of coaching central to the QfW
approach. The rst three scales were derived from a study by Evelein (
2005), who
presented evidence of the validity and reliability of these scales. The fourth scale
measures the teachers self-efcacy regarding their own coaching competencies illus-
trating the QfW approach. This scale consisted of 10 items (example: When I coach
other people, I can deal with personal aspects) and the Cronbach alpha was 0.88.
All items were answered on a seven-point Likert scale ranging from (1) not true at
all to (7) very true.
4.4.2. Perceived outcomes of the Quality from Within approach
To obtain more insight into the perceived outcomes of the QfW approach, data were
also collected using reective reports and semi-structured interviews. The teachers
wrote two reective reports during the time span of the project. The reports focused
on perceived learning outcomes and how these would affect the teachers daily prac-
tice. In addition, teachers were asked to write about aspects that supported or hin-
dered their learning. The reports were both written directly after a training day and
emailed to their own colleagues and the trainers.
As for the interviews, a subsample of teachers was selected based on the content
of their reective reports. An analysis of the reports showed that the teachers in the
study represented several categories; namely, teachers who:
A: were positive about the project and seemed to be learning;
B: were not enthusiastic about the project and seemed to be learning little; and
C: did not write a reective report.
Since the interview results should reect all types of teachers, two teachers from
each category were selected randomly. In one school, not one teacher tted category
C. Hence, teachers in that school were chosen from categories A and B. This
resulted in a selection of 24 teachers (category A, n = 12; category B, n = 7; cate-
gory C, n = 5). The teachers not interviewed belonged primarily to category A.
Unfortunately, however, due to job changes, holidays and sickness, only 14 teachers
could be interviewed at all three measurement moments (halfway through the pro-
ject, directly after the project had ended and six to eight months later) (category A,
n = 7; category B, n = 6; category C, n = 1). Statements with respect to the more
longitudinal outcomes of the project are therefore based on data from these 14 teach-
ers. Data from the other teachers were used to provide additional meaning to the
results.
The interviews focused on perceived (learning) outcomes of the project. The part
of the interviews that focused on the outcomes of the QfW approach followed the
onion model. The most important questions of the interview were: what personal
outcomes resulted from your participation; do you notice any changes with respect
to what you know, what you do, what you desire, feel or want for yourself, for your
colleagues or your students; do you notice any changes in the students; and what
aspects of the project inuenced and determined the outcomes?
To gain an insight into what actually happened during the training days and the
coaching-on-the-job experiences, the trainers were asked to ll in an intervention
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report in which they were asked to identify: characteristics of the specic interven-
tion in the school; their opinion about the development of the teachers in the school;
and their opinion about what was essential in the intervention to make this develop-
ment possible. These data provided background information for the interpretation of
the results.
4.5. Data analysis
For the quantitative analysis, a pre-test/post-test design was selected. Respondents
included 61 teachers at six schools (i.e. observations [n = 122], nested within teach-
ers [n = 61], nested within six schools [n = 6]). We included teachers for whom we
had both a pre-test and a post-test score. To assess whether the participants showed
an increase in the fulllment of the three basic psychological needs, and/or an
increase in their perceived capacity to facilitate colleague and student learning, a
multi-factor analysis of variance was computed (Bickel
2007). We were interested in
a xed effect (of time), but also had to take other effects into account (e.g. it was
possible that some teachers or schools performed better than others right from the
beginning, or that teachers within one school were more alike than teachers in other
schools). We therefore tested multiple models and the best t proved to be the model
in which the random intercept was chosen at the teacher level. We discovered a
school effect for the autonomy scale only, although not signicant. The results can
therefore be interpreted as effects of the group of teachers.
The analysis of the interviews followed an inductive approach and was carried
out in eight consecutive steps (Cohen et al.
2010, p. 472). First, pseudonyms were
assigned to the teachers and the schools in order to ensure condentiality. Second,
four interviews were transcribed verbatim (two from category A and two from cate-
gory B) and scanned to generate categories of learning results. Sensitizing concepts
were formulated around the six layers of the multi-level learning model (see Figure
1).
Third, relationships were sought between these categories, and working summaries
were written on the basis of the data. Fourth, more transcripts were added to rene
the scoring categories. Fifth, with the aid of the nal scoring model, one researcher
and two research assistants independently analyzed two additional interviews. The
obtained results were then compared and found to differ in only a few cases, which
were then discussed until agreement was reached (Cohen et al.
2010). Sixth, negative
and discrepant cases were deliberately sought to modify and provide more meaning
to the theory emerging around the outcomes and promoting and hindering aspects of
the QfW approach. Seventh, to be able to enumerate and report on the different cate-
gories, the six levels of the onion model were then condensed into three layers by
combining adjacent levels into one scoring category (i.e. Identity, motives and core
qualities; Insights and beliefs; and Behavior and competencies). The categories of
learning outcomes of the approach were only reported when mentioned by at least
50% of the participants in at least one interview. This was done to increase the
representativeness of all participants in the results. Eighth, and nally, to describe
whether the teachers reported learning outcomes at one level of the condensed onion
model or more, the reports of learning outcomes were coded with a code 1, 2 or 3. As
an example, when a teacher reported that she had become more aware of her own
motives for teaching in a particular way, but did not mention in what way this
increased awareness connected with changed behavior and/or changed beliefs, this
reported outcome was coded 1, meaning a learning outcome at one level only. When,
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on the other hand, the teacher mentioned a subsequent impact of this learning on
changed behavior, this was coded 2; that is, a learning outcome at two levels.
5. Results
In the following sections, we will rst provide an overview of the results from the
quantitative analysis of the questionnaire data. Next, the results of the qualitative
analysis of the interview transcripts will be presented.
5.1. Fulllment of basic psychological needs and self-efcacy in coaching
Analysis of the questionnaire data showed an increase for the whole group of teach-
ers in the scores on the Autonomy and Self-efcacy scales in coaching between the
pre-test and post-test (p < 0.01), a small but statistically signicant effect (R
2
= 0.06
and R
2
= 0.04 respectively) (see Table 2). What this means is that teachers feel an
increase in the experience of ownership of their behavior. They feel that they have
more opportunities to make personal choices, but also feel greater endorsement of
others for those choices. In addition, the teachers perceive themselves as more suc-
cessfully enacting the principles of the QfW approach when coaching students or
colleagues.
With respect to the scores on the Competence and Relatedness scales, we note
that these scores did not signicantly increase at the group level. An explanation
might be that these scores were already relatively high to begin with.
5.2 Self-reported learning outcomes
5.2.1. Individual learning outcomes
Table
3 summarizes teachers perceptions of individual outcomes of the project. Per-
centages show the total of teachers mentioning these outcomes.
With regard to the learning outcomes at the individual level, Table
3 shows that
a perceived increase in coaching skills is mentioned most in the interviews. The
reported outcomes are rather similar for the rst and second measurement moments
and still ring true seven to eight months after the end of the project. An exception is
the category increased awareness of ones own motives, which is reported consid-
erably less in the second interview (directly after the project ended). Furthermore,
one outcome that is remarkably less mentioned three months after the project had
ended is increased awareness of certain coaching skills. One explanation could be
that when teachers have been participating in the project longer, they are not only
Table 2. Means on the pre-test and post-test for the four scales of the questionnaire.
Pre-test Post-test Time
Scale Mean SD Mean SD b SE p
Autonomy 5.11 0.87 5.39 0.71 0.275 0.08 0.001
**
Competence 5.64 0.74 5.75 0.71 0.116 0.08 0.159
Relatedness 5.51 0.71 5.63 0.58 0.117 0.07 0.114
Self-efcacy in coaching 4.74 0.89 4.96 0.78 0.231 0.08 0.006
**
Notes: SD, standard deviation; SE, standard error.
**
p < 0.01.
10 R.C. Zwart et al.
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aware of these coaching skills but are also feeling more competent regarding these
skills, and mention just this latter fact. For example, halfway through the project,
teachers reported things such as, I know now that I can give feedback on core
Table 3. Categories, examples and percentages of reported outcomes at the individual level.
Perceived outcomes Illustrative examples
Interview (%)
1(n = 24) 2 (n = 20) 3 (n = 14)
Increased coaching skills
(regarding coaching of
students and
colleagues): stronger
focus on the emotional
and motivational side
of learning; more
structured coaching
I ask the children more
about how they feel, and
what they think. I have
noticed that the children are
then able to come up with
their own solutions
75 85 79
In conversations with my
student teacher, I ask her to
describe her experiences
and ideas about the
situation instead of telling
her myself what went right,
and what went wrong, and
how she should solve this
Feedback on core
qualities (to students,
colleagues, parents)
I give more and more
conscious feedback on core
qualities
63 55 71
Increased awareness of
certain coaching skills
I became aware of the
difference between giving a
compliment and giving
feedback on core qualities
58 45 29
New and/or renewed
insights into and ideas
about learning
One learns from positive
feedback
75 80 64
It is better to focus on
strengths than on problems
Increased awareness of
ones own motives
I want to contribute to the
well-being of the children
I know better now why I
do what I do
71 30 64
Increased awareness of
ones own professional
identity
I feel there is more
appreciation for me, that
my experience really
matters
54 55 57
Increased awareness of
ones own core
qualities such as
commitment, care,
calmness, enthusiasm,
honesty
I now have tools for
looking completely
differently at myself and a
situation [] I now decide
consciously to get in touch
with quality of care, and to
look at the positive side of
the situation. In this way I
see much more, and I feel a
much lighter kind of
energy
63 70 50
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qualities, but I nd it hard to practice it in the classroom. At the second and third
interviews they reported they were actually doing this more frequently in the class-
room, and therefore it might be that there was no need to report their awareness of
it.
5.2.2. Aligned individual learning outcomes
With respect to the alignment demonstrated in the teacher reports of their learning
outcomes, Table
4 shows that most teachers reported learning at all three levels of
the condensed onion model.
Table 4. Number of levels aligned in the reported learning outcomes.
Alignment of the reported outcomes
Interview (%)
1(n = 24) 2 (n = 20) 3 (n = 14)
Three levels 75 70 58
Two levels 12.5 25 36
One level 12.5 5 7
Table 5. Categories, examples and percentages of reported outcomes regarding others.
Learning outcomes regard-
ing others Illustrative examples
Interview (%)
1(n = 24) 2 (n = 20) 3 (n = 14)
Increased work and
communication skills and
attitude of the students:
better attitude to working
and learning; better group
work; more independent
problem-solving; more
understanding of each
others feelings; giving
more positive feedback to
each other
At days that I use it [core
reection] I notice that the
children are working quite
well and that their attitude
is much better, and their
concentration as well
67 60 71
I believe that this positive
approach will lead to better
learning outcomes, because
if they get this trust they
will also use it
Teachers experience more
openness, safety and a
deeper engagement in
school
The barrier to be open to
each other has really
lowered
75 65 64
We have grown closer
together
Better management and
coaching skills of the
school principal
When I had a problem
and talked to the principal
about it, she immediately
worked it out with me
through core reection.
[] After ve minutes I
was ready and knew how
to solve it. That was nice
50 45 57
The principal is much
more decisive
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When analyzing the data more closely, however, striking differences were found
between enthusiastic teachers and those who were less enthusiastic (categories A
and C, respectively). These differences seem to be related to their attitude towards
learning in general. When the teachers had an open, learning-oriented attitude, they
were more enthusiastic about the project and seemed to learn more from it. Those
who had a less open attitude seemed to close up already at the beginning, although
the positive experiences of colleagues and their enthusiasm almost always started to
inuence these less enthusiastic teachers after a while. Sometimes, however, this
made them more positive on the one hand, but on the other still not very open
towards the possibility that they themselves could learn something. An example was
a teacher who was convinced that, through her many years of experience in commu-
nicating with people in a previous job, the content of the project had little to offer
her.
5.2.3. Learning outcomes regarding others
Table
5 shows the most important perceived outcomes of the project regarding the
students, the team and the school principals, mentioned by more than one-half of the
teachers in at least one interview.
The table demonstrates that, similarly to the individual outcomes, reported out-
comes with respect to others vary little between the three measurements.
6. Conclusion and discussion
The focus of this study was to gain more insight into the processes of teacher pro-
fessional growth in the context of the QfW approach. The essence of the approach
is, rstly, the acknowledgment of the interrelatedness of cognitive, behavioral, emo-
tional and motivational aspects; and secondly, the assumption that professional
behavior becomes more effective and fullling, with respect to the three basic
human psychological needs (Ryan and Deci
2002), when it connects to the deeper
values within a person, particularly if they are in harmony with other aspects within
the person, such as beliefs and competencies, and with the (work) environment.
Although the number of participants was limited, we believe that our study
shows signicant outcomes of the QfW approach. Firstly, with respect to the learn-
ing outcomes, ndings indicate a statistically signicant increase in feelings of
autonomy and self-efcacy in coaching others. Also, increased coaching skills, (re)
new(ed) insights into and ideas about learning and increased awareness of ones core
qualities were reported. In addition, most learning outcomes showed alignment of
two or three levels of the condensed onion model, which means that teachers
reported related changes to occur in more than one domain of what Clarke and
Hollingsworth (
2002) call the teachers world (see also Zwart et al. 2007). The
promotion of such multi-layered changes in individuals is one of the key features of
the QfW approach.
Regarding the increased sense of autonomy, it is interesting that the competence
scale and the relatedness scale did not show signicant effects. An explanation for
this could be that the scores on these scales were already high to begin with.
Another explanation can be found in the fact that the questionnaire measures a gen-
eral feeling of competence and not a specic coaching competence or other compe-
tence directly related to the project. This more specic coaching competence is
Professional Development in Education 13
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measured by the self-efcacy in coaching scale, which did show an increase. A simi-
lar explanation could be applied to the fulllment of the need for relatedness. Future
research should delve more deeply into processes and outcomes related to compe-
tence and relatedness, as basic need satisfaction has been found to relate positively
to vigor and dedication, whereas it has related negatively to emotional exhaustion
(Vansteenkiste et al.
2007). Hence, these psychological needs may play an important
role in teacher turnover and burnout.
As for the increased self-efcacy in coaching, this means that teachers perceive
themselves as more successfully enacting the principles of core reection when
coaching students or colleagues. The qualitative analyses of the interviews show a
similar result, especially when it comes to experiencing the effectiveness of paying
attention to the role of emotions in learning. In almost all examples shown in
Table
3, the teachers express this focus on positive emotions, strengths, positive
experiences or feelings in general as being important aspects of their learning. I feel
that there is more appreciation for me, that my experience really matters and It is
better to focus on strengths than on problems are just two of these examples.
Although a few teachers found this focus on strengths and feelings awkward, and
even the idea of giving attention to feelings and emotions sometimes created resis-
tance in some teachers, the results of this study align with research within other con-
texts showing the surplus value of being attentive to personal and positive aspects of
work (Schaufeli and Van Rhenen
2006). As Cowie puts it:
The evidence from the education eld is that how teachers deal with emotions can
have a great impact on their personal growth, and the kind of emotional support that
they receive from their colleagues and institution can be a major factor in their personal
development as a teacher. (
2011, p. 236)
Similar results are found in recent research on work engagement. Factors explaining
best why some people experience high levels of vigor, dedication and absorption
(i.e. the characteristics of work engagement; see Salanova et al.
2011) and others do
not are shown to be related to daily events such as supportive interaction with col-
leagues, the daily experience of autonomy and positive feedback (Reis et al.
2000,
Fernet et al.
2012). These are precisely the aspects on which the QfW project
focuses.
Lastly, in the interviews factors were mentioned that either promoted or hindered
teacher learning within the context of the project. Important aspects that were found
to promote teacher learning were that the project should be in line with the school
development and culture, and that attention should be paid to the project during the
school weeks. The most often mentioned aspects hindering the outcomes were lack
of time and being busy, which is a structurally recurring limiting aspect in almost all
professional development endeavors. One explanation for this might be that schools
are rst and foremost organized for student learning instead of teacher learning.
Within the daily dynamic of teaching students, time and space for reection are dif-
cult to nd. Optimally attending to teacher learning in schools, requires schools to
take structural and cultural possibilities and constraints for teacher learning in the
entire organization into consideration (Van Veen et al .
2012, p. 23). This seems
highly important considering the fact that most factors related to teacher retention
have to do with school organizational conditions such as unsatisfying working con-
ditions, work overload, lack of support and supervision in the rst years and lack of
administrative support (de Jonge and de Muijnk
2002, Blase et al. 2008).
14 R.C. Zwart et al.
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Finally, did the QfW project contribute to teacher retention? We do not have spe-
cic quantitative data providing evidence that this is indeed the case, but both the
above-mentioned data from the questionnaires and the interviews showed increases
in factors that are known to correlate positively with job satisfaction and teacher
retention and negatively with teacher burnout and loss of ideals. A few quotes from
the interviews may further illustrate these positive effects:
Eliciting inspiration for teaching and naming what goes well and identifying core qual-
ities. [] That helps us get out of the negative spiral.
This is also important for team building. You get to know each other better, and that
creates a better atmosphere.
Things go more smoothly in the team and with the children.
I became a better human being. I feel more valuable, more knowledgeable. I discov-
ered that I can mean something to others, to children.
I developed more self-con dence. You grow as a person.
I can make a difference.
We have to realize, however, that these results were not acquired easily. The
QfW approach is not a simple, straightforward, traditional approach to teacher devel-
opment. It is a combination of various innovative perspectives and strategies (cf.
Section 3), and trainers need an in-depth training to prepare them for using this
approach. The most salient aspect of the QfW approach is that it does not aim at a
specic outcome in terms of teaching competencies, but starts from the existing
potential in the participants and from their ideals. This may in itself represent an
interesting and innovative view of teacher education, a view that is in contrast with
most existing approaches in this eld. Perhaps the time has come to realize that the
problems of teacher turnover and teacher burnout cannot be solved by putting more
emphasis on simple interventions aimed at the development of the right teacher
competencies. We believe that re-creating ow in teachers and schools is rst and
foremost a matter of taking people and institutions seriously, and starting from the
potential that is already present. The QfW project shows that from this ow many
positive effects emerge, also in terms of competencies and even in the students
involved. This means that the main problem of educational change may not lie in
inuencing teachers and schools, but in changing the perspectives and beliefs of
those responsible for choosing the aims of projects for professional development.
Acknowledgements
The authors wish to thank the teachers and students participating in this study for their contri-
butions and Prof. Dr Klaas van Veen for his critical, constructive remarks on earlier versions
of this manuscript.
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... This isolation in combination with the level of responsibility expected from teachers puts a lot of pressure on novice teachers (Ashby et al., 2008). Zwart, Korthagen and Attema-Noordewier (2014) summarise this period as one in which working conditions are hard and support is low, and beginning teachers are frustrated as a result of not being able to achieve their own teaching standards. Because of that, many teachers are prone to choosing the easiest solution: adapting to what experienced colleagues in their schools are doing (Kessels, 2010). ...
... According to Wetzel, De Arment and Reed (2015, p. 546), adaptive expertise can be promoted through "reflection about teaching experiences enabling teacher candidates to critically examine their practice, think about themselves as learners and problem-solvers, and justify their problem-solving processes and decisionmaking." Zwart et al. (2014) promote what they call core reflection, which is aimed at an awareness of core qualities and ideals, and support acting on these qualities and ideals as well as overcoming obstacles. Concluding a review of more than 100 articles on reflection, Marcos et al. (2011, p. 23), state that "the majority of studies view reflection as a process of raising awareness but fail to identify the practical content of the process or the knowledge gained for improving teaching practice," promoting a more thorough approach, grounded in evidencebased or research validated information on what works in reflective practice. ...
... Interestingly, Plato claims that Meno's Paradox, as this is called, can be resolved through recollection, a process not much different from what in modern literature is referred to as core reflection (e.g. Zwart et al. (2014). Buitink (2009, p. 118) refers to this kind of implicit, unintentional learning as the acquisition of a 'mediocre pedagogy' when Underlying principles often remain unaddressed and, if they are addressed, are not always theoretically underpinned. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
This thesis investigates how context serves as a source for teacher learning. The complexities of teaching are growing and so is the need for teacher life long learning. Recent studies suggest that professional learning can be understood as the result of an array of experiences, but only if existing ideas and practices are being challenged through these experiences. If indeed professional learning emerges out of challenge, then it is relevant to take a closer look at teachers' contexts, the kinds of challenges these contexts accommodate , and the ways they are perceived and processed by teachers. Building on the principles of Participatory Action Research, this exploratory study addresses the question of how these processes can be understood: how teacher contexts can work as a source for teacher learning. The participants were teachers who followed a master's programme. In the first study their reflective work was explored to identify which context factors had served as a source for their professional learning. In the second study, these identified factors were used to co-construct a reflective tool to prompt and capture teachers' engagement with context factors. The master's students then had their workplace colleagues engage with the tool and Study 3 explores the data that were generated through this deployment. The results suggest that teachers' contexts can be divided into three domains: a personal practice domain, a social domain, and a theoretical domain, and that confrontations within these domains can be the result of both planned and unplanned events. Teachers appear to have a preference for unplanned learning that emerges from their own personal experiences. The thesis examines the mechanisms behind this, and it explores how teachers might be stimulated to expand the reference points they tap into. The implications of these findings are discussed at macro, meso and micro level.
... Moreover, in interrogating engagement as an essential dimension of continuing professional development, I hope to extend the theoretical work of Deci and Ryan into the domain of teacher learning. Previous empirical work linking SDT and teacher learning has focused on teachers' motivation to participate or not participate in training (Gorozidis and Papaioannou 2014) and on the holistic development of pre-service teachers (Meijer et al. 2009, Zwart et al. 2015, but to date there have been no studies that consider the relationship between selfidentified powerful learning experiences and the satisfaction of basic needs. Specifically, I seek to answer the following research questions: ...
... Korthagen 2004, 2017, Hochberg and Desimone 2010, an inclusion which could in turn encourage research that explicitly accounts for the satisfaction of teachers' basic needs (e.g. Zwart et al. 2015). Janke et al. (2015) noted that attention to teachers' 'need satisfaction' had important implications for their orientation towards continued learning, adding that 'efforts to motivate teachers to engage in professional development will fail when teachers' basic psychological needs are not considered or are even thwarted ' (p. ...
... In so doing, we include teacher self-efficacy (TSE) beliefs as a proxy measure of teacher classroom behaviours upon their completion of a PD program (Caprara et al., 2006;Zwart et al., 2015). Teacher PD programs are claimed to improve teachers' self-efficacy beliefs, thereby improving classroom instruction and student outcomes (Huber et al., 2016), which are among the indicators of TSE beliefs. ...
Article
The use of mandatory professional development (PD) in developing countries is widely criticised due to its limited impact on improving teacher practices. We investigated the relationships between teachers’ perception of mandatory PD and their self-efficacy beliefs with the mediating effect of sources of efficacy information. Structural equation modelling of survey data from 356 primary school teachers revealed that teachers’ perception of mandatory PD does not predict their self-efficacy beliefs. However, when mediated by the sources of their efficacy information, their perception positively predicts their self-efficacy beliefs. These results have extended our understanding of how mandatory PD can effectively influence teacher practices.
... Several different approaches to ECE PD are reflected in the literature: (1) Coaching models (e.g., McLeod, Hardy, & Grifenhagen, 2019;Shannon, Snyder, & McLaughlin, 2015;Snyder, Hemmeter, & Fox, 2015;Zwart, Korthagen, & Attema-Noordewier, 2015). (2) Peer mentoring and/or communities of practice (e.g., Doan, 2013;Jensen & Brandi, 2018;Jensen & Walker, 2021;Kuh, 2012;Morrissey & Nolan, 2015;Nolan, Morrissey, & Dumenden, 2013;Ratner, Bocknek, Miller, Elliott, & Weathington, 2018;Recchia & Puig, 2019;Scanlan & Zisselsberger, 2015;Thornton & Cherrington, 2018;Trust et al., 2018. ...
... When it comes to the studies on strengths-based or enhancement approaches in teacher development, Zwart et al. (2015) in their study focused on making "teachers aware of their core qualities and inspiration, and to support them in enacting these in practice and dealing with the obstacles hindering them from doing so" (p. 3). ...
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Teacher development programs are essential to help teachers excel their pedagogical skills to effectively engage in their teaching-learning activities. If they are designed by taking account of teachers’ local context and their skillset, there is a high chance that such programs can benefit teachers significantly to build their pedagogical knowledge and expertise in their professional development. This volume is an attempt to illustrate the teacher development programs which accentuate the strengths of the teachers to help develop their teaching practice.
... With the advent of the manual typewriter, the role expanded further to include correspondence typing and note-taking and by 1950's, over 1.5 million UK women worked as secretaries and the profession has become female dominated since then. One theory of professional development fitting this context is strength-based as developed by Zwart, Korthagen and Atterma-Noordewier (2014). This theory focuses on the strengths and successes of the individual or the group of individuals for the development the aspired profession. ...
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With regards to the pessimistic and optimistic divides on the future of secretarial profession in Nigeria and anchored on the strength-based theory of professional development, the study constructed a strategic framework using SWOT analysis for the future of secretarial profession in Nigeria. Online survey was conducted on the secretarial educators and practitioners and the data analysed with descriptive and inferential statistics. The results revealed the SWOT construct indicating that the secretarial profession is formidable in curriculum contents, but weak in inclusiveness, state-of-the-art instructional facilities and equipment, adequate human teaching and technical resources and enrolment. In addition, advancement in technology, innovations and professionalisation are some opportunities for sustainable future, although there are threats of interlopers, economic downturn, new technology and government policy. Stakeholders should brace up to mitigating the negative impact of these threats by continuous review of curriculum, provision of the state-of-the-art technology and updated government policy on secretarial professional practice in Nigeria.
... One-sided focus on cognition and rational thinking to find solutions for problems does not suffice and more unpredictable passionate aspects of learning and teaching should be taken into account (Adams et al., 2013;Ruit et al., 2019;Zwart et al., 2015). Giving attention to personal qualities appears to be only a short-term effect (Korthagen, 2014(Korthagen, , 2016(Korthagen, , 2017Korthagen et al., 2013), the supervisor also acquainted the supervisees with inner obstacles inhibiting their strength and hampering core qualities and ideals (Korthagen & Nuijten, 2017). ...
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Forty general English teachers at the university level attended three supervisory sessions. The qualitative data were collected through a triangulation of various techniques, including: pre/post-supervision semi-structured interviews, classroom observation checklists, reflective journals, field notes, and transcriptions of audio-recorded data from supervisory meetings. Thematic analysis was used to identify recurring themes at each layer of the onion model. The Chi-square analysis revealed a significant difference between teachers' attitudes and strategies before and after the supervisory meetings. The results demonstrated that teachers experienced a process of growth with a developmental trajectory from the outer layers to the inner layers of the onion model fostering the core qualities of self-confidence, self-efficacy, self-awareness, and autonomy. Furthermore, the analysis indicated that the supervisor played a significant role in teachers' development by using supervisory strategies such as: empathetic listening and accepting the problems, empowerment by activating core qualities, giving attention to inner obstacles, giving balanced attention to cognition, emotion, and motivation, and help to get autonomy in core reflection. The findings support making deliberate efforts to establish regular supervisory practicum meetings as part of academic professional culture, and the core reflection approach as a valuable strategy.
... According to Wetzel, De Arment and Reed (2015, p. 546), adaptive expertise can be promoted through "reflection about teaching experiences enabling teacher candidates to critically examine their practice, think about themselves as learners and problem-solvers, and justify their problem-solving processes and decisionmaking." Zwart et al. (2014) promote what they call core reflection, which is aimed at an awareness of core qualities and ideals, and support acting on these qualities and ideals as well as overcoming obstacles. Concluding a review of more than 100 articles on reflection, Marcos et al. (2011, p. 23), state that "the majority of studies view reflection as a process of raising awareness but fail to identify the practical content of the process or the knowledge gained for improving teaching practice," promoting a more thorough approach, grounded in evidence-based or research validated information on what works in reflective practice. ...
Conference Paper
This thesis investigates how context serves as a source for teacher learning. The complexities of teaching are growing and so is the need for teacher life long learning. Recent studies suggest that professional learning can be understood as the result of an array of experiences, but only if existing ideas and practices are being challenged through these experiences. If indeed professional learning emerges out of challenge, then it is relevant to take a closer look at teachers’ contexts, the kinds of challenges these contexts accommodate, and the ways they are perceived and processed by teachers. Building on the principles of Participatory Action Research, this exploratory study addresses the question of how these processes can be understood: how teacher contexts can work as a source for teacher learning. The participants were teachers who followed a master’s programme. In the first study their reflective work was explored to identify which context factors had served as a source for their professional learning. In the second study, these identified factors were used to co-construct a reflective tool to prompt and capture teachers’ engagement with context factors. The master’s students then had their workplace colleagues engage with the tool and Study 3 explores the data that were generated through this deployment. The results suggest that teachers’ contexts can be divided into three domains: a personal practice domain, a social domain, and a theoretical domain, and that confrontations within these domains can be the result of both planned and unplanned events. Teachers appear to have a preference for unplanned learning that emerges from their own personal experiences. The thesis examines the mechanisms behind this, and it explores how teachers might be stimulated to expand the reference points they tap into. The implications of these findings are discussed at macro, meso and micro level.
... Jeśli refleksja dotyczy najgłębszych, najbardziej centralnych warstw, nazywana jest refleksją fundamentalną. Podstawą tej refleksji są ideały, cechy fundamentalne i potencjał własny, a sama refleksja ma na celu (Korthagen, 2014): ...
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Zaprezentowany tekst przybliża ważną współczesną koncepcję – „model cebuli” Freda Korthagena. Wskazuje jej ugruntowanie w opracowaniach naukowych oraz adekwatność do dyskusji nad zmianami edukacyjnymi i rozważaniami dotyczącymi profesjonalizmu nauczycieli. Autorka wykorzystuje model również do opisu profilu nauczycieli akademickich, wśród których prowadziła wywiady. W efekcie tych zabiegów ukazuje harmonię pomiędzy warstwami tytułowej „cebuli” i drogę „przepływu” nauczycielskiej „jakości z wnętrza” oraz podkreśla rolę wielopoziomowego kształcenia nauczycieli.
... As proposed by Korthagen [65], a key component of teacher development should be enhancing teachers' ability to recognize their core personal strengths (see [66]), and to draw on them in their everyday educational practice. Research assessing a strengths-based approach to professional learning in teachers has shown that an increased ability to identify their core strengths in their daily work at school helps teachers to feel more autonomous, competent, and effective as professionals [67]. Overall, it seems of great interest to develop a multidimensional approach to teacher development and learning that integrates the professional and personal aspects of teaching (see [65]). ...
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Teachers’ work engagement positively impacts teachers’ attitudes towards their job. Nevertheless, teachers may experience burnout during their career, which negatively impacts their professional learning opportunities. In this study we investigated the relationship between teachers’ levels of burnout, work engagement, and their confidence in in-service training in a sample of Italian teachers. We expected that burnout mediated the relationship between work engagement and teachers’ confidence in training. A total of 481 teachers completed self-report questionnaires about engagement and burnout, with an ad hoc Confidence in Training Index developed to assess their attitudes towards professional development courses. The mediation analysis confirmed that the teachers’ levels of burnout mediated the relationship between their work engagement and their confidence in in-service training. Findings suggest that teacher confidence in policies about professional training should be evaluated by taking into account their level of engagement and burnout.
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This study examined the (1) effects of a supportive program (i.e., induction arrangement) on beginning teachers’ (BTs’) psychological processes after a period of 1 year and (2) psychological paths of influence of the arrangement. Participants (56 Dutch secondary schools with 143 BTs) were randomly allocated to two conditions. Experimental schools provided a carefully developed and implemented induction arrangement to their BTs. Control schools followed their regular (induction) arrangements. BTs perceived stress causes, self-efficacy, and job strain were measured with a pre-test post-test design. Condition effects were examined by means of independent sample t tests. The perception of the provided support was measured, and its psychological path of influence was investigated by conducting standard multiple regression analyses. BTs in the experimental condition indicated that they (1) received more support, (2) experienced fewer stress causes (i.e., lack of learning opportunities and lack of regulating possibilities), and (3) experienced more self-efficacy in the classroom at the end of the school year. Furthermore, fewer BTs left the experimental schools after 1 year. Reducing BTs’ workload and supporting their professional development are the most influential induction arrangement elements provided in this study. Providing carefully developed and implemented induction arrangements may soften the harshness of the context in which BTs operate, by decreasing their perceived stress causes and increasing their level of self-efficacy in the classroom. This, in turn, could positively affect BTs’ decision to stay in the teaching profession and might, therefore, add to a solution to the teacher shortage problem.
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Empirical evidence suggests that successful teacher professional development programs are intensive, ongoing, and connected to practice; focused on specific subject content; and foster strong working relationships among teachers. They support teacher motivation so that the acquired skills continue to be practiced in class. These critical elements are also embedded in collaborative learning structures. Research indicates that these collaborative contexts have an impact on teacher efficacy, an outcome that has been empirically linked to improved student achievement, and teacher adaptability and adjustment. This study used a qualitative lens to examine how lesson study provided the conditions identified in effective collaborative learning structures to support teacher efficacy. It was carried out in 3 subject domains with 10 teachers in a Singapore high school. It further explored the efficacy sources that facilitated the teachers’ collaborative efforts. The authors discuss implications for staff development programs in the light of these findings.
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Using self-determination theory, two studies found that holding an extrinsic, relative to an intrinsic, work value orientation was associated with less positive outcomes (i.e. less satisfaction with, dedication to and vitality while on the job) and more negative outcomes (i.e. higher emotional exhaustion, short-lived satisfaction after successful goal-attainment, and turn-over intention). These relations were not limited to job outcomes, but also emerged using indicators of employees' general mental health. Moreover, income level did not moderate these relations. Study 2 found that holding an extrinsic, relative to an intrinsic, work value orientation was detrimental to employees' job outcomes because these orientations thwarted the satisfaction of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness at work.
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This study examines the stress, burnout, satisfaction, and preventive coping skills of nearly 400 secondary teachers to determine variables contributing to these major factors influencing teachers. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) statistics were conducted that found the burnout levels between new and experienced teachers are significantly different, with novice teachers having higher burnout, but their difference in stress levels was not statistically significant. In three multiple regression tests, stress and burnout were found to be statistically significant predictors of job satisfaction; years of experience, job satisfaction, and burnout were statistically significant predictors of stress; and job satisfaction, preventive coping skills, and stress were statistically significant predictors of burnout.
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After certification, teachers do not often receive systematic support in their learning and hence mainly depend on informal learning opportunities at work. The present study addresses the question of if and how supervision makes a difference to teacher learning. In a longitudinal mixed-method study, the learning of one teacher is documented in a year in which she had no systematic support but had to adjust herself to an educational innovation. The authors also studied this teacher in a consecutive year in which she did receive individual supervision. During supervision, the teacher became aware of beliefs and patterns that had previously inhibited her from change. This awareness precipitated significant changes in her beliefs and classroom behavior as well as the way she learned. The findings suggest that professional learning will take place only if a teacher is supported in learning how to deal effectively with personal factors involved in the learning process.