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Studies in various Western countries since the 1980s established that teachers find themselves increasingly more subjected to outside control and are often reduced to enforcers of decisions made by others. This study presents findings from a qualitative study with 20 teachers in an attempt to discover i) whether teachers' work is being transformed and ii) what type of transformation, if any, takes place. It first analyzes the debate on changes in teachers' skills in advanced industrial societies and moves onto a discussion of the nature of teachers' work, the transformation thereof and the alleged deskilling of teachers. The study later presents findings from a qualitative research indicating that there are significant similarities and differences between teachers' experiences in Turkey and in developed countries. This study reveals that the deskilling approach fails to adequately account for Turkish teachers' experiences, agency and adaptability. Furthermore, while teachers do not regard rather detailed curricula and guidebooks as a restriction of their professional domain, they express the opposite view regarding interventions by parents, inspectors and others. Finally, the study demonstrates that educators in Turkey have strong concerns regarding the future of their profession.
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Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice • 14(3) • 887-904
©2014 Educational Consultancy and Research Center
www.edam.com.tr/estp
DOI: 10.12738/estp.2014.3.2116
Teaching as a profession in Western countries
underwent a signicant transformation from
the 1980s onwards. e changes occurred in
two ways. First, the critical role of high-quality
teachers within the education system began to draw
increasingly more attention (Barber & Mourshed,
2007). As students’ shortcomings and various social
problems came to be associated with teachers
underperformance, decision-makers took various
steps to render teachers more qualied and to
transform teaching into a professional occupation
(Ingersoll, 2012). Second, such steps, in turn,
have transformed traditional forms of teaching as
teachers’ work has been subjected to increasingly
control from outside. As such, a number of decisions
that teachers can reach and implement themselves
have been redirected to outside decision-makers
who presented teachers with certain decisions for
implementation (Apple, 1988, 1995; Shannon,
1989). e outcome of these changes has been
to move teachers away from decision-making
processes. Studies show that teachers have no
control over the majority of decisions regarding
schools’ daily procedures (Ingersoll, 2007, 2012).
For instance, teachers in many countries are not
even entitled to choose which textbooks to be used
in their classes. As such, traditional denitions of
teaching including respect (i.e., teachers want the
* The theoretical component of this article was presented at the 12th Annual Education Symposium of the
Association of Turkish Private Schools in February 2013. The final version includes a revised theoretical
section and presents new empical findings from a qualitative research.
a Bekir S. GÜR holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from Utah State University. He currently teaches at
Yıldırım Beyazıt University. His primary research interests include educational policy studies and higher
education.
Correspondence:
Yıldırım Beyazıt Üniversitesi, Çankırı Cad. Ulus, Ankara. Email: bsgur@ybu.edu.tr
Abstract
Studies in various Western countries since the 1980s established that teachers find themselves increasingly
more subjected to outside control and are often reduced to enforcers of decisions made by others. This study
presents findings from a qualitative study with 20 teachers in an attempt to discover i) whether teachers’ work is
being transformed and ii) what type of transformation, if any, takes place. It first analyzes the debate on changes
in teachers’ skills in advanced industrial societies and moves onto a discussion of the nature of teachers’ work,
the transformation thereof and the alleged deskilling of teachers. The study later presents findings from a
qualitative research indicating that there are significant similarities and differences between teachers’ experi-
ences in Turkey and in developed countries. This study reveals that the deskilling approach fails to adequately
account for Turkish teachers’ experiences, agency and adaptability. Furthermore, while teachers do not regard
rather detailed curricula and guidebooks as a restriction of their professional domain, they express the opposite
view regarding interventions by parents, inspectors and others. Finally, the study demonstrates that educators
in Turkey have strong concerns regarding the future of their profession.
Key Words
Control, Decision-making, Deskilling, Guidebooks, Professionalism, Teachers’ Work.
Bekir S. GÜRa
Yıldırım Beyazıt University
Deskilling of Teachers: The Case of Turkey*
EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE
888
best for their students), trust (i.e., teachers have
the right skills to perform their tasks), autonomy
(i.e., the teacher is responsible and accountable for
education-related decisions in the classroom and
the school) and life-long job security have become
contested (Day, 2000). Considering that children
spend a signicant part of their lives at school, it is
understandable for parents and the governmental
authorities to become involved in education
and to concentrate on teachers’ qualications.
Meanwhile, teachers have increasingly less
authority over teaching, undertake increasingly
more administrative duties and face busier
schedules as they come under more central control,
make use of prepackaged educational materials,
place greater emphasis on standardized tests and
nd themselves surrounded by managerialism in
the workplace (Hall, 2004; Helsby, 2000; Luke,
2006). Furthermore, reform policies geared toward
structural harmonization in many countries have
worsened the working conditions of educators (Day,
2000). Overall, teachers in various countries nd
themselves seriously demoralized, disenfranchised
and discouraged. Moreover, educators in both
developed and developing countries experience
more and more concern over their professional
status. Meanwhile, academic publications and
policy papers make frequent references to teachers
shortcomings while oen ignoring studies on
teachers’ working conditions and living standards
(Özoğlu, Gür, & Altınoğlu, 2013; Voluntary Service
Overseas [VSO], 2002).
A considerable body of scientic literature has
dealt with the transformation of teaching as a
profession. As I discuss in greater detail below,
existing studies mostly concentrate on post-1980
transformations in Anglo-Saxon countries. In
contrast, with few exceptions, researchers paid
almost no attention to developing countries (Wong,
2006). In light of this trend, there is a need to
evaluate whether the various inclinations, shis
and changes in the aforementioned literature
accurately reect developments in Turkey. As such,
based on the perceptions of teachers, this study
aims to explore whether teacher’s work undergoes
any transformations and to demonstrate what
type of transformations, if any, take place. In this
context, I analyze the debate on employee skills in
advanced industrial societies and then move onto a
discussion of teachers’ work and control. Following
an analysis of the deskilling approach, I discuss what
the above debates mean for teachers in Turkey and
present the ndings from a qualitative research on
the subject matter.
Public debates on teaching as a profession in Turkey
have largely concentrated on the question of who
may become a teacher instead of teachers’ work
itself. In this sense, discussions on the profession
of teaching embody a narrative of progress and
changes in teachers’ training systems and programs
(Küçükahmet, 2003a, 2003b). Again, debates on the
respectability of teaching as a profession typically
tend to focus on teachers’ nancial circumstances
and appointments (Celep, 2005). Based on the
perception of teachers, this study, however, diers
from above-mentioned discussions in attempting
to tackle the question of whether or not teachers
work is being transformed.
eoretical and Global Context
Prior to debating the various changes in teachers’
work, one must engage the discussion about skill
changes of employees in advanced industrial
societies. Later, I shall consider the qualities of
teachers’ work and existing tendencies to control
such work. Finally, I will analyze contemporary
debates on deskilling of teachers.
Upskilling and Deskilling
ere are at least two contradictory approaches
regarding the transformation of work and
professions in advanced societies: proponents of the
rst approach including Bell, Touraine, Habermas,
Fuchs and Becker maintain that there will be greater
demand for skilled (as such, educated) individuals
as societies progress (Penn, 1983). Especially aer
World War II, economic growth in various Western
advanced industrial societies entailed job creation,
increased consumption and positive expectations for
the future (Heisig, 2009). Accordingly, technological
advances would result in greater demand for skilled
employees and require employees to upskill and/or
upgrade their skills. e latter approach, however,
posits that –in contrast to the above-summarized
expectations- employees have become exposed
to deskilling especially from the 1960s and 1970s
onward. A large number of Marxist theoreticians
adopted the latter view: according to Braverman
–who published Labor and Monopoly Capital in
1974- capitalist modes of production and increased
control over work systematically destroyed
artisanship (Braverman, 1998). In other words,
working class labor and work faced devaluation.
Braverman remarked that modern enterprises
adopted the principles of Frederick W. Taylor
(1856-1915) who was fundamentally interested in
GÜR / Deskilling of Teachers: The Case of Turkey
889
controlling labor at a certain level of technological
advancement. Taylor’s notion of scientic
management, accordingly, sought to separate design
from implementation and thereby to accumulate
all information and authority at the hands of
management. As such, this approach redened
all work processes and distinguished between
manual labor and intellectual work. Some evidence
supports Bravermans claim that the aforementioned
processes contributed to the devaluation of
work. For instance, “the transformation of the
knowledge base through scientic management
led to the abandonment of the upward mobility
of skilled manual workers and imprisoned them
in the lower ranks of the rm” (Heisig, 2009, p.
1641). Notwithstanding, the number of jobs that
require manual skills are decreasing and the view
that laborers’ work is devalued in order to control
employees fails to adequately account for emerging
realities (Heisig, 2009).
Generally speaking, both above-mentioned
approaches represent largely deterministic views
that predict certain isomorphic changes in
response to technological advancements. ese
predictions, however, must be tested to see how
the trends progress in dierent societies and what
kind of response they receive from individuals
(Penn, 1983). Especially from the 1980s onwards,
the increasing integration of computers into work
processes has resulted in employees’ upskilling. As
such, this new trend eectively pressured employees
toward upskilling and thereby worked against
deskilling. In other words, deskilling and upskilling
processes occur simiultaneously, at dierent
levels and in dierent frequencies. Moreover,
international comparative studies demonstrated
that existing skill sets of employees tend to
inuence countries’ and companies’ preferred skill
strategy (Heisig, 2009). In this regard, dierent
countries adopt dierent skill development
strategies in order to strengthen their positions
in the international economic competition: In a
competitive environment, the deskilling approach
would not prove a reasonable option for countries
as deskilling of employees might decrease a
country’s economic competitiveness. Furthermore,
novel production structures simultaneously seek
more qualied laborers while jeopardizing job
security. In this setting, it becomes more and more
important for employees to develop new skills
including exibility and adaptability to changing
working conditions.
Teacher’s Work and Control
Allegations regarding serious transformations of
teachers’ work exist especially in English-speaking
Western countries. e said transformation
manifests itself in various forms. Hargreaves
(2000) posits that a four-tier approach would
best describe the various changes in teaching:
(i) the pre-professional age, (ii) the age of the
autonomous professional, (iii) the age of the
collegial professional and (iv) the post-professional
or postmodern age. During the pre-professional
age, teaching represented a form of artisanship that
did not require too much technical knowledge. As
such, teachers’ training relied on trial and error or
occurred through apprenticeship. Especially from
the 1960s onwards, the aforementioned countries
moved into the age of the autonomous professional,
when teaching evolved into an area of expertise
that necessitated college-level education where
teachers were allowed to follow procedures and
approaches that they deemed preferable. e age of
the autonomous professional came under scrutiny
in the mid-1980s as teachers’ work underwent
yet another transformation. During this period,
teachers found themselves increasingly compelled
to adopt educational approaches that managers,
experts and technocrats deemed appropriate. As
such, the age of the collegial professional gave rise
to more cooperation among teachers in an attempt
to cope with rapid changes and transformations.
Finally, the profession of teaching has (begun to)
enter a new postmodern age in the new millennium.
is post-professional period allows a greater
number of groups to interfere in teachers’ work and
adds to the level of uncertainty in teachers’ lives.
e above periodization did not occur in the
same order in every country (Hargreaves, 2000).
Furthermore, some studies rejected the view that
teachers were entitled to a signicant degree of
autonomy until the 1980s as a myth and claimed
that centralized examinations have directed
and regulated teachers’ work from earlier on
(McCulloch, 2000). Overall, teachers maintained
throughout the 20th century that their profession
required higher learning and skills, and therefore
deserved the same social status as medical
doctors and lawyers (Özoğlu et al., 2013). e
specic implications of the professionalization of
teaching, however, remains contested. According
to the professional model that sociologists use
to analyze professions, professionals have the
following qualities: Serious training and licenses/
certications, amenable working conditions,
EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE
890
active professional associations, signicant levels
of authority in the workplace and high prestige
(Ingersoll & Merrill, 2011). From this perspective,
teachers would seem to satisfy the criteria for
professionalism–albeit not to the same degree as
medical doctors and lawyers. Notwithstanding, the
level of professionalization would dier according
to the type of school and location. Similarly, each
additional step to transform the profession of
teaching inevitably changes the nature of teachers’
work and gives rise to certain defense mechanisms.
More important, teachers’ reactions toward and
perceptions of such initiatives might vary (Helsby,
2000).
From the 1980s onwards, observers claimed that
various reforms aecting teachers have been
implemented in order to render teachers more
professional. Leaving aside the positive rhetoric,
however, it would become clear that the various
techniques and approaches adopted to promote
professionalism imposed serious restrictions on
teachers’ autonomy (Popkewitz, 1991). In other
words, eorts to equip teachers with greater
responsibility and professionalism have eectively
reduced their autonomy and power. For instance,
educators in many countries exercise very little, if at
all, control over curricula, class hours and decisions
to pass or fail students (Özoğlu et al., 2013).
Moreover, teachers’ work has become more prone
to outside control under the pretext of improving
the quality of education. Although all such external
monitoring takes place to boost the education
system’s performance, greater control eectively
fails to make such improvements while compelling
teachers to focus on monitoring processes at
the expense of their work and thereby causing
demotivation among educators (Ingersoll, 2012).
Deskilling Teachers
A number of studies attempting to demonstrate the
various changes and transformations in teachers’
work practices employed the term deskilling for
this purpose. According to the deskilling approach,
teachers increasingly lose control over their own
labor. In other words, authorities present teachers
with ready decisions in many situations where
teachers are otherwise able to make their own
decisions and implement them autonomously, is
creates a situation where teachers are expected
to serve as mere implementers (Apple, 1988,
1995; Shannon, 1989). For instance, teachers are
increasingly expected to employ prepackaged
curricula and teaching materials such as
guidebooks, textbooks, lesson plans and measuring
tools at the expense of their capacity to tailor their
programs according to local context and students’
needs. As such, an ever-increasing gap emerges
between the designing, creating and modelling
teaching-related tasks and their implementation.
Reecting a need to control the teacher’s every step,
this approach regards education as the development
of a set of educational processes and materials that
even an inexperienced teacher can easily follow
(Gür, 2006). Surely enough, various studies in a
number of dierent countries have established that
teachers are subject to increasingly more control
whereby they are reduced to mere implementers of
others’ decisions and, as such, deskilled (Easthope
& Easthope, 2000).
Teachers’ deskilling entails a dierentiation and
intensication of their work. In other words,
teachers are expected to perform more tasks in
less time than before. Even worse, educators’
involvement in administrative aairs oen occurs
at the expense of their attention to students’ needs
(Apple, 1988). Furthermore, teachers face intense
pressure to work harder while coping with various
changes under the same, if not worse, working
conditions. Notwithstanding, it should be noted
that the intensication process does not aect
all teachers in the same manner (Hargreaves,
1994). Still, a number of factors including
student-centered education reforms, technology’s
integration into education, decreased funding
for education, changes in measurement and
evaluation techniques, teachers’ increased social
responsibility, bureaucratic workload necessary
for new accountability mechanisms, changes in
student population and additional extra-curricular
activities oen require teachers to work harder. As
such, teachers’ work has become more complicated
than before (Altunoğlu, 2012; Easthope & Easthope,
2000; Luke, 2006).
Whether the deskilling approach adequately
reects teachers’ experiences or not remains up
for debate. Although teachers’ experiences with
and opinions of the various transformations of
their work matter, macro-level discussions did not
pay enough attention to these factors (Day, 2000).
Meanwhile, the initial belief that education policies
in the United Kingdom have rendered teachers
proletarian and reduced them into implementers
was countered with later studies that demonstrated
teachers did not act as passive recipients and
instead developed their own defense mechanisms
to resist outside control in various ways (Helsby,
GÜR / Deskilling of Teachers: The Case of Turkey
891
2000). A study of English language teachers in Iran
also revealed that some teachers did not employ
guidebooks –that are oen criticized for deskilling
teachers- at all while their inexperienced colleagues
closely followed the instructions and found useful
(Zabihi & Tabataba’ian, 2011). In this sense, it would
be inaccurate to claim that guidebooks have the
same inuence over and contribute to the deskilling
of all teachers. Furthermore, such materials may
serve to empower new and inexperienced teachers.
Teachers, therefore, demonstrate agency and
become actively involved in the implementation
of decisions and teaching materials involving their
profession. Similarly, as we discuss in greater detail
below, teachers tend to lose certain skills while
developing others.
Processes of teachers’ professionalization and
deskilling tend to accompany simultaneous
processes that allow them to develop new skills.
For example, some teachers developed a new set
of managerial skills in order to perform the tasks
that the authorities expect them to undertake
(Apple, 1988). A study in China demonstrated that
decentralization eorts served to deskill teachers
while a small number of educators updated their
pedagogical practices and knowledge when faced
with competition (Wong, 2006). Generally speaking,
teachers tend to regard continuing education
eorts as a key component of their professional
development (Ifanti & Fotopoulou, 2011). Some
observers recommend that professionalism should
serve as a discourse that allows us to simultaneously
recognize deskilling and upskilling. Professionalism
as a discourse, then, would refer to the redening of
education, organization of educational work and
the teacher’s role (Seddon, 1997).
e Turkish Context
e existing debate on deskilling has been largely
informed by terms and experiences relevant to
English-speaking Western countries. As such,
discussions regarding remaining countries have
been extremely limited. For instance, a study on
how Chinas decentralization eorts aect teachers
revealed similar results to developed countries
including that teachers were highly dependent
on government guidelines in their selection of
education materials and exam contents (Wong,
2006). Provided that governments continue
to largely determine the domain of education,
however, such outcomes must not be surprising.
In this regard, Turkey -where the state maintains
its central role in determining and implementing
education policies- would dier from Anglo-Saxon
and Latin American countries with shrinking public
education sectors. Compared to various countries
that this study touched upon during its discussion
of the deskilling approach above, Turkey displays
various idiosyncratic qualities. Primarily, teachers
in Northern and Western countries maintain
some degree of autonomy over class themes and
teaching methods within general standards that the
authorities prescribe. As such, neither the United
States nor Germany has one ocial textbook for
a lesson. Similarly, local governments and school
administrators contribute to education policies.
In contrast, Turkey’s centralized approach entails
severe restrictions. For instance, the Ministry of
National Education centrally determines detailed
curricula, education materials and textbooks. In
this sense, guidebooks that are expected to assist
teachers “appear to determine all aspects [of
education] without granting the teacher any room
for autonomy or exibility” (Uysal, Alabaş, & Polat,
2011, p. 89). Considering that Turkish teachers
indeed frequently use guidebooks (Güner, 2011),
analyzing the inuence of the country’s centralist
approach to teachers’ work would be a worthy
enterprise.
Guidebooks tend to present teachers with templates
and expect their implementation instead of
regarding teachers as experts with decision-making
capabilities. For instance, a guidebook for rst
grade social studies teachers requests that teachers
ask students the following question in preparation
of the class on day and night: “Kids, the world is
turning. Did you know that?” e book continues:
“Cheer up the students by asking why we do not
feel dizzy or nauseated if the world is turning. Begin
the lecture with the question: Do you feel the world
turning?” (Aldal, Kalın Falakaoğlu, & Çetin, 2009,
p. 214). e guidebook describes what the teacher
should do following the preparatory steps:
Say, “let us see and understand how this works,
then create a model of the sun and the Earth
with a small ball and a ashlight. You can use
a globe, if available, instead of a ball. Mark a
spot on the ball with your pen and say: “Let us
presume this is where we live.” Turn o the lights
or shut the curtains to make the classroom dim.
Turn on the ashlight and point it to the ball. Let
a student slowly rotate the ball. As it rotates, the
marked spot will be lit and remain in the dark.
Instruct students to open pages 128 and 129 of
their textbook. Ask them to study the gures in
their textbook. (Aldal et al., 2009, p. 214).
EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE
892
Simply put, the teacher would not have to make
any additional eort to explain class contents
to students or to think of a class activity thanks
to the guidebook (Özoğlu, Gür, & Çelik, 2010).
e teacher’s task would be to implement
the pre-designed lesson. Still, the availability
of guidebooks does not necessarily indicate
that teachers follow them and relinquish
all of their subjectivity and agency at work.
Notwithstanding, some studies in Turkey
indicate that guidebooks, school administrators,
teachers’ boards and inspectors exert restrictions
on teachers’ autonomy. As such, the majority of
teachers stated that they were supposed to commit
to the pre-determined educational approach
and to follow guidelines for measurements and
evaluation purposes (Taneri, 2011). Another
study concluded that teachers willingly followed
guidebooks and stated that they were expected
to “absolutely” follow the instructions (Çelik,
2012). Similarly, teachers participating in
another study seemed content with guidebooks
even though they acknowledged that such
materials restricted their autonomy (Güner,
2011). Such ndings demonstrate that Turkish
teachers nd themselves faced with serious
restrictions on their educational approaches
(Uysal et al., 2011). As such, centrist policies
that work at the expense of teachers’ decision-
making capabilities inevitably run the risk of
deskilling educators (Güner, 2011). Finally,
certain reforms and changes in the national
education system tend to aect teachers’ work.
For instance, studies following the curriculum
reform of Turkey in 2004 demonstrated that
teachers had to devote increasingly more time
to non-teaching responsibilities including lling
forms and preparing class materials (Altunoğlu,
2012; Çelik, 2012).
Scope of Research
is research aims to nd out whether teachers
work is being transformed in Turkey and what type
of transformation, if any, takes place according to
teachers’ perceptions and experiences. Accordingly,
the research analyzes the roles attributed to teachers
in terms of making and implementing educational
decisions in class environment in particular and to
what extent teachers face pressure.
Method
is is a qualitative study which attempts to reveal
teachers’ experiences in whether their work is
being transformed and whether they face pressure
while making educational decisions. Within this
scope, semi-structured interview questions have
been prepared. Similar to other qualitative studies,
this study mainly aims to nd participants who
could provide rich and diverse data (Creswell,
2003). e researcher did not decide the number
of participants prior to conducting research and
ended the research when he felt that sucient and
rich data was obtained for analysis.
Data Collection Instrument
e dra of semi-structured interview questions
was prepared according to related literature and has
been shared with four persons who are experts in
educational sciences, sociology, and statistics. e
set of questions has been nalized according to the
experts’ evaluations. Furthermore, a pilot study
with a teacher has been carried out and questions
have been revised accordingly.
Finalized major interview questions are as follows:
i) Who decides what to teach your students? Who
should decide? ii) (For elementary school teachers)
Do you use guidebooks? What is your assessment
on using these books? iii) Apart from your teaching
activities in your class, what are your other duties
in the school as a teacher? iv) Is there any changes
in your role or work as teacher in the recent years?
v) What are your hopes or worries for the future of
teaching as a profession?
Participants
e data has been gathered from 20 teachers
working at dierent grade levels in dierent schools
of Ankara. Teachers from dierent grade levels
(elementary, middle and high school) and dierent
subject areas have been included in the study in
order to enrich the data. Furthermore, the study
has included teachers with dierent professional
experience in terms of years in both state and
private schools. Participant information is given
in detail in the following table (Table 1). While
25% of the participants are from private schools,
75% of them are from public schools. In addition,
while 55% of them are male, 45 of them are
females. Moreover, 35% of them are class teachers
(elementary school), 20% are Turkish language,
10% are Social Studies, 10% are Technology and
GÜR / Deskilling of Teachers: The Case of Turkey
893
Design, and the rest are from English, Natural
Sciences, and Geography. Moreover, 40% of them
are from elementary schools, 50% are from middle
schools, and 10% are from the high schools. e
mean age of the participants is 34.
Processes
Semi-structured interview questions have been
prepared to reveal teachers’ experience regarding
whether their work has been transformed
and whether they face pressure while making
educational decisions. Interviews were conducted
in January-May, 2013. Participants were asked
to remain anonymous in order to freely express
themselves, and they were informed in this sense
prior to interviews. Interviews were recorded upon
the permission from participants. Furthermore,
researcher also took quick notes during the
interviews in order to support recordings
(recordings were sucient; therefore, researcher
did not use these notes). Finally, pseudonyms
were used in data analysis in order to maintain
anonymity of participants.
Data Analysis
Data analysis was conducted according to steps
provided by Creswell (2003) for qualitative
research. Firstly, recordings were sorted and
arranged. Secondly, texts were read and reread to
obtain a general idea and to reect on its overall
meaning. irdly, similar topics were clustered and
abbreviated as codes. Fourthly, a smaller number
of themes were generated according to codes
(Table 2). Fihly, ndings were interconnected;
interconnected ndings were discussed, and
descriptive information about participants was
conveyed in a table (Table 1). Sixthly, ndings were
interpreted and compared in the light of literature.
In this way, whether the ndings conrm or diverge
from the past studies are discussed. New questions
that need to be researched are also suggested.
Validity and Reliability
Validity and reliability of qualitative researches
is controversial. Notwithstanding the strategy of
using an external auditor (Creswell, 2003) was
employed in order for validating the accuracy of
ndings. Accordingly, two academicians who are
experts in scientic research worked as external
auditors throughout the process. e researcher
informed auditors about the research process and
nal dra of the article, and auditors provided
assessments. e article was nalized according to
these assessments.
Table 1.
Participants’ Information
Nickname Gender Subject Age Professional Ex-
perience (Years) Type of Institution Grade Level
Ayş e Female Turkish 33 9 Private Middle School
Ali Male Geography 28 8,5 Public High School
Hasan Male Mathematics 40 17 Public High S chool
Onur Male English 29 6,5 Public Elementary School
Haydar Male Class 48 26 Public Elementary School
Yasin Male Class 26 3 Public Elementary School
Emir Male Turkish 41 16 Public Middle School
Eda Female Class 35 14 Public Elementary School
Merve Female Class 44 16 Public Elementary School
Erdal Male Class 40 16 Public Elementary School
Erol Male Technology & Design 32 9 Public Middle School
Elif Female Technology & Design 33 13 Public Middle School
Zeki Male Turkish 36 14 Public Middle School
Ays el Female Turkish 41 8 Public Middle School
Vel i Male S ocial Sciences 28 6 Public Middle School
Seda Female Turkish 31 8 Public Middle School
Ceren Female Class 29 6 Private Elementary School
Nalan Female Class 27 3Private Elementary School
Sevda Female Social Sciences 29 6 Private Middle S chool
Fatih Male Natural Sciences 29 7 Private Middle S chool
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894
Table 2.
Major emes and Codes
emes Codes
Decson-makng
Determne
Decde
Interfere
Bound by
Desgn
Implementaton
Impedment
Autonomy (and chal-
langes)
Challanges
Impedment
Restrctons/support from
parents/admnstrators
Pressure Pressure from parents/inspectors
Testing
Guidebooks
Guiding and orienting
Inspections
Distrust
Pacication
Scripted instruction
Workload
(Unwanted) labor
Intensication
Paperwork/bureaucracy
Exhaustion
Upskilling
Professional respect-
ability
Loss of respect
Status
Questioning/objection
Complaint
Tru st
Future expectations Devaluation
Wor r y
Hope/hopelessness
Findings and Discussion
e following section analyzes research ndings
from in-depth interviews with participating
teachers. e material will be analyzed with
reference to following themes: Decision-making,
autonomy (and challenges), pressure, guidebooks,
workload, professional respectability and future
expectations.
Decision Making
Teachers’ opinions on what topics the students
should be taught seemed to largely correspond with
each other. As such, the study revealed that teachers
had broad decision-making powers that various
factors including curricula restricted. For instance,
Ayşe –who has nine years of teaching experience-
referred to this issue as follows:
e Ministry interferes with the curriculum.
However, they are not too familiar with what goes
on within the classroom. No matter how much
inuence they might have over the curriculum, the
teacher does and will determine the contents. In
other words, school administrators, the Ministry
and even the Minister himself have no power. In
this case, teachers are faced with students. ... No
matter the contents, the teachers determine how
they will convey it to students. e teachers will
decide what examples they provide.
As the above statement indicates, the participating
teacher believed that determining every single
detail of the curriculum would not absolutely
restrict the teacher and her way of teaching. Other
participants (Merve, Seda) also stated that while
the Ministry of National Education determined
what teachers would teach through programs
and guidebooks, teachers’ individual preferences
nonetheless were inuential over how they would
teach (i.e. methodology and techniques). For
instance, Zeki, a Turkish language teacher, argued
that teachers benet from the programs but are
not absolutely bound by them: “We ourselves
determine methodology in line with the curricula/
programs, whose adequacy remains up for debate.
We make up for the programs shortcomings but
their themes play a key role. Still, we all have our
own ways.” Meanwhile, Fatih explains that he could
play an active role in practice while lacking any
involvement in the curriculum/program: “We have
a curriculum that reects the educational approach
of my school which determined the framework. I,
however, design class activities. I take care of design
and implementation.” Ali, a geography teacher,
dened the teacher’s dening role as follows: “For
instance, I did talk about economics and sociology
in my classes. We should not prevent such things if
they help students’ learning.
Eda, a class teacher, also emphasized the importance
of experience and remarked that she personally
decided how she would teach about a given topic
depending on the students’ performance and levels:
“I decide how I would teach and how [students]
would understand better. e topics, however, are
determined centrally.” Another participant (Aysel)
also noted that they change what and how they will
teach depending on the students’ level: “We benet
from methods and techniques that the guidebook
recommends but mostly we have the nal say based
on the students’ conditions. ... ere will be some
exibility in the classroom with regard to methods,
techniques and duration.” Nalan, a class teacher at
a private school, noted that the overall approach
of her institution did not absolutely determine all
aspects of teaching: “We practice direct teaching
but integrate various other approaches including
the traditional approach [into lectures].” Another
participant (Elif) remarked that she asked for
students’ feedback during classes: “I tell them about
the topic. ey voice their own opinions on how we
GÜR / Deskilling of Teachers: The Case of Turkey
895
should proceed.” Another participant (Aysel) said
that she decided on methodology together with
the teachers’ board and students: “We decide as the
teachers’ board. en we reach a decision in the
classroom. We certainly take into account students’
opinions about methodology.” Just like Aysel, Sevda
too emphasizes the role of the teachers’ board: “I
am the head of the teachers’ board so I have more
initiative. I get to organize both the boards activities
and my class contents.” Ceren, a class teacher with a
private school, however, stated that “the education
coordinator decides content and methodology”.
One of the participants (Onur) distinguished
between what will be taught and how it will be
taught, and argued that we can no longer talk
about the teacher’s absolute autonomy with regard
to the latter: “e teacher really does not enjoy
full autonomy on how we should teach but I can
say there is no absolute restriction either.” Many
participants commented that it was necessary to
have certain frameworks along with some room for
teachers’ exibility. Aysel, for instance, remarked that
“extremely strict rules would make it more dicult
for the teacher to teach” and said that “teachers must
be trusted.” Similarly, Haydar -who has 26 years of
teaching experience- touched upon the importance
of harmonizing guidebooks and the teaching
environment: “We have available the Ministry’s
guidebooks that prescribes certain actions.
Furthermore, a teacher watches for the environment
and shows some exibility.” Some participants
(Yasin) expressed that they employ additional
materials based on students’ needs and opinions: “I
read guidebooks and inform myself about the issues
some more. I download tests from the Internet. I pay
attention to what needs to be learned at rst, then
contemplate what I can do about it.” Similarly, Emir
noted that he tried to follow the guidebook and take
into account the environment:
ere are guidebooks that the Ministry sends
us. Most of the time, we teach according to these
instructions and in line with the curriculum.
Sometimes, depending on the exibility of
the subject, we provide some examples about
current issues. What we do, however, is to follow
the guidebook. Ideally, specialized teachers
should also contribute to this process. [ere
are] environmental conditions [and] cultural
dierences. Even within the same school,
there may be classes at dierent levels. erefore,
instructions may be too much [or inadequate]
for some classes. We can reach that balance but
teachers still need to make up their own minds.
In light of these ndings on decision making, it
would seem that the Ministry’s close involvement in
structuring curricula and guidebooks by and large
determines what educators teach. Notwithstanding,
this does not mean that the teachers’ decision
making authority has been completely eliminated.
In contrast, teachers tend to reconcile framework
documents including curricula and guidebooks
with their individual surroundings and make
alterations according to their experiences. In
this context, teachers seem to nd themselves
equipped with a considerable amount of authority
in terms of methodology and approaches.
Moreover, a number of participants do not regard
the availability of guidebooks and common
programs as an impediment on their autonomy.
An earlier study had revealed the same seeming
contradiction: Accordingly, although teachers
believe that centrally-prescribed educational
materials and guidebooks represent a restriction
upon their autonomy, they do not share the view
that such restrictions result in deskilling (Güner,
2011). Such ndings reveal that teachers continue
to feel that they largely maintain decision-making
authority within their classrooms. As such, research
ndings in Turkey dier from alleged restrictions of
teachers’ autonomy in the United Kingdom and the
United States from the 1980s onward (Hargreaves,
2000; Popkewitz, 1991). Perhaps the leading cause
of such dierences may be that Turkish teachers
did not fully experience what Hargreaves famously
calls the age of the autonomous professional. In
other words, the ancient roots of Turkey’s strongly
centrist education system might be related to
Turkish teachers’ failure to identify detailed
programs and guidebooks as an interference with
their professional autonomy.
Autonomy (and Challenges)
e participating teachers’ experiences in
implementation of their own educational ideas
dier. As explained above, some participants told
that they freely implement their own ideas while
others stated that they are restricted due to dierent
factors. A large number of participants told that
they implement their ideas “easily” (Erol), “very
easily” (Aysel), “absolutely” (Eda), and “without
facing any problems,” and that they are “free in the
class” (Zeki) and they can do whatever they want “in
line with the program” (Haydar). ese participants
explained that they face challenges arising from
infrastructure, attitude of school administrators
and parents. For instance, Turkish teacher Emir
EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE
896
noted as follows: “It is impossible to employ the
directives in the guidebooks in 40 minutes. …
Furthermore, some classes are crowded. ere is
not any other [challenge].” Similarly, classroom
teacher Yasin remarked insucient infrastructure
as the biggest challenge: “We have heating problem.
Infrastructure itself is a problem and I don’t have
my own projector. I don’t have any other problems.
In addition to insucient infrastructure, teachers
also noted educational and income level of families
among other obstacles: “Environmental conditions
here are very unfavorable. Families are uneducated;
they have low income. We, of course, pay attention
to these factors while we are trying to convey what
we want to convey. Aer all, these factors have
an inuence-though a little” (Merve). One of the
leading challenges for teachers to implement their
own educational approach is the attitude of school
administrators. Teachers feel free as long as they
receive support from school administrators (Emir).
Onur explained how he implements his own ideas
as follows: “I can implement whatever I want in
this school. I believe that this is because the school
administrator is exible. e administrator did
not interfere in what I did.” Ali also remarked that
there is close relationship with teachers’ experience
and the interference of the school administrator:
“[School administrators], for instance, may interfere
with the work of teachers who seem to be younger,
more inexperienced and troubled. Whether they
are eective is another issue.” Certain attitudes of
school administrators negatively inuence teacher
motivation. For instance Ali stated that even asking
for permission for a weekend tour out of working
hours was a problem.
Same participants remarked certain restrictions
or problems they face while implementing their
own educational ideas. For instance, Ayse, who
has previously worked in a school in a rural area,
explained the pressure from parents and the distrust
of the Ministry of National Education in teachers
as follows: “If we are to compare private schools
and state schools, the parents here are restricting.
Indeed the complaint phone line introduced
by the Ministry of National Education shows
its distrust in teachers whom the state itself has
educated.” Ayse told that parents try to interfere
with how teachers should teach, and private school
administrators fail to support teachers in this
sense. Participating teachers stated insucient
infrastructure and problems in implementation
as the biggest challenges in implementing their
own educational approaches while they did not
consider the Ministry’s determination of how the
assessment and evaluation in education will be by
regulation as a problem. Underlining that they hold
exams according to the textbooks in line with the
ocial regulations, Merve explained exibilities as
follows: “we make other assessment and evaluations
whenever we want; we make written examinations,
evaluations at the end of units, themes or subjects.
Similarly, other participants stated that regulations
are not “limiting” (Erdal) or not “restrictive” (Erol).
In addition to aforementioned positive comments
on the regulation, some participants emphasized
that teachers should decide some details such as “the
number of examinations” (Emir). Interestingly, as
mentioned before, some participants considered the
determinative role of regulations as restrictive, while
other did not. For instance, a classroom teacher, Eda
explained serious restrictions in terms of assessment
and evaluation as follows: “Dierent evaluations
should be adopted. We should be free in this sense.
We are restricted due to the (ocial) regulations.
In brief, teachers believe that they are not strictly
restricted by curricula or ocial rules and
regulations but rather by school administrators or
parents. Interestingly a high number of teachers
do not consider highly detailed curricula and
guidebooks as interference to the professional
autonomy. However, highly detailed ocial
regulations are considered as interference in
professional boundaries by some participants.
ese ndings, as mentioned before, may be related
to the fact that teachers in Turkey did not have
the characteristics of the “age of the autonomous
professional.” e restriction of teachers’ work
by inspectors, parents and programs in Turkey
seem to fall under the category of the “post-
professional or “post-modern age” (Hargreaves,
2000). Interference from other persons such as
parents or inspectors can be related to the fact that
professional boundaries of teaching are not crystal
clear in Turkey. A high number of participants do
not consider the highly detailed determination and
restriction of teaching and learning processes by
the Ministry as a serious constraint.
Pressure
e participants used dierent expressions
about whether or not they were being subject to
any pressure. Some of them straightforwardly
expressed that they did not feel any pressure (Emir,
Eda, and Veli). One of the participants (Haydar)
shared his thoughts by explaining: “I did not feel
pressure,” another participant (Seda) reected her
thoughts as “ere is no pressure; somehow we
GÜR / Deskilling of Teachers: The Case of Turkey
897
nd a middle ground.” On the other hand, some
of the respondents pointed out parents as the most
important source of pressure. Hasan claried this
point as “ere is a group of parents who think
they know everything. Unfortunately, there are
people who have no clue about this job, but try to
learn by reading a few books here and there.” Zeki
conrmed that parent complaints cause anxiety
among teachers, “An ungrounded pressure stems
from parents and education policies. All teachers
fear of complaints. e complaints are not ltered
justly. Another source of pressure is CALL 147
[Ministry’s telephone hotline for complaints from
parents].” Another participant explains the parent
pressure as follows:
We have pressure from parents. From homework
we assign to written tests, they [parents] try
to mix into our business. ‘Why did you give
this assignment? What did you this or that?’ I
mean, there is this issue of parent interference.
We constantly feel as if we will be complained.
We already feel the pressure of the Complaint
Line [CALL 147] anyway. I give up if I have the
slightest doubt about being complained by a
student when I try to make a tiny bit of change;
this kind of pressure. (Veli)
Interferences in teachers’ area of expertise create
a serious loss of motivation and unhappiness.
Some of the participants said that central exams
are also a source of pressure. English teacher Onur
elaborates that administrators pressurize teachers
to be more successful for central/national exams:
Administrators and people from upper posts keep
pressuring and saying ‘Increase the success rate, we
want such and such number of successful students
in the SBS exam [placement test for the high
schools];’ so we concentrate on exams willingly
or unwillingly.” e point worth paying attention
to is that the pressure does not come from outside
but from the administrators in the Ministry of
Education. A private school teacher, Sevda says
that “We were not an institution focusing on the
exams, but the current system urges us to do this
gradually” adding that the exam turns into an
element of pressure.
Another cause of pressure on teachers is the
attitudes and behaviors of inspectors. For instance,
Ayşe, working in a private school, shares her
experience with inspectors as saying:
While I was working in a state-run school, I had
a student who was not even literate. He was in
the 7th grade. At the end of the school year, we
started to comfortably read a book together.
I gave this student a separate written exam,
dierent from other students’ exam, since my
student was living far away. In addition, I also
gave him oral exam. At the end of the school
year, the inspector said to me, ‘is kid barely
reads; but the other is uent in all grammar
rules. How did you give a score of 100 to both?’
So, in this sense you are even questioned by an
inspector and it should be questioned whether or
not an inspector has this authority.
As it is discussed below, teachers resort to
guidebooks because of the attitude of inspectors.
e attitudes of inspectors become a critical
factor of pressure on teachers. e statements
about whether or not teachers are pressurized
are consistent with the statements of the previous
teachers who mentioned about the obstacles that
do not allow them to teach in their own way. e
teachers participating in the research mostly felt
uncomfortable from the pressure they get from
inspectors and complaints for parents. e research
ndings have revealed that the CALL 147 complaint
line seriously pressures teachers and they fear of
being complained. is research brings out to
light that the pressure by parents and exams show
similarities with those on teachers in developing
countries, such as China (Wong, 2006).
Guidebooks
Considering the meaning teachers ascribe to
guidebooks, most participants make positive
assessments about guidebooks:
Guidebooks are just an example. e point is
that we are asked to generate dierent topics
on common attainments out of guidebooks.
erefore, we are expected to make changes. But,
on the other hand, it is possible to cut corners
and follow guidebooks verbatim. I, however,
make changes sometime. Attainments are of
course there. Guidebooks are good guides; they
lead us very well. (Veli)
Guidebooks in general are good. I wish teachers
know the entire content. ese are useful books.
Basic behaviors are written in them. ey are
enough for us. Teachers should also follow
guidebooks. Owing to guidebooks, there is
no need for preparing lesson plans. Plans and
guidebooks go together anyway. But a teacher
notices discrepancies and inadequacies. It does
not necessary to follow guidebooks verbatim.
ey simplify our job; and therefore they help
teachers to focus on their real tasks. (Haydar)
EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE
898
Teachers approve guidebooks especially because
they feel that the guidebooks reduce bureaucratic
burden, simplify teachers’ job and give good
guidance. Some of the participants, on the
other hand, said that they either rarely resort to
guidebooks or not use them at all. e main reason
is given as “inadequacy” (Fatih, Elif) and “too much
typo” (Aysel). English teacher Onur elaborates this
as “I started to teach Turkish this year because
there was no Turkish teacher. So, I examined the
guidebook for Turkish teachers. I denitely can tell
that it was ‘poor’. ere are typos even for simple
things.” In addition, a class teacher in a private
school, Nalan, said, “I don’t resort to the guidebook
because I don’t like it.
Despite these criticisms about guidebooks, some
teachers said that they use guidebooks because of
the pressure coming from the inspectors:
We do use the guidebook. It’s useful but not so
well prepared. ere are typos that have not been
corrected for years. Its not comprehensive either.
If it is well prepared, the guidebook may be useful
for teachers. If some experts work on it, it will be
really useful. We are not expected to follow the
guidebook exactly. ere are dierences region
to region. In this sense, the guidebook doesn’t
pressure us. What is important is not to lose the
essence of the content. But of course, the teacher
should be skillful. When inspectors check
whether we use the guidebooks, this creates
pressure on us. If you strictly follow guidebooks,
your freedom in classroom will be limited. (Zeki)
Some inspectors check to see if we are following
guidebooks. Some of them especially pay
attention to this, i.e., I mean whether the
guidebooks have been used, underlined or
crossed. (Merve)
I am upset that they focus on details as if the
teacher doesn’t know anything. ey focus on
details unnecessarily… But the positive side of
using guidebooks is that when you scan through
a guidebook just a few days before the class,
something pops up in your mind about what
and how you will teach students. Obviously, it is
educating you. e negative side of this is you are
limited by the guidebook content and it most of
the time doesn’t allow you explore other things.
Let me tell you this: e inspector came into
the class, opened the guidebook, and checked
whether it was underlined or not. … I even
know a friend who was scolded by an inspector
like “Don’t you use it?” Because the guidebook
was clean. (Emir)
In addition to these excerpts, other participants
also said that they are asked by inspectors to use
the guidebooks. e participating teachers have
developed dierent tactics to avoid pressure from
the inspector. For instance, class teacher Erdal
explained what kind of a tactic he has developed:
“Inspectors want to see guidebooks that are
underlined. I have a guidebook from years ago,
it’s underlined. When they come, I show it.” Some
of the responders confess that they do not strictly
follow guidebooks as some others said that they
occasionally use them. For instance, Yasin says that
“I can tell that the guidebook doesn’t limit us and
incorporate teachers in the process. No one told me
to follow a guidebook for 100 percent. A guidebook
leads a teacher but cannot inform the teacher about
every single detail.” According to Seda, a guidebook
doesn’t limit teachers. She says “Guidebooks lead
me, but honestly they are not my rst resort. I want
to make use of dierent sources.
Some of the participants expressed discomfort for the
role assigned to teachers in guidebooks. Onur says
that these books make teachers passive and approach
teachers as if they are just narrators. According to
Eda, the main reason for the role assigned to teachers
is related to the administration: “the administration
suggests us to directly follow the guidebook
[because] the Ministry of Education doesn’t trust
teachers.” While Ayşe becomes more critical about
the Ministry, she says “Teachers never use and
read the guidebooks prepared by the Ministry
which treats teachers as they are fools.” is is quite
problematic, laments Ae saying “e owner of the
publishing house, where I was working when the
idea of using guidebooks was introduced, had said
A guidebook should be prepared well in a way that
even if a doorkeeper getting into class should be able
to teach with the help of this book.’ Ayşe asserts that
this is the logic entertained by not only publishers but
also by the Ministry. Ayşe went on to say:
is perception isn’t originated by publishers
only. A publisher adopts such a perception to sell
books to the Ministry. I mean, it was the demand.
So, we wrote something to meet the demand.
is was what we did in that period. When I rst
heard about using guidebooks, I thought it will
be good, I thought some additional sources will
be given and I thought referrals will be made. So,
we sat and wrote a guidebook. It was exactly ‘a
textbook for dummies’ kind.
Ayşe asserts the logic behind guidebooks is
problematic, but, she says, it is more problematic
if some teachers follow guidebooks letter by letters.
GÜR / Deskilling of Teachers: The Case of Turkey
899
In general, the ndings demonstrate that teachers
think guidebooks are very useful and that they do
not question the role ascribed to teachers in these
books are similar to the ndings in the previous
studies (Çelik, 2012). In addition, these ndings
are compatible with some in the previous studies
in Turkey that have revealed the fact that some of
the inspectors expect teachers to use guidebooks
verbatim (Taneri, 2011). Some of the participants
associate the logic behind preparation and
implementation of guidebooks to the distrust the
Ministry feels towards teachers. It may be said
that teachers’ tasks are kept under control to a
great extent through guidebooks. As Apple (1988)
pointed out, plans of teaching are predetermined
and teachers are reduced to the level of practitioner;
these keep teachers under control. Considering the
fact that some inspectors, in particular, have asked
teachers to use guidebooks faithfully, teachers in
Turkey to some extent lose control over their works.
When viewed from this aspect, the situation in
Turkey shows some similarities with the situation
in developed countries (Hall, 2004) where central
control is tightened and teachers are deprived of
their professional autonomy and skills.
Workload
Findings about the changes in the role and profession
of teachers indicate a critical transformation in
recent years. e participants purported that there
has been an increase in workloads of teachers,
extracurricular activities in particular:
Piles of paper works are assigned to teachers.
e inspector asks of us a lot… Group studies
etc. are reasonable, but there are superuous
bureaucratic burdens, too. We are tired of
institutional reports etc. is is not our job.
(Haydar)
Right now, we are going through a period
of change in the understanding of teaching
and education. In the past, we were in a well-
respected position in the society, but now we are
under pressure as if we are obliged to do some
things, home visits are one of them. I am having
a 15-minute parent-teacher meeting, but lling
out a three pages long form. (Ayşe)
e participants are most disturbed by the increase
of paperwork. is generally entails lling out
various forms and questionnaires: “Especially
lling out questionnaires is too much. Some are
useful. It’s OK if this reaches the goal but there are
some extra chores… ere is a constant increase.
(Merve) Similarly, Eda complains about lling out
too many forms, “We have a lot of chores… We
make the announcement about family doctors to
parents, etc. I think we have so many drudgeries
whether or not they are related to us.” Teachers
describe these papers as errands and said that they
ll out these papers because it is imposed, because
this is only for show, and that they are not very
useful for students: “ere are so many paper works
to do. Everything is on paper.” (Zeki). According to
the participants, excessive workload means “taking
work home” (Ayşe), “working until bedtime”
(Ceren) and “being busy all the time” and “always
feeling tired” as a result (Nalan). Heavy load of
extracurricular activities negatively aects quality
of lectures, and even private life: “Workload makes
me unhappy because it is reected on my normal
life” (Nalan). A science teacher in a private school,
Fatih, describes the extracurricular activities as
follows: “due to dierent implementations in the
institution I work for, I have to work at least two
hours at home.
Some of the participants said there is an increase
in extracurricular activities, some others did
not. Teachers are involved in additional activities
for the improvement of students. is increases
workload outside the class hours. Turkish teacher
Seda explains these activities as follows: “ere
is counseling. I meet with students and parents
outside to see if I can help any further. Besides
this, we have our own activities outside the school;
activities that we can keep children busy with
socially and psychologically.” Geography teacher
Ali makes similar comments, “parent visits…
various tasks assigned by the administrators. I
recently have observed that schools are getting
more competitive in fraternity and social activities.
As for the workload indirectly related to education,
Eda says, “As the system improves, teachers should
do this and that, it has been told; the work of the
headman of the neighborhood or of registrar,
etc. Once we have registered the illiterate citizens
during door-to-door visits.” An English teacher
with 6.5 years in profession, Onur, talks about the
increasing workload as:
We have so many works at school, especially
administrative works. If you are an English
teacher, you have more work to do. e
European Union projects and international
projects require foreign language. So, English
teachers are assigned to these kinds of works.
Other than these, we are involved in school
improvement and administration teams, total
EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE
900
quality management implementations, etc. All
of these are non-essential bureaucratic chores
for teachers and I don’t think they contribute
to education. … Instead of getting prepared for
classes, I am dealing with paperwork, making
analyses, writing reports and preparing for
award programs.
In addition to the project and total quality
management, other works that increase
extracurricular load are works of activities on
certain days and weeks. Emin claries: “We are
Turkish teachers. Special days are usually inicted
on us. For instance, today is March 12, National
Anthem Day. We will have a ceremony shortly.
We organize the April 23 and May 19 national
holidays as well.” Another Turkish teacher Ayşe
adds that extracurricular activities vary depending
on branches, “We coach students at the theatre club
and try to do something descent about the April
23 Children’s Day… Literature teacher organize
the National Oath and the National Anthem
ceremonies as well as the Mehmet Akif Memorial
Day. Actually, this is a little bit showcase work.
Turkish teacher Aysel talks about extracurricular
activity load, “Aer the class or aer the school, or in
my free hours, I am additionally preparing students
who are preparing for contests in the province. My
workload comes from social activities.
As seen in the responses, the workload of Turkish
teachers is oen related to extracurricular activities.
One of the factors increasing extracurricular
workload is that shortcomings in schools are
generally met by teachers. For instance, technology
and design teacher Erol also provides technical
support to his school: “When there is a technical
problem, I take care of it. But it takes plenty of time.
I even can be called during class hours”. Dierently
from the aforementioned xations, some of the
participants (Hasan) said that their extracurricular
activities do not require much time. Technology
and design teacher Elif, emphasizing that the
extracurricular activities are not increasing, says
that: “ere have always been paper works; now the
situation is not dierent.
One of the changes in workload of teachers is about
new skills. For instance, a class teacher in a private
school, Nalan, expressing that she spends extra
time to learn something new, says that: “ere is
mental arithmetic for instance. We had to learn
this, too. OK, we, as teachers, improve our personal
skills and abilities, but this is still for me.” About the
attainment of new skills, Emir says this: “In-service
trainings, especially in technology, that I have had
in the last eight years are remarkably useful for me.
Hasan also explained that they attend new seminars
about the Fatih Project and have new skills.
As seen in the aforementioned views that one of the
changes in the role and routines of teachers is the
increase in workload. is nding overlaps with
those of the researches that have been conducted
so far in the developed countries, the US, Australia
and Britain in particular (Apple, 1988; Easthope &
Easthope, 2000; Hall, 2004). e ndings reveal
that teachers spend a great deal of their time for
extracurricular activities. is nding is also
consistent with the ndings of studies in Turkey
and other countries. e workload of teachers has
increased in many countries due to extracurricular
activities varying from student center training
reforms to entering data and parent-teacher meetings
(Altunoğlu, 2012; Hargreaves, 1994). Besides, these
ndings seem to be inconsistent with the belief that
teachers spend just 15-20 hours for in-class teaching
and work less than other civil servants in Turkey.
Professional Respectability
According to the participants, another change is
related to respect towards teachers. ey said that
students are not as respectful to their teachers as
they were in the past and that the prestige of the
teaching profession is decreasing:
My concern is that student behaviors have
changed a lot in a negative way… I think the
prestige of teaching is decreasing. (Merve)
Teachers are losing prestige. is profession
has started to become a [routine] civil service
rather than a real profession. Expectations
are high. Families and superiors as well have
expectations. We have deciencies in terms of
authority and responsibility. ere are discipline
issues in secondary schools. We cannot inict a
disciplinary punishment. (Zeki)
Another point that the participants draw attention
to is that it is easy to complain about teachers.
Erdal says “ere are complaints always. I think
ministries see teachers as baby-sitters.” Another
participant Elif relates the change of role in teaching
profession to the change in perspectives of parents:
“Social status has changed a lot. e perspective
has changed… ‘do what I say; if you don’t, I will
issue a complaint!’ is is the most pathetic part I
guess.” Aysel, who has eight years of experience in
teaching, says the following about the nature of the
relations between student, parents, and teachers:
GÜR / Deskilling of Teachers: The Case of Turkey
901
I may not have enough experience in this
profession, but every passing day, I see that
students are really disrespectful towards teachers
perhaps as a result of the state of aairs in this
province. Parents regard us as an employee
not as experienced professionals. But this is
a profession of heart, of love. ey come as if
they will hold us accountable “You must do this,
you will do this.” Teachers today are not found
trustworthy as they were in the past and are
not paid attention. ey always call teachers to
account. … I think CALL 147 negatively aects
the prestige of teachers. Students look condent
because they think like “If I have a problem, with
my mom I will call school and complain about
my teacher.” Even there are attitudes like “You
cannot do this, or that, or I will complain” against
administrators. ese rights are exercised always
without thinking and under any circumstances.
Similarly, Turkish teacher Seda refers to a serious
change: “ere is a change in parents. Parents`
perspective about teachers has changed. ey
question more and more... Students oen feel
free. ey are treating us as if we can be held
accountable.” Some participants believe the
change in parent behavior has something to do
with parents’ not paying attention to the childs
education and blaming the teacher instead:
[ey think that] teachers should be more
active on occasions when parents are not. e
reason is that parents fail to develop a desirable
attitude especially during the puberty period
of children; therefore, expect of teachers to ll
this gap. In case of crises, parents hold teachers
responsible rather than the family environment
or the development of the student. is is yet
another dimension. at is to say, parents have
always been there as the third party, but it seems
that now the burden are on teachers more than
parents; especially while mothers now participate
in business life. (Fatih)
In addition, another pivotal change is the changes
in curricula and pedagogy. For instance, Geography
teacher Ali saying that a student-centered approach
causes some problems: “It’s been told all along that
teachers are seen as guides… But I will say bluntly
that teachers are seen as servants rather than
guides.
In general, participants say respect for teachers is
decreasing and there is a change in parents’ attitude
towards teachers. is is in line with the ndings
that teachers live in a world of ambiguities and that
parents seriously question some values that are the
description of teaching profession such as respect
and trust (Day, 2000). Besides, it has been revealed
that teachers face a severe loss of motivation resultant
of the transformation they experience. e nding
is consistent with the ndings of the researches that
indicate decrease in teachers’ motivation especially in
developing countries (VSO, 2002). In the same vein,
the studies conducted by a trade union of teachers
in Turkey have brought to the light that teachers are
pessimistic about the prestige of teaching profession
and that this pessimism increases in time (Eğitim-
Bir-Sen, 2004, 2008).
Future Expectations
It has been revealed that almost all of the teachers
have serious concerns about the future of the
teaching profession. Several ndings reecting
despair, concerns and anxieties are as follow:
My biggest concern is devaluation of this
profession. (Hasan)
Aer seeing students of today, I think the
teaching profession is losing its value. (Sevda)
I am worried. I believe it is getting worse;
teaching as a profession is being less respected.
(Erol)
Youngsters will not dream about this profession
and it will be less popular. (Zeki)
I have my concerns. I think respect for teaching
will decrease more. (Eda)
By looking at the past, I can say that respect for
teachers is lessening… In the eye of people, a
teacher is regarded as a person who works part
time and sleeps the other part but has a three-
month summer vacation. (Yasin)
A teacher is regarded as a person who does
nothing but a burden on the state. (Fatih)
I don’t have any hope. ere is a pessimistic
picture of teachers. (Elif)
No one will be willing to become a teacher in the
future. (Erdal)
As it is seen in the above excerpts, teachers are
seriously concerned about the future and have no
hope. ey believe the teaching profession is no
longer respected and is less appreciated as time
goes by. One of the basic reasons behind this is the
changing perceptions about teachers. With his 28
years’ experience in teaching, Haydar explains this
change in the following way: “Due to economic
concerns, the teaching profession is losing prestige.
EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE
902
e society today perceives teaching dierently;
sees this profession as a lower class and doesn’t
value enough.” On the other hand, some of the
participants are not as pessimistic. Ayşe having
a nine-year teaching experience believes that the
profession of teaching will survive as “it is an old
tradition and has committed to ancient traditions.
In brief, the ndings indicate that teachers face a
severe motivation problem; they are concerned
about the future of this profession and are hopeless.
is is consistent with the ndings of a previous
research conducted in developing countries in
particular and revealed that teacher motivation is
dropping gradually (VSO, 2002). Studies in the US
also show that the decrease in motivation is related
to the ineectiveness of teachers in almost any
subject regarding students (Ingersoll, 2012).
Conclusion
As being partially consistent with the deskilling
thesis (Apple, 1988), teachers in Turkey are also
deprived of some skills, such as outlining syllabus
or writing lesson plans, but gain new skills such as
using technology or learning mental arithmetic.
However, it is seen in the overall results that a
majority of the primary and secondary school
teachers who participate in the research nd
guidebooks very useful, resort to them, and do not
question the role of a teacher attributed to them
in these books. On the other hand, some of the
participants relate the logic behind the preparation
and implementation of guidebooks to the distrust
of the Ministry of National Education towards
teachers. is is conrmed by the attitude of some
inspectors who check guidebooks whether or not
they are underlined by teachers. In this perspective,
the situation in Turkey is even worse than the
situation in the developed countries, where the
central control is increased, teachers lose control
over their own profession and skills (Hall, 2004).
However, what is partially dierent from the
deskilling thesis has been that the predetermination
of all teacher tasks even to the tiniest detail by
means of guidebooks aects teachers’ works in
a limited way. In other words, although control
mechanisms determine works of teachers in detail
and some inspectors expect them to strictly follow
guidebooks, this does not mean that teachers will
apply this plan verbatim and have no agency. On
the contrary, teachers believe that they have an area
of action to make any changes they wish to make
within the general framework of the curricula. e
research results indicate that teachers still believe to
have the decision-making power to a critical extent
in class. However, although some teachers say to
have the freedom to make any changes in their
way of teaching in class, they still seem to depend
signicantly on guidebooks (Çelik, 2012). An
overall assessment shows that the deskilling thesis
is deterministic and not strong enough to explain
the capabilities of adopting changes, experiences
and agencies of teachers in Turkey.
One of the intriguing ndings in this research
is related to teachers’ professional boundaries.
Although many teachers do not consider the very
ne details in the curricula and guidebooks as a
limitation on the sphere of their profession, they
do see the involvement of inspectors or parents
as a restriction. is result diers from the theses
claiming the existence of a serious limitation to
teachers’ area of profession through textbooks,
and basal readers in particular, auxiliaries and
ready-made course materials in countries such as
the US and Britain in the post-1980s (Hargreaves,
2000; Popkewitz, 1991; Shannon, 1989). Within the
scope of this research, is has been suggested that
such a dierence might be related to the fact that
teachers in Turkey have never fully experienced the
“age of the autonomous professional” (Hargreaves,
2000). Indeed, the education system in Turkey has
a longstanding centrist approach. Consequently,
a majority of teachers in Turkey do not see the
very detailed curricula, guidebooks and the
instructions that explain every step of teaching
as an intervention to their professionalism. On
the other hand, teachers in Turkey believe that
inspectors and parents seriously limit teachers’
works. is reects the characteristics of the age
of the “post-professional” or the “post-modern
era” (Hargreaves). As part of this research, the
involvement of parents and inspectors with
teachers is related to the fact that the professional
limits of the teaching profession have not clearly
formed in Turkey.
In conclusion, the results of this research have
revealed that, as is the case in many developing
and developed countries, the role and profession
of teachers in Turkey are also undergoing serious
changes. For instance, similar to those obtained in
many developed countries and Turkey (Altunoğlu,
2012; Hargreaves, 1994), there are ndings showing
that extracurricular activities of teachers are
increasing. On the other hand, the assessments of
the teachers participating in the research are that
the traditional respect for teachers has decreased
already and that parents and inspectors question
GÜR / Deskilling of Teachers: The Case of Turkey
903
teachers’ works more and more. ese assessments
are in tune with those made in other countries
(Day, 2000). Besides, again similar to the ndings
in developing countries (VSO, 2002), the ndings
in Turkey indicate that teachers have a serious loss
of motivation resulting from the transformation
that they experience and that they are seriously
concerned about the future of the teaching
profession.
Suggestions
Teachers’ development of a clear denition
of their professional domain represents
an important factor for both raising their
awareness about their tasks and responsibilities
and preventing interventions from parents,
inspectors and the Ministry. As such, education
unions and professional associations should
assume a more active role in marking the
professional boundaries and autonomy of
teachers.
is study revealed that teachers’ workload
has increased. Additional research is necessary
in this area. Such research may challenge the
conventional wisdom that teachers do not work
hard as others and inform the discussions of
public policy related to teaching and teachers
salaries.
Additional research is necessary to analyze
similarities and dierences between Turkey and
other countries in term of teachers’ work. For
instance, the correlation between gender and
increased control in the United States (Apple,
1988) did not emerge in in-depth interviews
with Turkish teachers in this study. Additional
research is necessary as this dierence might
reect contextual factors. Moreover, additional
research is necessary to develop a better
understanding of how Turkish teachers perceive
professionalism.
Within the scope of this study, some evidence
has been revealed that teachers in private schools
are subject to greater outside control than
their colleagues in public schools. Additional
research should be carried out to shed light on
the frequency of such discrepancy and its causes.
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... Contrary to the arguments in the literature that teacher's guidebooks prevent teachers' autonomy, there are studies in which teachers stated that teacher's guidebooks are useful. Teachers expressed that they receive support from teacher's guidebooks on many subjects, especially on planning, method and technique, and that they want to continue to receive support (Genc et al., 2014;Gur, 2014;Gocer, 2011;Guner, 2011). The fact that the teacher's guidebooks have just been removed from the curriculum makes teachers' experiences and opinions about the teacher's guidebooks important. ...
... The instructions in the teacher's guidebooks explaining what teachers do during the teaching process were found beneficial by many teachers in this study. Various study results in this field also put forth that teachers benefit from teacher's guidebooks and have positive thoughts about them (Gocer, 2011;Gocer & Akturk, 2015;Guner, 2011;Gur, 2014;Sari, 2018). The instructions in the teacher's guidebooks that explain to the smallest detail what the teacher should do during the teaching process actually restrict teacher's autonomy during the teaching process. ...
... The instructions in the teacher's guidebooks that explain to the smallest detail what the teacher should do during the teaching process actually restrict teacher's autonomy during the teaching process. The studies conducted in Turkey on teacher autonomy argued that teachers felt autonomous during the teaching process and they did not believe the teacher's guidebooks interfere with their autonomy (Gur, 2014, Sari, 2018. ...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study is to determine the Turkish Language teachers' views on the removal of teacher's guidebooks from the curriculum. This study employed case study, one of the qualitative research designs. The study group consisted of 66 Turkish Language teachers. The study group was formed using the maximum variation sampling, one of the purposeful sampling methods. A structured interview form developed by the researcher was used in collection of data. Content analysis was employed to analyze the data obtained from the participants. The majority of the participating teachers stated that they did not approve the removal of the teacher's guidebooks. Teachers expressed that they did not approve the removal of the teacher's guidebooks due to their positive contribution to the teaching of the lessons and preparation for the lesson, and due to their contribution to the course's standards, and stated that should be reprinted.
... This research has intended to contribute to the theoretical knowledge of ELT/ TESOL by providing new knowledge regarding the influences on TPI in less researched contexts such as the Arab World, where teachers of English as a Second or Foreign language (L2) are non-native speakers of the English language. Since this research was carried out on L2 professionals in a developing non-Western country (namely Oman), it responded to calls by researchers to conduct more research in non-Western and developing countries (GÜR, 2014;Cheung, 2015). This research also added to EFL/ TESOL research on the area of TPI in relation to the factors that may affect this identity in a context of curriculum prescription, an area that has received less attention from researchers. ...
... Similarly, the current finding supports this observation from Oman and is consistent with the conclusion of a study conducted in Turkey, which has a comparable educational system to Oman. The Turkish study by GÜR (2014) suggests that teachers feel autonomous regardless of the level of curriculum prescription. GÜR (2014) also states that the teachers in Turkey think being autonomous is synonymous with modifying and adapting their teaching. ...
... The reasoning behind this contradiction between what teachers say about beingautonomous and what they actually do in practice might indicate some lack of understanding about what it means to be an autonomous teacher. This could be attributed to the fact that teachers' have never experienced being autonomous in their career lives as the Turkish teachers inGÜR's (2014) study. This may also be a result of the teachers' lack of knowledge about alternative curriculum designs as well as a misunderstanding of what being autonomous actually means in practice. ...
... Öğretmen özerkliği milli eğitim politikaları gündeminde bu ölçüde önemli ve güncel bir yer tutarken, öğretmenlerin var olan ve olası politikalara ilişkin görüşleri konusunda bilgimiz oldukça sınırlıdır (Karabacak, 2014). Var olan çalışmalar daha çok öğretmenlerin mesleki özerkliklerini nasıl ve ne ölçüde kullandığını incelemiştir (Bümen, Çakar ve Yıldız, 2014;Çolak ve Altınkurt, 2017;Gür, 2014;Üzüm, 2014). Bu bağlamda, çalışmanın temel amacı, Türk eğitim sistemi açısından ortaöğretim düzeyinde var olan ve olası öğretmen özerkliği politikalarını öğretmen görüşleri aracılığıyla çözümlemektir. ...
... Literatür taraması yöntemiyle "öğretim programına sadakat" (curriculum fidelity) konusu inceleyen Bümen ve diğerleri (2014) her ne kadar merkezi bir eğitim sistemi olsa da öğretmenlerin öğretim programlarında kişisel tercihlerine ve öğrenci ihtiyaçlarına göre değişiklik yaptığını savunmaktadır. Nitel durum çalışması yönteminden yararlanarak Gür (2014), ayrıntılı öğretim programlarının ve öğretmen kılavuz kitaplarının öğretmenlerin mesleki özerkliklerini sınırlamadığı bulgusuna erişmiştir. Muğla ilinde gerçekleştirdikleri nicel çalışma ile Çolak ve Altınkurt (2017) bu bulguları doğrulamıştır. ...
... Sistemin öğretmenlere geniş bir hareket alanı bırakmaması, ders programlarının yapısı, denetleme anlayışı ve uygulamaları, mesleki yetersizlikle ilgili kimi sorunlar ve eksiklikler öğretmenlerin öğretim sürecini tasarlama ve uygulama süreçlerine etkin bir biçimde katılmalarını engellemektedir. Ancak Gür (2014) ayrıntılı programlar ve öğretmen kılavuz kitaplarının öğretmenlerin mesleki alanlarını sınırlamadığı bulgusuna erişmiştir. Bümen ve diğerlerine (2014) göre Türkiye'de merkezi bir eğitim sistemi olmasına karşın MEB tarafından geliştirilen öğretim programları uygulanırken, öğretmenler, bireysel deneyimleri ve öğrenci özelliklerine bağlı olarak değişiklik yapmaktadır. ...
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Türkiye'de öğretmenlerin mesleki özerkliği uzun yıllardır sınırlı olmakla birlikte son dönemde Millî Eğitim Bakanlığı tarafından geliştirilen birçok üst politika belgesinde öğretmen özerkliğinin geliştirilmesi hedeflenmektedir. Var olan ve olası politikalar temelinde Türkiye'de genel ortaöğretim düzeyinde öğretmen özerkliğini öğretmen görüşleri aracılığıyla çözümlemeyi amaçlayan bu araştırmada karma araştırma desenlerinden açımlayıcı sıralı desen kullanılmıştır. Araştırmanın nicel boyutunda veriler aşamalı tabakalı yöntemle farklı bölge, okul türü ve branştan 12.329 öğretmenden, "Öğretmen özerklik ölçeği" ile toplanmıştır. Nicel bulgulara ait derinlemesine bilgi elde etmek amacıyla maksimum çeşitlilik örnekleme yöntemiyle farklı bölge, okul türü ve branştan 12 öğretmen ile araştırmacı tarafından geliştirilen yarı yapılandırılmış görüşme formu aracılığıyla nitel veriler toplanmıştır. Araştırma sonucunda öğretmenlerin öğretmen politikaları ile ilişkili; mesleki özerkliğin bütün boyutlarını büyük ölçüde veya tamamen benimsediği bulgusuna erişilmiştir. Öğretimsel özerklik, yönetsel özerklik, kişisel ve mesleki gelişim özerkliği boyutlarına ilişkin var olan ve olası politikalar büyük ölçüde uygulanabilir bulunmakta iken mali özerklik boyutu orta derecede uygulanabilir bulunmaktadır. Öğretmenlerin öğretimsel özerkliği sınırlı olmakla birlikte bu sınırlı alanda aldıkları kararların etkileri konusundaki sorumlulukları da sınırlıdır. Öğretmenlerin özerklik ve sorumlulukları arasında her ikisini de olumlu yönde geliştirecek bir denge sağlanması gerekmektedir. Merkezi düzeyde geliştirilen çerçeve öğretim programları doğrultusunda, öğretmenlerin öğretimsel özerkliklerinin artırılması ve bu geniş alanda aldıkları kararlardan sistematik bir biçimde sorumlu olmalarını özendirecek politikalar uygulanmalıdır. Bu politikalar standartlaştırılmış ve test merkezli olmayan esnek ve dengeli hesap verilebilirlik yaklaşımlarını içermelidir.
... According to Wong (2006), deskilling is the transformation process of a profession from highly skilled work into highly unskilled work. In this deskilling process, as emphasized by Gür (2014), teachers are increasingly losing control over their work. As a result, they become workers who just implement the curriculum like robots and are technicians devoid of autonomy. ...
... This point indicates that they have recognized the danger posed by guidebooks in deskilling process. The literature indicates a fairly extensive research which deals with the nature and effects of deskilling process in teaching profession (Acker, 1999;Apple, 1988;Apple and Teitelbaum, 1986;Easthope and Easthope, 2000;Giroux, 2011;Goodman, 1988;Gür, 2014;Hargreaves, 1992Hargreaves, , 1994Seddon, 1997). However, it seems that educational scientists are slow to deal with the issue in terms of teacher guidebooks because no studies were found to have analysed guidebooks and the teachers' views on these books regarding the professional deskilling process, while it is clear that this approach without any chance for teachers' autonomy will make teachers more ineffective, destroy their autonomy, and eliminate the possibility to arrange the instruction according to students' individual characteristics. ...
... In this respect, teachers indicated that they saw the guidebooks particularly useful for "contribution to professional development and performance" and "contribution to planning and implementation". In other studies about the topic, teachers expressed favourable opinions on guidebooks in a similar way (Ayvacı and Er-Nas, 2009;Genç et al., 2014;Göçer and Aktürk, 2015;Gür, 2014;Kırmızı, 2013). Based on these results, it can be said that the teachers generally adopt and use the guidebooks. ...
... As one of those educational contexts, Turkey has also adopted a centralized approach in provision of countrywide education. Centralized practices consist of curricula, education materials and textbooks determined by the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) (Gür, 2014). Teachers feel the need to comply with the principles of this centralization, as reflected in the comments of many teachers emphasizing that they were expected to be committed to the pre-determined educational approach and to follow guidelines for measurement and evaluation purposes (Taneri, 2011). ...
... Teachers also reported that their classroom practices were restricted due to the interference of MoNE with the curriculum (Gür, 2014), which serves as a threat to teachers' agency and their use of professional space. ...
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The present small-scale study aimed to investigate teacher agency from the perspective of in-service language teachers in relation to their perceived professional space. It specifically aimed to have an understanding of factors contributing to teacher agency positively and negatively. To this end, eight Turkish EFL teachers working at private and state schools and various education levels were asked to reflect on their own perceived and exploited professional space in semi-structured interviews and storylines. The in-depth analysis of the data revealed three types of trajectories in agency: contested agency, gradual growth of agency and failure in achievement of agency. In these trajectories, it was found out that teachers’ own motivation, material adaptation, cooperation of colleagues and technological equipment promote teacher agency, whereas some factors such as pressure from administration and parents, centralized curriculum and exams, workload and crowded classes serve as obstacles in the process. In line with the results, some implications for the development of teacher agency and also insights for teacher education programs were provided.
... In addition to the growing number of teachers in Türkiye, rapid and continuous changes in the education system, increasing and diversifying roles of teachers, and growing opportunity gaps between schools mean new heavy burdens for Turkish teachers (Gür, 2014;Özoğlu et al., 2013;Yurdakul et al., 2016). All these circumstances can be asserted to impel teachers to search for new schools where they might find an easy-to-work environment and relieve this growing burden, which causes teacher turnover to be a common phenomenon, especially in particular regions and provinces (Özoğlu, 2015;Turhan & Memduhoglu, 2022). ...
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This study examined the relationships among school principals' distributed leadership, teachers' psychological capital, trust in the principal, work engagement, and turnover intention. The research sample consisted of 397 primary and secondary school teachers. The study employed a cross-sectional survey design using quantitative methods. Distributed Leadership Scale, Psychological Capital Questionnaire-Short Form, Utrecht Work Engagement Scale-Ultra short version, Trust in the Principal Scale, and Teachers' Intent to Move to Another School Scale were used to gather the data. Multiple mediator analysis in structural equation modeling (SEM) with the bootstrapping method was used to analyze the direct and indirect effects of dependent variables on teachers' turnover intentions. 95 % confidence intervals were calculated using 2000 samples to examine the mediating effects. The results indicated that the direct effects of distributed leadership and psychological capital on teachers' turnover intentions are insignificant. Psychological capital negatively and indirectly affects turnover intentions through work engagement while distributed leadership negatively and indirectly influences turnover intentions via work engagement and trust in principal. The study emphasized the role of job and personal resources in understanding teachers' turnover intentions. Based on the results, principals are recommended to demonstrate distributed leadership behaviors to build trust and use intervention strategies to strengthen teachers' psychological capacities if they want to lower teachers' turnover intentions.
... An increasing number of articles and studies reveal that students, academics, and administrative staff have been radically transformed in their way of working, experience, and skills, thus alienating academics from decision-making and work (Coaldrake,, 2000;Deem and Lucas, 2007;McCarty, et al., 2017;Schapper and Mayson, 2005). Similarly, there are concerns that teachers and academics have lost control of their own work, because they have become domesticated or are far removed from determining the goals of education (Creasy, 2018;Gür, 2014;Macfarlane, 2011). Especially for the language teachers it is argued that motivation not only affects skills development but also affects teaching, professional development and all skills in general (Guo et al., 2020). ...
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Utilizing in-depth interviews with 14 lecturers teaching English in foreign language departments at two state and two private universities in Ankara, capital of Turkey, this study aims to discover the direction of skills transformation of these lecturers. The results show that they assumed new roles and acquired new skills, but also lacked some critical skills. Work intensification, inadequate professional development opportunities, exclusion from decision-making processes, and increasing managerial control result in deskilling in both research and pedagogy. The research findings also show that work environment is unable to provide professional development and to increase the motivation of the lecturers teaching English, placing them at a disadvantage in universities. Lecturers who think that their ideas are considered unimportant or ignored tend to lose their motivation to improve some professional skills. This study revealed that the most noticeable issue facing foreign language lecturers in the higher education system is their marginalized and undervalued status.
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First Published in 1988. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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