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School Climate and Social-Emotional Learning: Predicting Teacher Stress, Job Satisfaction, and Teaching Efficacy

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The aims of this study were to investigate whether and how teachers' perceptions of social–emotional learning and climate in their schools influenced three outcome variables—teachers' sense of stress, teaching efficacy, and job satisfaction—and to examine the interrelationships among the three outcome variables. Along with sense of job satisfaction and teaching efficacy, two types of stress (workload and student behavior stress) were examined. The sample included 664 elementary and secondary school teachers from British Columbia and Ontario, Canada. Participants completed an online questionnaire about the teacher outcomes, perceived school climate, and beliefs about social–emotional learning (SEL). Structural equation modeling was used to examine an explanatory model of the variables. Of the 2 SEL beliefs examined, teachers' comfort in implementing SEL had the most powerful impact. Of the 4 school climate factors examined, teachers' perceptions of students' motivation and behavior had the most powerful impact. Both of these variables significantly predicted sense of stress, teaching efficacy, and job satisfaction among the participants. Among the outcome variables, perceived stress related to students' behavior was negatively associated with sense of teaching efficacy. In addition, perceived stress related to workload and sense of teaching efficacy were directly related to sense of job satisfaction. Greater detail about these and other key findings, as well as implications for research and practice, are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 1
Collie, R.J., Shapka, J.D., & Perry, N.E. (2012). School climate and social-emotional learning:
Predicting teacher stress, job satisfaction, and efficacy. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104,
1189-1204. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0029356
This article may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the journal. It is not the
copy of record. The exact copy of record can be accessed via the DOI: 10.1037/a0029356.
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 2
Abstract
The aims of this study were to investigate whether and how teachers’ perceptions of social-
emotional learning and climate in their schools influenced three outcome variables—teachers’
sense of stress, teaching efficacy, and job satisfaction—and to examine the interrelationships
between the three outcome variables. Along with sense of job satisfaction and teaching efficacy,
two types of stress (workload and student behavior stress) were examined. The sample included
664 elementary and secondary school teachers from British Columbia and Ontario, Canada.
Participants completed an online questionnaire about the teacher outcomes, perceived school
climate, and beliefs about social-emotional learning (SEL). Structural equation modeling was
used to examine an explanatory model of the variables. Of the two SEL beliefs examined,
teachers’ comfort in implementing SEL had the most powerful impact. Of the four school
climate factors examined, teachers’ perceptions of students’ motivation and behavior had the
most powerful impact. Both of these variables significantly predicted sense of stress, teaching
efficacy, and job satisfaction among the participants. Amongst the outcome variables, perceived
stress related to students’ behavior was negatively associated with sense of teaching efficacy. In
addition, perceived stress related to workload and sense of teaching efficacy were directly related
to sense of job satisfaction. Greater detail about these and other key findings, as well as
implications for research and practice are discussed.
Keywords: social-emotional learning, school climate, teacher stress, job satisfaction,
teaching efficacy
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 3
Social-Emotional Learning and School Climate: Predicting Teacher Stress,
Job Satisfaction, and Teaching Efficacy
Teachers’ sense of stress, teaching efficacy, and job satisfaction are three areas of
research that have received much attention from researchers and policy-makers over the past few
decades (e.g., Shann, 1998; Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2007; Wilson, 2002). Research
has shown that these variables not only relate to outcomes for teachers, such as motivation
(Barnabé & Burns, 1994), engagement (Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004), and commitment to teaching
(Weiqi, 2007; Weiss, 1999), they also affect students. Teachers’ who experience lower perceived
stress, and greater perceived teaching efficacy and job satisfaction encourage greater
achievement (e.g., Caprara, Barbaranelli, Steca, & Malone, 2006; Ross, 1992) and self-efficacy
(e.g., Ross, Hogaboam-Gray, & Hannay, 2001) among their students.
A revealing way to explore these three variables is via linkages with teachers’
perceptions of school climate. School climate has been shown to be determined by the quality of
relationships between individuals at a school, the teaching and learning that takes place,
collaboration between teachers and administrative staff, and the support present in a particular
school (Cohen, McCabe, Michelli, & Pickeral, 2009). In turn, school climate influences all
members of the school community. In the current study, we chose to focus on teachers’
perceptions of school climate, rather than more objective measures of actual school climate. Our
goal was to understand how teachers’ interpretation of their contextual environment influences
their experience of stress, teaching efficacy, and job satisfaction. According to Turner and
Patrick (2008), attending to participants’ perceptions of contexts is important because individuals
do not all interpret the same context in identical ways. Furthermore, referring to sociocultural
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and social cognitive theories, Perry and Rahim (2011) argued that teachers’ perceptions are
critical for shaping the decisions they make in classrooms.
Ample research has shown that teachers’ perceptions of school climate are a key
predictor of teachers’ sense of stress, teaching efficacy, and job satisfaction (e.g., Borg, 1990;
Butt et al., 2005; De Nobile & McCormick, 2005; Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman, 1959; Hoy
& Woolfolk, 1993; Kim & Loadman, 1994). Despite this, we still do not know how these
experiences interact simultaneously in relation to school climate. Understanding this is necessary
given that emerging research has highlighted important relationships among these three teacher
outcomes, but also because perceptions of school-based variables such as school climate
influence individuals and their experiences of stress, teaching efficacy, and job satisfaction in
different ways. As such, the current study examines how teachers’ perceptions of school climate
operate as determinants of their sense of stress, teaching efficacy, and job satisfaction through an
explanatory model.
Another promising way to examine the three outcome variables is via their relationships
with social-emotional learning (SEL). SEL is an area of the curriculum that is gaining much
interest in recent practice and research. Teaching social and emotional skills alongside or
embedded within the traditional academic curriculum is intended to foster thoughtful, socially
responsible thoughts and actions among students (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor, &
Schellinger, 2011). To date, research on SEL has mainly focused on student outcomes. We argue
that SEL also has potential to influence outcomes for the teachers who are teaching the SEL
(e.g., enhancing teacher and student relationships). Research is beginning to emerge that
examines the impact of SEL on teachers; however, this research has not considered the three
teacher outcomes that we have identified simultaneously. The current study aims to rectify this
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by examining how teachers’ beliefs about SEL operate as determinants of the three outcome
variables. For analyses, structural equation modeling is used to examine the explanatory model
of relationships between these variables.
Literature Review
To fully understand a teacher’s working experiences, several variables need to be
examined that tap into different aspects of their teaching work. As noted above, three such
variables that have received ample attention in the literature, along with evidence of their
significance for both teachers and students, are teachers’ sense of stress, teaching efficacy, and
job satisfaction. This study examined all three together in order to gain a multifaceted
understanding of teachers’ experiences at work.
Work Stress
Teachers’ work stress reflects the experience of unpleasant emotions as a result of
teaching work (Kyriacou, 2001). This is not only highly relevant to teachers, but also to school
administrators and policy-makers, given that the profession of teaching has been labeled as
highly stressful by many researchers (Al-Fudail & Mellar, 2008; De Nobile & McCormick,
2005; Kyriacou, 2000, 2001). In fact, various international studies have shown that up to one-
third of teachers are stressed or extremely stressed (Borg & Riding, 1991; Geving, 2007;
Kyriacou & Sutcliffe, 1979; Thomas, Clark, & Lavery, 2003). In these studies, many different
sources have been cited as causes of teacher stress; however, two types of stress that have
consistently been mentioned in the literature are stress related to students’ behavior and
discipline, and stress related to workload (e.g., Borg & Riding, 1991; Boyle, Borg, Falzon, &
Baglioni, 1995; Chaplain, 2008; Klassen & Chiu, 2010). Indeed, research has shown that these
two types of stress are associated with negative outcomes for teachers including increased
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burnout (McCarthy, Lambert, O’Donnell, & Melendres, 2009) and reduced sense of teaching
efficacy (Klassen & Chiu, 2010), job satisfaction (Klassen & Chiu, 2010), and commitment
(Klassen & Chiu, 2011).
Teaching Efficacy
Sense of teaching efficacy has been defined as a teacher’s “judgment of his or her
capabilities to bring about desired outcomes of student engagement and learning, even among
those students who may be difficult or unmotivated” (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001,
p. 783).Three factors of teaching efficacy that have been regularly examined in the literature
include efficacy for student engagement, which refers to confidence in the ability to promote
student motivation, understanding, and the valuing of learning; efficacy for classroom
management, which refers to confidence in the ability to control disruptive behavior and have
students follow classroom rules; and efficacy for instructional strategies, which refers to
confidence in the ability to use effective strategies for teaching (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk
Hoy, 2001).
The sense of teaching efficacy construct has been linked with important outcomes for
teachers, including the use of effective teaching strategies (Guskey, 1988; Ross, 1994; Woolfolk
Hoy & Spero, 2005), better classroom management (Tsouloupas, Carson, Matthews, Grawitch,
& Barber, 2010), and greater teacher well-being (Egyed & Short, 2006; Smylie, 1988;
Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001). In addition, Klassen and Chiu (2010) found that
teachers’ experience of stress was an important contributor to their sense of teaching efficacy.
Job Satisfaction
Job satisfaction refers to a sense of fulfillment, gratification, and satisfaction from
working in an occupation (Locke, 1969). More specifically, it refers to the degree to which an
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individual feels that their job-related needs are being met (Evans, 1997). Teachers’ sense of job
satisfaction has been associated with their motivation (Barnabé & Burns, 1994), well-being
(Vansteenkiste et al., 2007), and commitment to teaching (Feather & Rauter, 2004). Because
teachers form the greatest cost and human capital resource of a school (Perie & Baker, 1997),
improving teachers’ sense of job satisfaction can help to reduce costs associated with high levels
of teacher stress that include teacher absenteeism and teacher illness (Billingsley & Cross, 1992).
Ample research has shown that teachers are generally satisfied with the aspects of their
job that relate to their teaching work (e.g., work tasks, professional growth), but dissatisfied with
the aspects that surround the doing of their job (e.g., working conditions, interpersonal relations,
salary; Butt et al., 2005; Crossman & Harris, 2006; Dinham & Scott, 1998; Kim & Loadman,
1994). In addition, Caprara and colleagues (Caprara, Barbaranelli, Borgogni, & Steca, 2003;
Caprara et al., 2006) found that teaching efficacy was a determinant of teachers’ job satisfaction
and Klassen and Chiu (2010) found that both stress and teaching efficacy contributed to job
satisfaction.
School Climate and Social-Emotional Learning
As described above, the current study is focused on exploring how teachers’ perceptions
of school climate and SEL are related to their experiences of stress, teaching efficacy, and job
satisfaction. Given the powerful impact of stress, teaching efficacy and job satisfaction on
teachers’ motivation, effectiveness, and well-being, it is imperative to understand how their
perceptions of school and classroom factors influence these variables.
School climate. School climate has been a topic of research for many decades. Over this
time, the construct has been referred to as the esprit de corps (Perry, 1908), the heart and soul
(Freiberg, 1999), and the atmosphere, culture, resources, and social networks of a school (Loukas
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& Murphy, 2007). In the current study, school climate is viewed as the quality and character of a
school (Cohen et al., 2009). The century-long interest in this area stems from the fact that school
climate is a powerful characteristic that can foster resilience or become a risk factor for students,
teachers, administrators, parents, and other members of the school community (Freiberg & Stein,
1999). Perceptions of school climate have been associated with burnout (Grayson & Alvarez,
2008) and work commitment (Collie, Shapka, & Perry, 2011) among teachers, as well as
achievement (e.g., Brookover et al., 1978; MacNeil, Prater, & Busch, 2009) and school
connectedness (Loukas, Suzuki, & Horton, 2006) among students.
In a review of school climate literature, Cohen, McCabe, Michelli, and Pickeral (2009)
established that there are four dimensions of school climate: physical and social-emotional
safety, quality of teaching and learning, relationships and collaboration, and the structural
environment. According to school climate theories (e.g., Moos, 1979; Tagiuri, 1968), these
dimensions shape school climate. In turn, school climate influences the experiences of
individuals within that system (Cohen et al., 2009). For example, research has shown that
teachers’ perceptions of school climate are an important contributor to their sense of stress
(Borg, 1990; Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2009), teaching efficacy (Hoy & Woolfolk, 1993; Pas,
Bradshaw, & Hershfeldt, 2012), and job satisfaction (Taylor & Tashakkori, 1995).
As the literature above shows, school climate is a powerful determinant of teacher and
student outcomes. Decades’ worth of research supports the importance of a positive school
climate for both students and teachers. However, given that previous research has examined the
impact of school climate perceptions on teacher outcomes separately, the current study will
extend the literature by examining the outcomes together. Examining the outcomes concurrently
to see how school climate influences them as they themselves interact is necessary given that
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emerging work has shown that stress influences both teaching efficacy and job satisfaction, and
that teaching efficacy, in turn, influences job satisfaction (e.g., Klassen & Chiu, 2010). In other
words, rather than existing in isolation, these outcomes interact with one another. Furthermore,
understanding how perceptions of school climate influence these outcome variables is important
for teachers, but also for students who are inevitably impacted by their teachers’ work
experiences (e.g., Pakarinen et al., 2010). The current study will, therefore, investigate how
teachers’ perceptions of their school climate influence the three outcomes examined together in
an explanatory model.
Social-emotional learning. The focus of SEL is on nurturing the social and emotional
awareness and skills of students (CASEL, 2003; Payton et al., 2008) including the ability to
“recognize and manage their emotions; set and achieve positive goals; demonstrate caring and
concern for others; establish and maintain positive relationships; make responsible decisions; and
handle interpersonal situations effectively” (Payton et al., 2008, p. 6). Practice and research
involving SEL has grown substantially in the past decade in response to educators, policy-
makers, and the public who have argued that schools should be teaching students more than just
academic skills (Durlak et al., 2011). It has been argued that schools should also teach skills that
encompass social, emotional, and ethical behaviors (e.g., Learning First Alliance, 2001).
Research has linked a number of positive student outcomes to SEL, including increases in
happiness (Weare, 2000), self-efficacy beliefs (Zins & Elias, 2007), academic performance
(Durlak et al., 2011; Zins, Bloodworth, Weissberg, & Walberg, 2007), and positive social
behavior (Durlak et al., 2011).
Although the majority of research on SEL has involved students, emerging research is
revealing that SEL is also associated with teacher outcomes. For example, research has shown
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that teachers’ SEL practices are negatively associated with their burnout (Ransford, Greenberg,
Domitrovich, Small, & Jacobson, 2009), their SEL beliefs are positively associated with their
commitment to the profession (Collie et al., 2011), and their SEL skills are negatively associated
with burnout and positively associated with job satisfaction (Brackett, Palomera, Mojsa-Kaja,
Reyes, & Salovey, 2010). We argue that this is because SEL influences teachers’ experiences at
school and in classrooms in ways that are not dissimilar to school climate (e.g., SEL not only
impacts relationships between teachers and students, but also between teachers). This
interpretation is supported by Jennings and Greenberg’s (2009) model of the prosocial
classroom. In the model, school and contextual factors influence teachers’ social-emotional
competence and well-being. We argue that teachers’ beliefs about SEL also influence their
social-emotional competence and well-being―for instance, if a teacher does not believe they are
competent in teaching SEL, then this will impact their ability to teach SEL. Therefore, we
examined how teachers’ beliefs about SEL impact their experiences of stress, teaching efficacy,
and job satisfaction as part of the explanatory model.
Current Study
Although emerging research is investigating how teacher outcomes such as sense of
stress, teaching efficacy, and job satisfaction are related, these have not taken into account
teachers’ perceptions of school climate and SEL. As noted above, these two school-based factors
impact many of the issues that relate to the three teacher outcomes. The aim of the current study,
therefore, is to propose and test an explanatory model of teachers’ perceptions of these
contextual variables and their sense of the three outcomes. This model is shown in Figure 1.
Perceptions of school climate and SEL are shown as influencing the outcome variables. In
addition, the outcome variables are shown to have differing relationships with one another. The
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design of our study does not allow for causal claims about the relationships tested. However, we
decided the direction of the relationships in our analyses a priori based on previous research and
theorizing. For example, Wolpin, Burke, and Greenglass (1991) conducted longitudinal research
to show that teachers’ emotional exhaustion was causally prior to teachers’ job satisfaction.
Given that emotional exhaustion is considered the stress dimension of burnout (i.e., it reflects
individual stress; Maslach, Scaufeli, & Leiter, 2001), we chose to use this conceptualization in
the current study (i.e., with stress as a predictor of job satisfaction).
The two research questions addressed in the study are as follows: How do teachers’
perceptions of school climate and SEL relate to their experiences of stress, teaching efficacy, and
job satisfaction? And how do these three outcome variables interrelate and affect one another?
As explained above, the first research question enables us to examine the outcomes in relation to
two school-based variables, which has not been done before. The second research question
enables us to corroborate previous research about relationships among these variables. It also
allows us to extend previous research by examining interrelationships among outcomes while
taking into account the influence of school-based variables. Based on our review of research, we
hypothesized that the school-based variables would impact the three outcomes variables (e.g.,
Borg, 1990; Crossman & Harris, 2006; Hoy & Woolfolk, 1993; Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2009), and
that stress would impact teaching efficacy and job satisfaction (e.g., Klassen & Chui, 2010;
Wolpin et al., 1991). In addition, we hypothesized that teaching efficacy would impact job
satisfaction (e.g., Caprara et al., 2003).
Methods
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Sample
Participants were recruited from 17 different school districts in suburban, rural, and
remote areas of British Columbia and Ontario, Canada. Although SEL is increasingly being
promoted across Canada, these two provinces were chosen because they are the only two
provinces that include the promotion of SEL in their educational mandates, thus providing a
potentially richer variety of SEL experiences. There were 664 participants in total (80% female)
and 54% were from British Columbia (BC). The average years experience for participants was
16.25 years (SD = 9.32). The average age for female participants was 43.78 years (SD = 9.52),
and 46.26 years (SD = 9.55) for males. The majority of participants worked at the elementary
level (74%; the remainder taught at the secondary level) and were classroom teachers (77%).
Some teachers also had other positions in the school as part of their workload. Other positions
included working as support teachers (e.g., resource teachers, special education teachers, or
counselors, 16%), teacher librarians (5%), administrators (i.e., principals, etc., 1%), and
substitute teachers (1%). All participants were teachers, or undertook teaching roles in addition
to their other positions, and are, therefore, classified as teachers in the results.
With respect to school setting, 40% of the participants worked within 50kms of a regional
city (i.e., a city with less than one million inhabitants), 30% worked within 50kms of a major city
(i.e., a city with greater than one million inhabitants), 21% worked within 51 and 200kms of a
regional or major city, and 9% worked over 200kms from a regional or major city. For the
current study, data were collected during the 2009/2010 school year, beginning in October 2009
and ending in March 2010.
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Procedures
Superintendents of school boards and presidents of local teachers’ unions in British
Columbia and Ontario were emailed preliminary details of the study. Seven school districts and
the ten teachers’ unions agreed to participate, which enabled us to collect data from teachers
working in a variety of school settings and locations including suburban, rural, and remote areas.
Teachers in these 17 districts were emailed details of the study along with a URL to the online
questionnaire either via principals, union staff representatives, union presidents, or a district
administrator (e.g., a district research coordinator). Teachers were given three weeks to complete
the survey and they were emailed a reminder after two weeks.
Although it was not possible to obtain accurate response rates due to the nature of the
recruitment procedures for the study (i.e., it is impossible to know the extent to which principals
and union representatives forwarded the email invitation to teachers and how many teachers
actually accessed the study’s invitation email), the sample for this study is remarkably similar in
terms of demographics to the population from which it was drawn. For example, in British
Columbia (BC), the teaching population is 72% female, with an average age of 44 years for
females and 45 years for males, and an average of 13.2 years experience (Ministry of Education,
2009). In Ontario (ON), this population is 73% female, with an average age of 42 years for
females and 44 years for males (other statistics for Ontarian teachers were not available; Ontario
College of Teachers, 2008a, 2008b). Further sample demographics were not collected as part of
the study; however, we are able to compare the global population statistics from the participating
school districts to the provincial averages. This is shown in Table 1.
These data, which have been successfully utilized to compare the characteristics of an
online sample with the population from which it was drawn (e.g., Mertler, 2002), make us fairly
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confident that we have a demographically representative sample. Furthermore, Mertler (2003)
administered a questionnaire in a paper format and an online format to two groups of teachers
and found that there were no significant differences in the responses between the two groups.
Finally, the fact that the average scores in this study are comparable to those found in other
studies using the same measures also gives us confidence that our findings are representative.
For example, Klassen et al. (2009) collected data on teachers in five different countries and
reported teaching efficacy levels that were comparable to those found in the current work—
efficacy for student engagement across the five studies corresponded to means ranging from 6.25
to 7.12 out of 9. The mean in the current study falls within that range (i.e., 6.72; see Table 2.)
Similarities also exist for teachers’ sense of job satisfaction (Crossman & Harris, 2005), stress
(Griffiths, 1999), and school climate (Curry, 2009).
Measures
We used or adapted previously published measures to assess the two context variables
and three teacher outcome variables. These scales are described below. From these scales, we
created composites by taking the mean score of all the items in the subscale for that measure.
Table 2 shows the reliability indexes, means, standard deviations, and ranges for the outcome
and predictor variables.
Outcome variables.
Stress. Nine items from the Teacher Stress Inventory (TSI, Boyle et al., 1995) were used
to measure two types of teacher stress: stress related to students’ behavior and discipline (e.g.,
“How great a source of stress is maintaining class discipline?”), and stress related to workload
(e.g., “How great a source of stress is administrative work [e.g. filling in forms]?”). These items
ask participants to rate the level of stress they experience carrying out different teaching tasks
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using a Likert-type scale ranging from no stress (0) to extreme stress (4). These items have
shown evidence of validity and adequate reliability in previous work (e.g., Boyle et al., 1995;
Klassen & Chiu, 2011).
Teaching efficacy. The Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (Tschannen-Moran &
Woolfolk Hoy, 2001) was used to measure teaching efficacy. This scale includes 12 items that
measure three factors of teaching efficacy: efficacy for student engagement (e.g., “How much
can you do to motivate students who show low interest in school work?”), classroom
management (e.g., “How much can you do to control disruptive behavior in the classroom?”),
and instructional strategies (e.g., “To what extent can you use a variety of assessment
strategies?”). After conducting factor analyses, we combined the three efficacy subscales into a
second-order factor of overall teaching efficacy as the subscales correlated highly with one
another. Further details of this are below. Participants responded on a 9-point continuum ranging
from nothing (1) to a great deal (9). This scale has been administered to variety of teacher
samples in different contexts and has shown evidence of validity and adequate reliability (e.g.,
Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001; Klassen et al., 2009).
Job satisfaction. Four items from the Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS, Spector, 1997) were
used to measure teachers’ perceived satisfaction with the nature of teaching work. The items
(e.g., “I feel a sense of pride in doing my job”) ask participants to rate their opinion of the nature
of teaching work on a Likert-type scale that ranges from disagree very much (1) to agree very
much (6). Spector (1997) found acceptable levels of reliability and provided evidence of validity
for the scale.
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Predictor variables
School climate. Perceptions of school climate were measured using items taken from the
Revised School Level Environment Questionnaire (R-SLEQ, B. Johnson, Stevens, & Zvoch,
2007). In total, 17 items were used to examine teachers’ perceptions of four factors of school
climate: collaboration, which refers to the working relationships between teachers at the school
(e.g., “There is good communication among teachers”); student relations, which refers to teacher
perceptions of students’ behavior and motivation (e.g., “Most students are helpful and
cooperative with teachers”); school resources, which refers to the availability of appropriate
materials and equipment (e.g., “The school library has sufficient resources and materials”); and
decision making, which refers to the level of input that teachers have in decision making at the
school (e.g., “Teachers are frequently asked to participate in decisions”). These four factors of
school climate are referred to in Cohen and colleagues’ (2009) four dimensions of school
climate. Teachers responded to the statements on a scale ranging from strongly disagree (1) to
strongly agree (5). This instrument was chosen because along with adequate reliability, B.
Johnson et al., provided evidence for the validity of its inferences at both elementary and
secondary school levels.
SEL. The Teacher SEL Beliefs Scale (Brackett, et al., 2011) measures three beliefs about
SEL: comfort, which refers to how comfortable a teacher is in implementing SEL (e.g., “I am
comfortable providing instruction on social and emotional skills to my students”); culture, which
refers to a teachers’ perception of the support and promotion of SEL in their school; and
commitment, which refers to a teacher’s commitment to improving his/her skills in SEL (e.g., “I
want to improve my ability to teach social and emotional skills to students”). After conducting
factor analyses, we excluded the SEL culture variable from the model as it was deemed too
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similar to school climate. Further details of this are below. Each belief includes four items and
teachers responded to the items on a Likert-type scale ranging from strongly disagree (1) to
strongly agree (5). Brackett, Reyes, Rivers, Elbertson, and Salovey (2011) found acceptable
levels of reliability and provided evidence of validity for the scale.
Data Analysis
The factor structure of the questionnaire items was tested using exploratory factor
analyses (EFA) on half the dataset. This was followed by confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) on
the remaining half of the dataset. Finally, the relationship between all factors were examined
simultaneously with structural equation models (SEM). All analyses were conducted using
Mplus Version 6.12 (Muthén & Muthén, 1998-2011). Based on Hu and Bentler’s (1999) work,
we used the following fit indices and guidelines for model fit. RMSEA values of less than .10
were considered evidence of adequate fit and values less than .06 were considered evidence of a
good fit. CFI values greater than .90 were considered evidence of adequate fit, and values greater
than .95 were considered evidence of good fit. SRMR values of less than .10 were considered
evidence of adequate fit, and values of less than .08 was considered evidence of good fit. The
chi-square model fit test is also reported. There was very little missing data for this study,
ranging from 0.3-6.9% for all the variables. However, to increase power for the predictor
variables, multiple imputation was conducted for missing values using Bayesian estimation
through Mplus. For the outcome variables, methods robust to missing data were utilized for data
analysis (i.e., no missing values were deleted).
Results
Teachers are organized within schools, which means that the data collected in this study
are hierarchical in nature. In other words, teachers are nested within their schools such that
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teachers at the same school will tend to be more similar than teachers from other schools. To
address the nested nature of the data, we originally attempted to conduct multilevel modeling;
however, the model at the between school level did not fit the data due to little variance at this
level. This was likely due to the fact that 48% of participants were the only participant from their
school (there were 126 schools involved in the study, the number of participants at each school
ranged from 1 to 12). Instead, following the recommendations of Asparouhov and Muthén
(2005), and Muthén and Muthén (1998-2011), we used robust (sandwich estimator) standard
errors and a robust chi-square test with single-level models to account for the hierarchical data.
This method reduces the chance of inflation of the parameter estimates, which can occur when
the hierarchical nature of data is not taken into account. The robust methods were used for factor
analyses and the structural equation modeling by using the “TYPE=COMPLEX” option in
Mplus along with the school as the cluster variable.
Factor Analyses
Data from the measures were subjected to several EFAs. The EFAs were conducted with
a randomly selected half of the dataset. We performed factor analysis with robust weighted least
squares and geomin oblique rotation. All items that showed low loadings or loaded in ways that
did not make theoretical sense were excluded leaving between three and four items per construct
(see Table A1 for the items that were used and their factor loadings). In addition, we chose to
exclude the SEL culture variable because it was highly correlated with one of the school climate
variables, decision making (r = .70), suggesting that it did not tap into a sufficiently distinct
construct. Fit indexes for the final EFA showed the following: χ2 (313, N = 297) = 375.571, p =
.009, RMSEA = .026, CFI = .99, and SRMR = .018. These indices suggest good fit.
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 19
Following the EFA, CFA was conducted on the other half of the dataset to examine all
the items in one model. Latent variable correlations were examined and high correlations among
the three efficacy subscales were observed (ranging from r = .66 to .85), suggesting that these
three subscales would be better combined into one higher-order factor of overall teaching
efficacy. Using this second-order factor for efficacy, CFA was conducted once again. Fit indexes
revealed good fit of the confirmatory measurement model: χ2 (617, N = 289) = 859.020, p < .001,
RMSEA = .037, and CFI = .97 (SRMR was not available for this estimation method). The latent
variable correlations among the factors using the whole dataset are shown in Table 3 and provide
evidence that the factors are distinct constructs.
Structural Modeling
The relationships between the variables in Figure 1 were analyzed with SEM on the full
dataset. Non-significant paths with the lowest standardized coefficients were deleted one at a
time until only significant paths remained in the model. The final model is shown in Figure 2.
All of the path coefficients are statistically significant at p < .05. Standardized direct, total
indirect, and total effects are shown in Table 4, along with the amount of variance explained by
the model in the outcome variables. Fit indices suggested good fit: χ2 (628, N = 586) = 1183.809,
p < .001, RMSEA = .039, and CFI = .97 (SRMR was not available for this estimation method).
Student behavior stress. The model explained 32% of the variance in stress related to
students’ behavior and discipline. Participants’ perceptions of the level of collaboration among
teachers at their school (β =.30, p < .001), students’ behavior and motivation (β = -.29, p < .001),
availability of school resources (β = -.18, p = .012), input in decision making (β = -.19, p = .001),
along with their comfort in implementing SEL (β = -.21, p < .001) and commitment to improving
SEL skills (β = .23, p < .001) were reliably related to their sense of student behavior stress.
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 20
Perceptions of students’ behavior and motivation, availability of school resources, input in
decision making, and comfort in implementing SEL were negatively associated with student
behavior stress; however, perceptions of collaboration levels, as well as commitment to
improving SEL skills were positively associated with stress—as these perceptions increased, so
did levels of stress associated with students’ behavior and discipline.
Workload stress. The model explained 45% of the variance in workload stress. Of the
predictor variables, participants’ perceptions of the level of collaboration among teachers at their
school (β = .35, p < .001), access to and adequate amounts of school resources (β = -.18, p =
.008), input in decision making (β = -.67, p < .001), along with their commitment to improving
their skills in SEL (β = .24, p < .001) were linked to their sense of workload stress. Specifically,
as teachers perceived they had greater input in decision making and adequate school resources,
they expressed decreasing amounts of workload stress. In contrast, perceptions of collaboration
levels, as well as commitment to improving SEL skills were positively associated with workload
stress.
Teaching efficacy. The model explained 38% of the variance in teaching efficacy.
Participants’ perceptions of the level of collaboration among teachers at their school (β = .09, p =
.047), students’ behavior and motivation (β = .13, p = .013), and comfort in implementing SEL
(β = .34, p < .001) were all positively associated with perceived teaching efficacy. Among the
outcomes, teachers who experienced greater stress related to students’ behavior and discipline
reported lower perceived teaching efficacy (β = -.32, p < .001), whereas workload stress was not
related to teaching efficacy.
Job satisfaction. The model explained 46% of the variance in job satisfaction. Of the
predictor variables, teachers’ perceptions of students’ behavior and motivation (β = .17, p =
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 21
.001), their comfort in implementing SEL (β = .18, p < .001), and their commitment to
improving SEL skills (β = .11, p = .025) were positively associated with job satisfaction. Among
the outcomes, workload stress was negatively associated with job satisfaction (β = -.32, p <
.001), whereas teaching efficacy was positively associated with job satisfaction (β = .33, p <
.001).
Alternative model. An alternative model was run where the relationships between school
climate, SEL, teaching efficacy, and job satisfaction were fully mediated by the two types of
stress. The justification for attempting this model was one of parsimony, but also the possibility
that teachers’ experiences of efficacy and job satisfaction are related to school climate and SEL
through their experiences of stress. If there was no significant difference in fit between this
model and the final model described above, then this alternative model would have been kept on
the grounds of parsimony. However, the chi-square difference test was statistically significant,
indicating the model described above fit the data significantly better than the alternative model,
χ2 (9) = 170.061, p < .001. It appears that teachers’ experiences of the three outcomes are
impacted not only indirectly, but also directly, by perceptions of school climate and SEL.
Discussion
In the current study, we investigated the relations among teachers’ perceptions of school
climate and SEL, and their sense of stress, teaching efficacy, and job satisfaction. After
confirming the factor pattern, SEM was conducted to answer our two research questions: a) How
are teachers’ perceptions of school climate and SEL related to their sense of stress, teaching
efficacy, and job satisfaction? and b) How are teachers’ sense of stress, teaching efficacy, and
job satisfaction interrelated?
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 22
Research Question One: School Climate and SEL
For the first research question, the SEM model indicated teachers’ perceptions of school
climate and SEL had positive and negative influences on the three outcome variables (see Figure
2). This finding emphasizes that teachers are not isolated individuals separate from their
environment, and also that their perceptions of this environment are highly important. Teachers
are impacted by their perceptions of their working context and this influences their well-being
and motivation. Several key findings from the first research question are discussed below.
Comfort with SEL and commitment to improving SEL. One of the most powerful
school-based predictor variables in the model was a teachers’ comfort in implementing SEL. It
was negatively associated with stress related to students’ behavior and discipline, and positively
associated with teaching efficacy and job satisfaction. These findings are supported by Jennings
and Greenberg’s (2009) model, which states that a teachers’ social-emotional competence is
important for four classroom characteristics: healthy teacher-student relationships, effective
classroom management, a healthy classroom environment, and effective SEL implementation. In
the current study, it is possible that teachers who are comfortable implementing SEL in their
classroom also have higher social-emotional competence—that is, they are comfortable teaching
SEL because they are comfortable with their own social-emotional abilities and understanding.
Referring back to Jennings and Greenberg, these teachers may then experience more positive
forms of the four classroom characteristics, which may help them to experience lower stress,
greater teaching efficacy, and greater job satisfaction. For example, healthy classroom climates
are important for effective teaching and learning experiences (e.g., Buyse, Verschueren,
Verachtert, & Van Damme, 2009), which, in turn, may promote lower stress, greater teaching
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 23
efficacy, and greater job satisfaction because students are on-task and there are fewer behavioral
issues.
In contrast to findings concerning comfort in implementing SEL, higher commitment to
improving SEL skills had mixed results. It was positively associated with stress related to
students’ behavior and workload; however, it was also positively related to job satisfaction. For
stress, it is possible that the desire to improve skills may be associated with a reduced sense of
teaching efficacy in relation to SEL—if teachers are committed to improving their SEL skills,
they may feel that they currently lack these skills. Given that sense of teaching efficacy has been
negatively associated with stress (e.g., Klassen & Chiu, 2011; Schwarzer & Hallum, 2008), then
it makes sense that these teachers could report higher stress. This stress may be further
exacerbated if the teacher values SEL highly (i.e., they ‘buy-in’ to the teaching of SEL). In
addition, the increasing focus that is being placed on SEL and the growing call for SEL by
parents, the government, and the media (Durlak et al., 2011) may increase the pressure on
teachers to implement SEL effectively and stress among teachers who do not feel that they have
the appropriate SEL skills. A third possible explanation is that the desire to improve one’s skills
may increase the sense of ‘yet another task to do’, which can increase the sense of workload
pressure and related stress.
Regarding job satisfaction, it is possible that a desire to improve skills in SEL is
associated with a sense of professional growth, which has been cited as a key source of job
satisfaction for teachers (Crossman & Harris, 2006; Dinham & Scott, 1998). This may be
because professional growth allows teachers to feel a sense of autonomy over their work and/or a
more internal locus of control, which are both important for job satisfaction (e.g., Judge & Bono,
2001; Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2009). Professional growth may also allow teachers to feel a sense of
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 24
accomplishment, which has also been associated with job satisfaction (Kinman, Wray, &
Strange, 2011). As a result, it is possible that commitment to improving SEL skills relates to
greater stress, but also greater job satisfaction at the same time because it links with both positive
and negative issues related to teachers’ professional development (e.g., extra workload and
expectations vs. greater sense of autonomy, accomplishment, and an internal locus of control).
These findings are important for policy makers and educators, and add to the literature by
indicating that SEL has an important impact not only on students, but also on teachers. Rather
than focusing primarily on the impact of SEL on students, more focus should be placed on how it
affects teachers. After all, the SEL variables influenced the teacher outcomes of stress, teaching
efficacy, and job satisfaction, which are related to important student outcomes including
motivation (e.g., Pakarinen et al., 2010) and achievement (e.g., Caprara et al., 2006). Future
research should examine how teachers’ beliefs about and experiences with SEL impact their
students.
The fact that commitment to improving SEL skills and comfort in implementing SEL
were oppositely related to stress provides further important implications. In the short-term,
learning new skills for SEL appears to be stressful; however, in the long-term—once teachers’
confidence for implementing SEL increases—they are likely to experience less stress, greater
teaching efficacy, and greater job satisfaction. These findings highlight that educational
innovations, even those we can agree should promote positive outcomes for students and
teachers in the long run, can be difficult to implement in the short-term. Administrators and
policy makers need to consider how these innovations affect teachers, as well as students, and
find ways to support teachers to develop and implement effective practices. Future longitudinal
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 25
studies will be useful to explore these implications and the best ways of helping teachers gain the
necessary SEL skills while minimizing stress.
Student relations. Of the school climate variables in the model, teachers’ perceptions of
students’ behavior and motivation was the most consistent, predicting all three outcome
variables. Teachers who perceived better behavior and greater motivation among their students
reported lower student behavior stress, greater teaching efficacy, and greater job satisfaction. For
student behavior stress, the relationship is understandable. If a teacher perceives well-behaved
and motivated students, then their stress related to students’ behavior will clearly be lower. In
addition, if a teacher perceives students to be highly motivated, then it is natural for them to have
greater confidence—or perceived teaching efficacy—in their ability to engage the students,
manage the classroom, and use effective instructional strategies. In contrast, a teacher who
perceives students are not motivated for learning may experience low efficacy for teaching.
Finally, when teachers perceive their students are motivated and well-behaved, they are able to
spend less time on classroom management and more time on teaching, the most satisfying aspect
of their work (e.g., Crossman & Harris, 2006).
These findings are important for educators and administrators alike, and add to the
literature by highlighting that teachers’ perceptions of students are linked with teachers’
experiences of stress, teaching efficacy, and job satisfaction. Educators themselves, as well as
administrators, should be aware that teachers’ perceptions of students’ behavior and motivation
are central to their experiences at work. Future research should examine in greater depth how
teachers’ perceptions are influenced by students’ behavior and motivation, and what steps
schools can take to support teachers’ positive perceptions of students.
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Collaboration. Teachers’ perceptions of the level of collaboration among colleagues for
planning and teaching was positively associated with both types of stress, as well as teaching
efficacy. The relationship with stress was contrary to what we expected—we assumed
collaboration would be associated with reduced levels of perceived stress. This reasoning was
based on previous research that has established a positive association between collaboration and
sense of teaching efficacy (Shachar & Shmuelevitz, 1997), combined with the understanding that
sense of teaching efficacy is negatively associated with stress (Klassen & Chiu, 2011). The latent
factor correlations from the CFA also supported this hypothesis—the correlations between stress
and collaboration were negative; however, they became positive coefficients through SEM,
which suggests that there are suppression effects due to unobserved variables.
According to Johnson (2003), there are costs as well as benefits associated with
collaboration. One cost is work intensification, which refers to more meetings and a greater
workload as a result of planning and teaching in collaboration (Johnson, 2003). In addition,
Hargreaves and Dawes (1990) differentiated between collaborative cultures—where
collaboration occurs naturally and is positive for teachers involved—and contrived collegiality—
where collaboration is required and put in place by administrators and may increase
administrative control. Collaboration, therefore, may be viewed positively or negatively by
teachers depending on the climate of collaboration in their school. Unfortunately, the
collaboration variable used in the current study does not differentiate between the different types
of or perceptions towards collaboration (it only measures the level of collaboration). This may be
the cause of the swinging betas and the positive relationship between collaboration and stress in
the explanatory model. Future research should attempt to measure collaboration in ways that
allow for teachers to indicate whether they find it a help or hindrance.
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 27
Contrasting the relationship with stress, teachers’ perceptions of the level of collaboration
among colleagues had a positive, direct relationship with their sense of teaching efficacy. An
indirect relationship also emerged with student behavior stress as the mediator. Taken together,
these two relationships suggest that if collaboration can be implemented in a way that does not
lead to increased student behavior stress, then it will be positive for teaching efficacy. Otherwise,
it will have a negative impact on teachers’ outcomes. These findings add to the literature by
revealing the simultaneously positive and negative impact of collaboration on teachers and, as
noted above, highlight the importance of considering all possible effects when implementing
collaborative planning and teaching initiatives. Furthermore, determining how collaboration can
be implemented while minimizing the negative influence on teachers’ stress levels would be a
fruitful avenue for future research.
Research Question Two: Relationships Between Outcome Variables
For research question two, the SEM model corroborated previous research by showing
that the three outcomes were interrelated—teachers’ experiences of one outcome appear to
influence their experiences of the others. In addition, the second research question allowed us to
extend previous research by considering these interrelationships while taking into account
school-based factors. As hypothesized, stress influenced teaching efficacy and job satisfaction,
and teaching efficacy influenced job satisfaction. Several key findings from the second research
question are discussed below.
Student behavior stress. The stress that teachers experience in relation to students’
behavior and discipline was negatively related to teaching efficacy. This result corroborates
Klassen and Chiu’s (2010) work, which found a similar relationship, and provides further
evidence of the profoundly negative impact that stress can have on teachers. For this relationship,
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it is likely that teachers who experience student behavior stress do not perceive themselves as
successfully managing behavior, engaging students, or using effective instructional strategies.
After all, student behavioral issues often occur when tasks are too hard, too easy, or not
interesting, and this relates to the teachers’ abilities in managing the classroom, engaging the
students, and applying effective instructional strategies.
These findings are important for educators, teacher education programs, and policy-
makers, given that sense of teaching efficacy has not only been linked with important teacher
outcomes, such as teacher effectiveness (Woolfolk Hoy & Spero, 2005) and teacher well-being
(Schwarzer & Hallum, 2008), but also to students’ success (Caprara et al., 2006). The findings
highlight the critical importance of helping teachers to gain skills for effectively working with
students in the classroom so that they do not experience high levels of student behavior stress.
These findings are also important because they provide evidence for the importance of
considering teachers’ sense of stress and efficacy in relation to one another, not in isolation. In
other words, if a teacher is experiencing student behavior stress, they may be experiencing lower
teaching efficacy as well. As these findings highlight, considering these outcomes together is an
important step for understanding how they interrelate, but also how they can be improved. To
build on this, future research should continue to consider these outcomes simultaneously. In
addition, research that examines the effectiveness of classroom management professional
development programs should also consider the influence that these programs have on teachers’
sense of stress and efficacy, along with other markers of effectiveness.
Job satisfaction. Workload stress and teaching efficacy were both directly related to
teachers’ sense of job satisfaction in ways that are supported by previous research (e.g., Caprara
et al., 2006; Klassen, 2010). Specifically, perceptions of workload stress related negatively to job
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satisfaction, whereas perceptions of teaching efficacy related positively to job satisfaction. Of
more interest was the indirect relationship between student behavior stress and job satisfaction
that was mediated by teaching efficacy. This relationship indicates that, on its own, student
behavior stress is not necessarily detrimental to job satisfaction. However, when it is coupled
with a reduced sense of teaching efficacy it has an impact on job satisfaction.
This finding provides important insights about the significance of teaching efficacy in the
relationship between stress and job satisfaction. It appears that when student behavior stress is
accompanied by feelings of inadequacy (i.e., reduced teaching efficacy), the stressors have a
detrimental impact on job satisfaction. However, if the stressors are not accompanied by feelings
of inadequacy or low confidence, then perhaps they are viewed as challenges and do not
negatively influence job satisfaction. This finding highlights the pivotal importance of efficacy in
the relationship between student behavior stress and job satisfaction. It also provides greater
understanding about why student behavior stressors impact teachers differently. In other words,
differing levels of confidence among teachers may cause individuals to react to similar
classroom events in markedly different ways. Future research should attempt to explore in
greater depth the influence of efficacy in relation to student behavior stress and job satisfaction.
The finding also sheds light on how a teachers’ confidence may reduce the negative
impact of stress. Selye (1974) asserted that stress can be both negative and positive for
individuals and their work performance. In fact, Selye argued that stress is highly important for
survival because it is invigorating and spurs individuals into action. However, there is a tipping
point when the amount of stress becomes too great for an individual to handle. Future research in
this area is needed to unravel these findings and to differentiate between the positive and
negative stress that teachers experience.
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The implications of this finding are important for educators and policy-makers alike.
Teaching is a stressful occupation (Kyriacou 2000, 2001); however, if teachers have confidence
in their ability to engage students, manage the classroom, and use effective instructional
strategies, the impact of student behavior stress does not appear to relate negatively to job
satisfaction. Schools should, therefore, provide teachers with appropriate and sustained pre-
service and in-service professional development in effective and engaging teaching and
classroom management strategies to help teachers build their confidence. Considering that job
satisfaction is associated with important teacher outcomes (e.g., teacher motivation; Barnabé &
Burns, 1994), this is a simple, but powerful step that schools and teacher education programs can
take.
Limitations and Future Directions
There are several limitations to this study. First, the causal relationships examined in the
study were not able to be supported due to the cross-sectional study design. Instead, directional
relationships were decided a priori and were based on relationships supported in theory and
previous research. Our findings support the directional relationships from previous research;
however, longitudinal research is needed in order to support causality. Examining these variables
longitudinally, over the course of a school year for example, will not only provide greater
understanding about causality, but also about how the variables fluctuate over time using
analysis techniques such as growth curve modeling.
Second, despite efforts to confirm the representativeness of the data, the possibility
remains that teachers who agreed to complete the questionnaire were unique in ways that we
were not able to identify, which would lead to a response bias. For example, it is possible that
only teachers who were highly functioning found time to complete the questionnaire. The results,
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 31
therefore, may be overly positive compared to the actual population and, as such, may have
captured only the tip of the iceberg about teachers’ perceptions of their working conditions.
The third limitation is that it was not possible to know exactly how participants
interpreted the questions, and if they, in fact, viewed the constructs as the researchers intended.
This is a limitation of all survey self-report research and can be helped in future research by
utilizing mixed methods designs and/or think-aloud protocols where participants talk through
their thoughts as they answer a questionnaire. The factor analyses performed do, however,
provide some support that the participants were responding as expected.
The fourth limitation is that the study is threatened by single-source bias. This means that
there may be increased relationships between the variables in the study because data were
collected via one source (self-report questionnaires). To reduce this type of bias, participants
were clearly told that their responses would be anonymous, the scale items were measured such
that ambiguous or unfamiliar questions were defined and examples were provided, and verbal
labels were provided for the midpoints of scales wherever possible (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Lee,
& Podsakoff, 2003). To help remedy this limitation in future research, the use of mixed methods
designs, where data is collected from various sources, or the inclusion of control variables such
as social desirability would be helpful.
Finally, the school climate instrument did not consider relationships with students or
colleagues. Research is highlighting the importance of teacher-student relationships (Klassen,
Perry, & Frenzel, 2011) and principals’ support (Price, 2011) in teachers’ working environment.
The student relations variable used in the current study referred to teachers’ perceptions of
students’ behavior and motivation, but not teacher-student relationships. In addition, the
collaboration variable considered only the work that teachers do together. Future work should
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 32
consider teachers’ perceived interpersonal relationships with students and teachers as part of
school climate examinations.
Final Conclusions
The results of the current study provide clear evidence of the importance of teachers’
perceptions of school climate and SEL for their work experiences, and have important practical
and research implications. Three unique contributions of the research, along with key
implications are highlighted below.
Taken together, the study’s findings provide support for the argument that teachers’
perceptions are an important consideration in research. Not only should teachers’ perceptions be
considered in relation to their experiences of outcomes related to well-being and motivation, but
their perceptions of school-based contextual variables are also important in shaping their
experiences. In other words, in addition to measuring actual school climate and SEL, educators
and researchers alike should be aware of the importance of teachers’ perceptions of school
climate and SEL in determining teachers’ well-being and motivation when investigating and
implementing school climate and SEL initiatives.
As noted above, the findings related to SEL provide support for greater investigation of
the impact of SEL on teachers, in addition to the ample research that examines SEL in relation to
students. Teachers’ beliefs about SEL are strongly related to their experiences of stress, teaching
efficacy, and job satisfaction and should be a core consideration for schools and districts that are
implementing SEL, and researchers who are examining the effectiveness of SEL programs.
Furthermore, the current study extends previous research on job satisfaction by highlighting the
importance of SEL for this outcome. Both of the SEL beliefs were positively associated with job
satisfaction, suggesting that in addition to the key sources generally examined, the social and
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emotional well-being of teachers and students is another important factor to consider in job
satisfaction research.
The current study has provided corroborating evidence for previous research on the
interrelationships between the three outcome variables (e.g., Klassen & Chiu, 2010). It has also
extended previous research on teacher job satisfaction by highlighting the pivotal importance of
low confidence in the relationship between student behavior stress and job satisfaction. In
addition, the current study has provided support for a more integrated model of the three
outcomes that takes into account teachers’ perceptions of two important school-based variables.
The findings clearly indicate that researchers and policy-makers need to consider the complexity
of relationships among variables when examining or implementing policy related to teacher well-
being and motivation.
Finally, it is important to highlight that the implications of this research are not limited to
teachers. Student learning, achievement, and well-being are also supported by positive school
climates (Cohen et al., 2009) and effective SEL implementation (Durlak et al., 2011), and by
teachers who experience reduced stress (Pakarinen et al., 2010), and greater teaching efficacy
(Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001) and job satisfaction (Perie & Baker, 1997). The
current study, therefore, extends teacher research by showing how teachers’ perceptions of
school climate and SEL impact three important teacher outcomes that also are inextricably
related to students’ and schools’ outcomes.
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 34
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 47
Figure 1. Model of relationships between study variables.
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 48
Table 1
Population Statistics for Districts Involved in the Current Study, British Columbia, and Ontario
Visible Minorities Average Income
Levels
Unemployment
Rates
Average for BC school
districts involved in the study
18.8% $76000a 2.3%
BC average 24.8% $81000a 2.1%
Average for ON school
districts involved in the study
22.8% $67000b 6.4%
ON average 2.2% $69000b 5.8%
Note. These statistics represent the total population living in the school districts that participated
in the study. The BC statistics are the 2010 population statistics (Ministry of Education, 2010) of
these school districts. ). Similar data for ON were not available by school district; however, 2006
census data for regions in ON that are similar to the school district is reported (Statistics Canada,
2006). BC = British Columbia; ON = Ontario.
a Mean income.
b Median income.
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 49
Table 2
Reliability Indexes, Means, and Standard Deviations of the Outcome and Predictor Variables
Range
Variable α M SD
Potential Actual
Outcomes
Workload stress .72 2.34 0.96 0-4
0.3–
4.0
Student behavior stress .81 1.86 0.90 0–4
0.3–
4.0
Teaching efficacy .89 7.28 1.05 1–9
3.9–
9.0
Efficacy for student engagement .83 6.89 1.39 1–9
3.0–
9.0
Efficacy for classroom management .84 7.37 1.28 1–9
3.0–
9.0
Efficacy for Instruction .81 7.51 1.08 1–9
4.3–
9.0
Job satisfaction .84 5.10 0.90 1–6
1.0–
6.0
Predictors
School climate
Collaboration .79 3.34 0.97 1–5
1.0–
5.0
Student relations .88 3.82 0.84 1–5
1.0–
5.0
School resources .73 2.99 0.97 1–5
1.0–
5.0
Decision making .77 2.94 0.92 1–5
1.0–
5.0
SEL
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 50
SEL comfort .85 3.70 0.96 1–5
1.0–
5.0
SEL commitment .85 4.01 0.79 1–5
1.3–
5.0
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Table 3
Latent Factor Correlations, Variances, and Covariances Between Independent and Dependent Variables in the Study
Note. Correlations are shown in the lower left triangle, variances are on the diagonal, and covariances are in the upper right triangle.
Correlations with an absolute value equal to or greater than r = .083 are significant at p < .05, those with an absolute value equal to or
greater than r =.123 are significant at p < .01, and those with an absolute value equal to or greater than r =.148 are significant at p <
.001. All other correlations are not significant.
a Swing variables that change from a negative correlation in this table to a positive coefficient in the SEM analyses.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
1. Collaboration .649 .222 .262 .316 .095 -.036 -.051 -.080 .127 .127
2. Student relations .307 .800 .287 .309 .200 -.003 -.264 -.081 .262 .278
3. School resources .426 .421 .581 .283 .117 -.082 -.168 -.158 .142 .140
4. Decision making .460 .406 .435 .726 .143 .007 -.100 -.292 .139 .241
5. SEL comfort .157 .299 .204 .224 .561 .064 -.160 -.040 .273 .245
6. SEL commitment -.065 -.005 -.154 .012 .123 .482 .083 .078 -.017 .031
7. Student behavior stress -.083a -.387 -.289 -.153 -.280 .157 .583 .246 -.271 -.207
8. Workload stress -.148a -.134 -.307 -.509 -.079 .167 .479 .454 -.063 -.200
9. Teaching efficacy .211 .392 .250 .218 .488 -.032 -.475 -.125 .559 .298
10. Job satisfaction .207 .409 .241 .373 .430 .058 -.358 -.392 .525 .576
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 52
Figure 2. Structural equation model for teachers’ perceptions of school climate and SEL and the relationship of these variables of
sense of stress, efficacy, and job satisfaction. Paths that were not significant are not shown. All coefficients are significant ( p < .05),
Standardized regression coefficients are reported.
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 53
Table 4
Standardized Direct, Indirect, and Total Effects for the Predictor Variables on Each Outcome Variable
Stress Teaching efficacy Job satisfaction
Independent Variable Student behavior Workload
Collaboration
Direct .303 .354 .090
Total indirect -.097 -.115
Total .303 .354 -.007 -.115
Student relations
Direct -.290 .126 .166
Total indirect .093 .073
Total -.290 .219 .239
School resources
Direct -.183 -.181
Total indirect .058 .077
Total -.183 -.181 .058 .077
Decision making
Direct -.189 -.672
Total indirect .060 .234
Total -.189 -.672 .060 .234
SEL comfort
Direct -.209 .341 .182
Total indirect .067 .135
Total -.209 .408 .317
SEL commitment
Direct .234 .242 .107
Total indirect -.075 -.102
Total .234 .242 -.075 .005
R2 Statistic .317 .454 .382 .455
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Appendix
Additional Tables
Table A1
Standardized Factor Loadings for the Items in Each Construct
Construct and items
Factor
loadings
(λ)
Collaboration
Teachers design instructional programs together. .81
I have regular opportunities to work with other teachers. .76
Classroom instruction is rarely coordinated across teachers. .76
Student Relations
Most students are well mannered or respectful of the school staff. .92
Most students are helpful and cooperative with teachers. .88
Students in this school are well behaved. .94
School Resources
Instructional equipment is not consistently accessible. (R) .72
Video equipment, tapes, and films are readily available. .54
The supply of equipment and resources is not adequate. (R) .88
Decision Making
Teachers are frequently asked to participate in decisions. .84
Decisions about the school are made by the principal. .76
I have very little to say in the running of the school. .83
SEL Comfort
Taking care of my students’ social and emotional needs comes naturally to me. .68
I am comfortable providing instruction on social and emotional skills to my
students.
.90
Informal lessons in social and emotional learning are part of my regular teaching
practice.
.84
I feel confident in my ability to provide instruction on social and emotional
learning.
.95
SEL Commitment
I would like to attend a workshop to develop my own social and emotional skills. .66
I want to improve my ability to teach social and emotional skills to students. .86
I would like to attend a workshop to learn how to develop my students’ social and
emotional skills.
.99
Workload stress
Too much work to do (e.g. lesson preparation and marking). .68
Administrative work (e.g. filling in forms). .75
Pressure from leadership and the school district. .65
Student behavior stress
Noisy students. .78
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Social-emotional learning and school climate 55
Maintaining class discipline. .89
Students’ impolite behavior. .78
Efficacy for management
How much can you do to control disruptive behavior in the classroom? .96
How much can you do to calm a student who is disruptive or noisy? .78
How much can you do to get children to follow classroom rules? .77
Efficacy for engagement
How much can you do to motivate students who show low interest in school
work?
.78
How much can you do to help your students value learning? .96
How much can you do to get students to believe they can do well in school work? .80
Efficacy for instruction
To what extent can you craft good questions for your students? .70
To what extent can you use a variety of assessment strategies? .75
To what extent can you provide an alternative explanation or example when
students are confused?
.77
How much can you assist families in helping their children do well in school? .77
Job satisfaction
I like doing the things I do at work. .84
I feel a sense of pride in doing my job. .86
My job is enjoyable. .86
Note. (R) refers to reverse scored items.
... In addition, young people who participate in youth programs can gain knowledge and skills in areas such as self-expression, exploration of interests, social justice, critical consciousness, and development and appreciation of social identities including racial identity (Carey et al., 2020;Halpern, 2003;Ladson-Billings, 2014;The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2017). health, and commitment (Collie et al., 2012;Danziger et al., 2011;Herman et al., 2018;Jennings & Greenberg, 2009;Mosely, 2018;Osher et al., 2020;Sandilos et al., 2018). ...
... We hypothesize women of Color will have the highest stress level due to the intersection of racism and sexism (Essed, 1991). However, based on the teacher stress literature (Collie et al., 2012), we imagine all the race/ethnicity and gender combinations will have low compassion satisfaction scores. However, there is limited literature exploring this concept based on the intersection of race/ethnicity and gender. ...
... Additionally, White women had the lowest average compassion satisfaction score. Thus, White women in our study followed the expected pattern in the teacher stress literature (i.e., high stress levels and low compassion satisfaction; Collie et al., 2012). ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Youth-serving organizations in the United States provide programs, activities, and opportunities for young people before school, during school, after school, in summer, and on weekends. At the core of youth-serving organizations are the adults; that is, youth development staff.Objective In this explanatory sequential mixed methods study we explored youth development staff’s stress and worries, their compassion satisfaction, and whether stress and compassion satisfaction varied by race/ethnicity and gender during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic – a collective trauma event.Methods We surveyed 283 youth development staff and interviewed a subset of 25.ResultsResults suggest that youth development staff experienced stress and compassion satisfaction during the COVID-19 pandemic.Conclusion We recommend organizational leaders provide youth development staff with support before a collective trauma event. They can work to change, add, or remove policies, practices, and routines to help decrease stress and increase compassion satisfaction. In addition, based on our results from this study our primary recommendation specific to collective trauma events, after taking care of their own personal wellness, is for youth development staff to focus on what is in their control and work to do those things for as many young people as they can.
... A positive work environ-ment reduces stress and burnout, good for teachers' health (Kyriacou, 2011). Instructors who are content with their jobs, on the other hand, seem to be happier with their students (Collie, Shapka, & Perry, 2012). In addition, content instructors are more likely to help their students learn and grow (Kunter et al., 2013). ...
... Stress and burnout are less likely to affect teachers who like their jobs if they enjoy them (Kyriacou, 2011). Additionally, instructors who are content with their jobs seem happier (Collie, Shapka, & Perry, 2012). Additionally, instructors who are pleased with their jobs are more likely to provide their students with excellent teaching and learning resources (Kunter et al., 2013). ...
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This study examined the relationship of perceived social support and its supposed mediating function in psychological distress to job satisfaction. Research was done through the utilization of K-10 Psychological Distress Scale, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support and Job Satisfaction Survey employed to 139 college faculty members of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. Based on the findings, it was revealed that respondents were suffering from moderate psychological distress (mean=25.95, SD = 7.71). Also it was indicated that the overall mean of perceived social support of the respondents was 4.67 which signified that most college faculty members had moderate level of social support from their families, colleagues, and significant others. Among these, social support from colleagues got the highest mean which was 5.31 (SD=1.29), followed by significant others of 4.82 (SD=1.58) and lastly, the family with 3.90 (SD=1.32). In addition, results indicated that the overall mean of job satisfaction was 3.47 which mean that most of the faculty members were only moderately satisfied in their teaching job. Among the subdimensions, the highest were supervision (mean=4.00, SD=0.64), Co-workers (mean=3.98, SD=0.67), and Nature of work (mean=3.96, SD=0.56). However, the lowest scores were noted on: Pay (mean=3.23, SD=0.66), Fringe Benefits (mean=3.03, SD=0.51) and lastly, the operating conditions (mean=2.87, SD=0.56); while results showed that psychological distress was negatively correlated in terms of the subdimensions such as: fringe benefits (r =-1.77, p < .05) to teacher job satisfaction ; (r=-0.170, p=0.05), while contingent incentives have a large but weak negative link with psychological distress (r=-0.234, p=0.01). Other subdimensions were reported to insignificant. Lastly, results revealed that perceived social support did not mediate the relationship of psychological distress to job satisfaction. The indirect effect was tested using the Sobel test and was found to be insignificant (B = 0.78, SE = 0.01, p = 0.43). This research will serve as the foundation for a set of recommendations that will encourage and promote a safe work environment and several interventions that will ensure teaching employee satisfaction during the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing a wellness program.
... Teachers with higher autonomy are usually also more satisfied with their jobs (Dou et al., 2017; see also Moen et al., 2013). If teachers receive social support by others, they feel more related (Wentzel, 1998), less exhausted (Betoret, 2006;Collie et al., 2012), and report higher job satisfaction (Harris et al., 2007). Feedback from fellow teachers is understood as an indicator of teacher collaboration (Kelchtermans, 2006;Shah, 2012) and positively associated with job satisfaction (Nias, 1999), but also professional development (Hausman & Goldring, 2001;Retallick & Butt, 2004), as well as school effectiveness (Barth, 2006;Marks & Louis, 1997). ...
... The second hypothesis (H2) suggested a positive association between teachers' working environment (i.e., autonomy, feedback, and social support) and their job satisfaction, as well as perceived stress. In detail, the results show that social support is indeed associated with both job satisfaction and work-related stress, as found in various empirical studies (Collie et al., 2012;Harris et al., 2007). Teachers who feel they have autonomy in their work are more satisfied with their job, which was also found by Dou et al. (2017). ...
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This study investigates the relations between working environment and teachers' job satisfaction, perceived work‐related stress, as well as work‐related self‐efficacy. The sample consisted of 226 mathematics teachers from German secondary schools. About 55% were female and they had been teaching for 13 years on average. We used self‐reported measures to assess how teachers perceived their working environment (regarding autonomy, feedback, and social support by colleagues), administrative leadership and teachers' work‐related self‐efficacy, as well as job satisfaction and work‐related stress. Structural equation modeling demonstrates that teachers' job satisfaction and stress were significantly associated with self‐efficacy (moderate to large effects) and an administrative leadership at the corresponding schools (small to moderate effects). The effect of social support on teachers' job satisfaction and stress was fully mediated by teachers' self‐efficacy. Our findings underscore the importance of self‐efficacy and a positive working environment for teachers' job satisfaction and stress. Teachers' self‐efficacy is positively associated to their job satisfaction Frequent feedback by peers and efficient school leadership relate negatively to teachers' stress A supportive school environment could help teachers to increase their self‐efficacy Teachers' self‐efficacy is positively associated to their job satisfaction Frequent feedback by peers and efficient school leadership relate negatively to teachers' stress A supportive school environment could help teachers to increase their self‐efficacy
... Buchanan-Pascall et al. (2018) conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis that investigated the efficacy of parent-mediated intervention for children with externalizing behaviors and concluded that 80% of studies confirmed the efficacy of parent-mediated interventions, thus supporting the parent's role in reducing externalizing behaviors (Buchanan-Pascall et al., 2018). However, although numerous studies and meta-analyses have explored parentmediated interventions, there is little research on teacher-mediated interventions despite evidence that shows the impact of externalizing behaviors on teachers' well-being (Aloe et al., 2014) and self-efficacy (Collie et al., 2012); both of which can have an immediate impact on children in the classroom (Miller et al., 2017). ...
... The number of studies that measured teachers' stress levels or self-efficacy in the current analysis was insufficient to draw conclusions about these dependent variables. This was surprising and highlights a gap in the current literature since several studies have demonstrated the relationship between children's level of externalizing behaviors and teachers' level of confidence in classroom management (Arbuckle & Little, 2004;Collie et al., 2012;Stephenson et al., 2000). School responsibilities and workload can also cause stress and negative emotions in teachers (Fernet et al., 2012;Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2011). ...
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... Rights reserved. emotions and enthusiasm for the profession as well as their ability to cope with job demands (Collie et al., 2012;van Horn et al., 2004). ...
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... In addition, lack of personal resources, including self-efficacy, can be predictors of burnout symptoms, such as job resources, in the JD-R model (Bakker & Demerouti, 2017). Therefore, it is understandable that one factor that could support teachers' occupational wellbeing and commitment to work and protect them from stress and exhaustion is teacher self-efficacy (TSE): high self-efficacy is related to high job satisfaction and work engagement (Guskey & Passaro, 1994;Wheatley, 2005;Woolfolk-Hoy & Spero, 2005), whereas low self-efficacy is typically linked with high stress and burnout (Aloe et al., 2014a;Collie et al., 2012;Klassen & Chiu, 2011). Although previous studies have found a relationship between TSE and sense of inadequacy (see meta-analysis; Aloe et al., 2014a;Brown, 2012), previous research has focused on TSE and burnout in general (Montgomery & Rupp, 2005), and less is known about how TSE and inadequacy are related longitudinally, and which factors are related to TSE and sense of inadequacy. ...
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The present study investigated bidirectional associations between teachers’ sense of inadequacy and self-efficacy and factors related to them across one academic year. Teachers (N = 52) rated their sense of inadequacy and self-efficacy in fall and spring, and reported the number of students in need of support in spring. The results of cross-lagged path models showed that teachers’ sense of inadequacy in fall negatively predicted their subsequent self-efficacy, especially in the dimensions of student engagement and classroom management. In addition, teachers’ work experience and number of students with need of support in terms of social and behavioral problems were related to teacher self-efficacy (TSE). Based on these findings, the number of students in need of support in the classroom is a critical factor that influences TSE; therefore, teachers may need support to manage students with needs in terms of social and behavioral problems to maintain their sense of high self-efficacy.
... Echoing many scholars of teacher motivation, the current results demonstrate the importance of supporting teachers' psychological needs. Teachers are satisfied with their job and can better cope with the difficulties and challenges that they face at school when their psychological needs are met and supported (Collie et al., 2012). Given that different job-related outcomes could be attributed to different psychological needs and processes, issues such as high intention to leave and lack of flow experience during teaching can be addressed by targeting specific needs. ...
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Based on a careful review of the international evidence, this book aims to provide a clear and practical overview of ways in which mainstream schools can promote the mental, emotional and social health of all those who work and learn there. It outlines the competences that constitute emotional and social health and wellbeing, and examines the evidence that social and emotional learning and academic achievement can go hand in hand, and that the same key factors underlie both emotionally healthy and effective schools. It explores the areas of school life that are key to promoting social and emotional health, including the curriculum, teaching and learning, relationships with families and the community, and school management.
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