Personal Qualities Of Teachers' As Factors Of Their Psychological Well-Being

Abstract

The article is dedicated to the problem of ensuring the psychological safety of primary schoolchildren in the educational environment, which is relevant for primary education. An important condition for ensuring the children’s safety is the psychological well-being of the teacher’s personality, which helps to create psychological comfort in the classroom, remove psycho-logical barriers, and create psychologically safe conditions for the children’s development. This problem is of particular importance for inclusive education. The article analyzes the results of a study of the personal qualities of primary school teachers as factors in their psychological well-being. The correlation between the indicators of the scales according to the six-factor model of psychological well-being by K. Ryff, a technique based on the eudaimonistic approach, the main idea of which is to understand that personal growth is a prerequisite for experiencing psychological well-being, and the personal characteristics of teachers, measured using 16 factor personality questionnaire by R. Cattell. The personal qualities of elementary school teachers associated with their psychological well-being were determined: geniality, openness; the power of "I", emotional maturity, emotional stability; self-confidence; tendency to take the lead/be a leader; courage; calmness; self-sufficiency; equanimity, relaxedness. Qualities that impede psychological well-being: insularity, detachment; weakness of "I"; compliance; timidity; diffidence; tendency to feeling guilty; group dependence; constraint. The results of the study can be taken into account when selecting teachers for inclusive classes, as well as for the development of psychological support programs for personal and professional self-development of teachers and also in the practice of psychological counselling.

Keywords: Psychological safetypsychological well-beingpersonality of an elementary school teacherpersonal qualities

Introduction

The significance of the topic of psychological well-being of an elementary school teacher is due to the fact that the teacher is a key figure in the educational process of elementary school, and it is the psychological safety of students in the educational environment that depends on it in many respects. (Belyaeva, & Belyaeva, 2012). Primary school teacher Kovrigina (2013) notes that ensuring psychological safety and comfort in the classroom (and school) helps to remove psychological barriers. Children’s energy is spent constructively – not on experiencing anxiety and controlling it, but on mastering knowledge and producing new ideas. Therefore, the leading principle of modern educational systems should be the principle of ensuring psychological comfort, which reduces the stressful factors of the educational process and contributes to its productivity. The adaptation of children to school life, their psychological well-being, depends on the teacher.

The topic of psychological safety has gained particular relevance in connection with the emergence of inclusive education in our lives. This caused a sharp aggravation of psychological safety problems for all participants of the educational process: for teachers due to their lack of preparedness for the specifics of this process, for children due to insufficient tolerance of some of them, as well as for children with disabilities, because they are constantly faced with limitations against the background of their healthy peers. From our point of view, only a psychologically prosperous teacher can ensure psychological safety in the educational environment of elementary schools.

The topic of psychological well-being of an individual has become of interest to Russian psychologists relatively recently, while Western scientists addressed this problem back in the 70s of the last century (Diener, & Diener, 1996; Diener, & Suh, 1997; Lyubomirsky, & Lepper, 1999; Pulkkinen, & Caspi, 2002; Ryff, & Keyes, 1995). There are two approaches to understanding this phenomenon: hedonistic, in which the emphasis is on the prevalence of positive experiences over negative ones, and eudaimonistic, in which well-being is understood as the result of self-development (Minyurova, & Zausenko, 2013).

At present, it is possible to state a comprehensive study of various aspects of psychological well-being: both questions of the essence and structure of the phenomenon itself, as well as age and professional aspects of this problem are considered. Speaking of subjective psychological well-being, Shamionov (2008) emphasizes that this is a mental state of the personality, which, on the one hand, regulates behavior, and, on the other hand, is itself the result of self-regulation.

Thus, the state of psychological well-being of a teacher is manifested in the prevailing mental state, which significantly affects their pedagogical activity and, as a result, has a significant impact on the experiences, conditions, behavior and educational activities of elementary school students due to their increased suggestibility and lack of ability to adequately resist negative external influences. If the teacher lacks in psychological well-being, this will determine his emotional instability, inconsistency of requirements, assessments and other adverse manifestations, which will manifest itself in the emergence of feelings of insecurity and psychological insecurity of schoolchildren. And, on the contrary, a psychologically prosperous teacher is able to maintain psychological balance, to professionally and adequately respond in the most unexpected teaching and educational situations, which ensures that students experience psychological safety as an important condition for their productive activities.

Studying the factors of psychological well-being, Bocharova (2008) and a number of other researchers claim that there is no dominant influence of such objective factors as income, work, health, housing conditions, etc., although they for sure have a certain impact. Thus, one can assume the presence of subjective factors, which include the personal characteristics of teachers who act as determinants of their psychological well-being. This problem was studied by Minyurova and Zausenko, (2013) and a number of other scientists. In our study, we consider the problem of personal characteristics of primary school teachers in conjunction with psychological well-being.

Problem Statement

The objective of the study is to study the personal qualities of primary school teachers, who act as factors in their experience of psychological well-being.

Research Questions

What is the level of psychological well-being of primary school teachers?

What are the psychological qualities of the personality of primary school teachers?

Is there a significant relationship between the level of psychological well-being and its individual indicators with the psychological characteristics of the teachers’ personalities?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this article was to identify the personal characteristics of teachers, significantly associated with their psychological well-being.

The results of the study may be of interest to the leaders of educational institutions with the aim of selecting teachers to work in inclusive classes of elementary schools based on their personal qualities, as well as for school psychologists in terms of organizing psychological support for personal and professional self-development of teachers.

Research Methods

Primary school teachers from 26 to 53 years old with different work experience in the amount of 47 people were selected as the object of the study.

The study used psychodiagnostic research methods, namely:

Russian-language version of the questionnaire by K. Ryff's “Scale of Psychological Well-being” (Zhukovskaya, & Troshikhina, 2011), which is an adaptation of the questionnaire “The scales of psychological well being” (Ryff, & Keyes, 1995). The development of the diagnostic technique of K. Ryff was carried out as part of the eudemonistic approach. The idea that personal growth is a prerequisite for experiencing psychological well-being has been realized. The technique allows one to measure psychological well-being on 6 scales: self-acceptance, autonomy, environmental management, personal growth, positive relationships with others, goals in life, which, according to the author, reflect the psychological well-being of the individual;

  • R. Cattell's questionnaire, which allows one to measure 16 bipolar personality factors that characterize a person’s personality comprehensively and fairly in-depth;

  • method of mathematical statistics – Spearman correlation analysis.

Findings

The average results of a psychodiagnostic examination of a group of primary school teachers using the adapted methodology of K. Ryff are presented in the Table 01 .

Table 1 -
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Data analysis shows that we can talk about the psychological well-being of the studied group of teachers, because all averages are within the normal limits. Relatively higher grades were obtained on the “personal growth” scale. If you rank the data on the standard ten in descending order, then in the first place is the indicator of "personal growth", in the second – "goals in life", in the third – "positive relationships with others", in the fourth – "environmental management", in the fifth – "self-acceptance", on the sixth – "autonomy". Analyzing the results obtained within the sample, it should be noted that on all scales for most of the subjects (45-60%), average estimates prevail, in 25-35% they are high, in 10-20% of cases they are low. And only on the scale of "personal growth" there are no low indicators at all. Thus, personal growth can be considered the most important indicator of psychological well-being in our sample of primary school teachers.

Table 02 presents the group-wide personality profile of primary school teachers using the Cattell method. We clarify that there are the following levels of factor severity: 1-2 standard ten – low, 3-4 sten – below average, 5-6 sten – medium, 7-8 – above average, 9-10 – high.

Table 2 -
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We see that the generalized group-average personality profile of the teacher of the studied group tends to average indicators of the severity of most factors (E, H, I, L, M, N, Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 ). For the remaining six factors, the estimates were outside the range of average values, which allows us to describe the typical personal characteristics of the teachers in our sample. First of all, they can be characterized as smart, insightful, acute, erudite people with developed abstract thinking (factor B). They are characterized by the predominance of calmness, confidence and certain carelessness, low severity to experiencing feelings of guilt. They believe in themselves, are not inclined to experiencing fears, to self-reproaches and repentance, which indicates the ability to cope with life's difficulties and relatively easy experience of failure (factor O). At the same time, openness, outwardness, ease of communication (factor A), activity, maturity, emotional stability (factor C), cheerfulness, expressiveness, enthusiasm (factor F), as well as perseverance, integrity, and commitment (factor G) are characteristic for them.

In order to identify the relationships between indicators of psychological well-being and personal characteristics of teachers, the statistical method of Spearman rank correlation was applied. Let us consider the significant relationships.

A positive significant relationship between the indicator on the scale of "positive relations with others" with factor A (sociability), factor C (power of “I”, emotional stability) and factor H (courage) was revealed. This suggests that open, emotionally mature and courageous teachers with a powerful “I” are able to build positive relationships with others, which is an important aspect of their psychological well-being.

The “autonomy” indicator has a significant positive correlation with factors H (courage), E (dominance), Q2 (self-sufficiency) and negative with factors O (anxiety, tendency to feeling guilty) and Q4 (composure). In other words, a bold, dominant, self-sufficient, not prone to guilt and calm, relaxed, collected teacher is able to show autonomy in interaction.

The indicator on the scale of "environmental management" has a positive relationship with factors H (courage), E (dominance) and negative with factor O (anxiety, a tendency to feeling guilty). That is, a bold, dominant, calm teacher, self-confident, feels their ability to manage the environment.

The indicator "personal growth" has a negative relationship with factor O (anxiety, a tendency to feeling guilty). In other words, a person’s self-confidence contributes to their personal growth.

The indicator “goals in life” has a positive correlation with the factors Q2 (self-sufficiency), C (power of “I”, emotional stability) and N (courage). Thus, a self-sufficient, courageous, emotionally mature teacher is able to achieve their goals.

The scale of "self-acceptance" positively correlates with factor H (courage), C (power of "I", emotional stability) and negatively with factor O (anxiety, a tendency to feeling guilty). This suggests that self-acceptance is characteristic for people who are brave, emotionally mature, possess a powerful “I” and are confident.

So, in the course of the study, we found that psychological well-being has a significant positive or negative relationship with factors А, С, Е, Н, O, Q2, Q4.

The higher the teacher’s rating on factor A, that is, the higher his sociability, ease and flexibility in communication, cooperation, kindness, warmth, the more they enjoy communicating, they know the price of friendship, have close and warm contacts with others, know how to enjoy time with their friends, family, acquaintances. They are rarely bothered by depression, pessimism, or a bad mood.

A high score on factor C is manifested in personality traits such as the power of “I”, calmness, emotional stability and maturity. These features also determine a positive relationship with other people, low tension and sensitivity, absence of anxiety, melancholy. Among other things, they determine a higher degree of satisfaction with everyday life and awareness of life goals. Such teachers are characterized by setting clear goals and active actions in their direction, they see the life perspective, they like to make plans and think about their own achievements.

The qualities of the positive pole of factor E – dominance, energy, courage, assertiveness, self-sufficiency and independence are interconnected with the teacher’s autonomy and their ability to manage their environment. The stronger these qualities are manifested, the more important it is for people to follow their beliefs and principles, they are not afraid to express their own opinion and do not depend on the assessment of others. They believe that they themselves are responsible for the organization and effectiveness of their lives, they are independent, they can easily and well cope with most of their everyday activities, they don’t give up when problems arise, but take effective steps to change the situation.

The stronger the H factor is expressed, that is, the qualities such as courage in social contacts, social stability, the more clearly manifested are aspects of psychological well-being such as autonomy, positive relationships with people, goals in life, environmental management, as well as self-acceptance, which is manifested in the ability to enjoy one’s life, feel confident, accepting advantages and disadvantages, ups and downs.

A high score on the O factor distinguishes people who do not cope well with life's difficulties and have a hard time surviving them. They are prone to anxious, depressed mood, indulge in sad thoughts, do not believe in themselves, tend to self-blame and underestimate themselves and their capabilities. Their mood and self-esteem largely depend on the attitude of others – the degree of their approval or disapproval. They feel uncomfortable and insecure among other people, seek care and attention from them. They are characterized by a developed sense of duty in connection with the tendency to feel guilty. The negative relationship of this factor with the autonomy of the teacher, their ability to manage the environment, their self-acceptance and the positive relationship with stress, a tendency for a bad mood are quite understandable. This factor is also associated with a negative relationship with personal growth. This connection is manifested in the lack of interest in personal growth, broadening one's horizons.

A high score on the Q2 factor, which characterizes such qualities as self-sufficiency, independence, is interconnected with higher scores on such indicators of well-being as autonomy, goals in life, and environmental management.

A high score on the Q4 factor indicates a high level of concentration and, as a consequence, a personality tension. Such people find it difficult to relax even in an environment favorable for relaxation, are emotionally unstable, have a low mood background, are sensitive to criticism, and irritable. The stronger these features are manifested, the worse the teachers evaluate their health, satisfaction with their own life, the more often they demonstrate bad mood, apathy.

The presence of a statistically significant relationship between the psychological well-being of primary school teachers and a number of their personality characteristics allows one to consider some personality traits as factors in the subjective psychological well-being of primary school teachers. These include the following qualities: 1) sociability, geniality, openness; 2) the power of "I", emotional maturity, emotional stability; self-confidence; 3) confidence, tendency to take the lead/be a leader; 4) courage; 5) calmness; 6) self-sufficiency; 7) equanimity, relaxedness.

Conclusion

Summing up the study, we can note several important points:

1) Primary school teachers in our sample are characterized by an average level of psychological well-being, which can be considered a rather favorable moment.

2) However, for some educators the problem of maintaining psychological well-being is relevant. We draw this conclusion based on the following data:

15% of the teachers in our sample showed a low level of psychological well-being in terms of “positive relations with others” and “autonomy”, which indicates their dissatisfaction in building adequate and constructive relations with other subjects of educational activity (it remains to be found out with whom exactly: students, parents, colleagues or management);

  • 20% of the sample teachers have a low level of psychological well-being in terms of "environmental management" and "self-acceptance", which can be based on at least two problems – a low level of organizational skills and low self-esteem;

  • 10% of the teachers in the sample have a low level of psychological well-being in terms of “goals in life”, which may be due to an insufficient level of introspection and a low level of meaningfulness in their own lives.

Thus, a number of teachers need psychological help and support in order to solve the identified problems.

3) The results of the study allow us to highlight personal qualities that are interconnected with the psychological well-being of primary school teachers: sociability, geniality, openness; the power of "I", emotional maturity, emotional stability; self-confidence; tendency to take the lead/be a leader; courage; calmness; self-sufficiency; equanimity, relaxedness.

4) Accordingly, we can distinguish qualities that impede psychological well-being: isolation, detachment; weakness of "I"; compliance; timidity; diffidence; tendency to feeling guilty; group dependence; constraint.

5) The patterns revealed in our study can be taken into account in professional selection, in the selection of teachers for inclusive classes, as well as in the development of psychological support programs for personal and professional self-development of teachers and in the practice of psychological counseling.

Acknowledgments

The article was prepared as part of the grant of the Russian State Humanitarian Research Foundation No. 18-413-530002 “Psychological and pedagogical conditions for the formation of a psychologically safe educational environment as a factor in preventing deviant behavior in children with disabilities.

References

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

26.08.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.08.02.17

Online ISSN

2357-1330