Preventing Teachers’ Emotionally Negative States Within Regional Educational Organizations of Different Types

Abstract

The article is devoted to the study of valeological self-determination of teachers, who work in the city of Kurgan in educational organisations of different types including preschool educational institutions, institutions of general and supplementary education. The article presents the research data about the emotionally negative states of teachers. It has been suggested that teaching staff, as a professional group, are characterized by extremely low indicators of psychological health. These indicators decrease as teacher’s experience of work increases. Much attention is given to the problems of professional burnout and occupational deformations. We have examined 130 teachers, aged from 25 to 60 with the experience of work from 5 to 30 years or more. For the diagnosis, we have used the “Occupational (emotional) burnout” questionnaire, which was developed on the basis of a three-factor model by C. Maslach and S. Jackson and adapted by N. Vodopyanova, E. Starchenkova and the method of “Professional deformation of teachers” by E.P. Ilyin. The diagnosis has shown that the symptoms of emotional burnout and professional deformations are common to teachers. Therefore, teachers with the work experience of 15 years and more need psychological assistance to prevent symptoms of professional burnout and deformations. The diagnosis results have shown the necessity for the valeological culture of modern educators, their valeological self-determination. To form the valeological culture and readiness for valeological self-determination, it is necessary to create pedagogical conditions and to develop ways, mechanisms based on principles of psychological assistance and prevention.

Keywords: Educatorsemotional burnoutoccupational deformationspreventionvalue of healthy lifestyle

Introduction

The modern educational paradigm requires a high level of teacher’s competence and the valeological component in particular. Educational demands of parents are increasing nowadays. These demands can be resisted by teachers causing some negative reactions. As a result, it leads to emotional distress and damage of physical health. In addition, the adult population lacks consciousness of the health value and the person’s self-responsibility for health condition. In the society there are not many people, including teachers, who lead a healthy lifestyle and are able to convince children and adolescents to follow their own example. According to the statistics of the Federal state statistics service in the Sverdlovsk and the Kurgan region, in 2018 per 788.6 thousand people in the Kurgan Region there are: blood and blood-forming organs diseases and certain disorders, concerning the immune mechanism – 5.7 thousand, endocrine system diseases, eating disorders, metabolic disorders - 18.5 thousand, diseases of the genitourinary system - 40.7 thousand, diseases of the nervous system - 15.4 thousand, diseases of the eye and its adnexa - 35.6 thousand. There are diseases for every one thousand people: diseases of the nervous system - 18.4, acute infections of the upper respiratory tract - 196.4, diseases of the respiratory system - 331.2, neoplasms - 10.8, diseases of the circulatory system - 40.3.

Problem Statement

In connection with these statistical indicators, teachers, working in different types of educational organizations, have a primary task to show the necessity for a healthy lifestyle by their personal example. However, passing along the experience based on positive attitude towards health, persuading to lead a healthy lifestyle following personal example is possible only for the educator who values his health and the health of other people, who knows the laws how to preserve and improve health, who strongly supports a healthy lifestyle, who knows how to create and does create certain conditions to form the pupils’ valeological self-attitude and value-based valeological orientations, who has enough knowledge on valeology, psychology, human physiology (Ryleeva, 2016).

Research Questions

In 1974 the American psychiatrist H.J. Freudenberger described a special personality disorder in healthy people that occurs as a result of intense emotional communication in the process of professional work with clients, patients, and students. He introduced the term “burnout” into science. The main problem of the professional group representatives of the police, doctors, teachers, social workers was the ability to develop constructive relations. In a range of works, it has been stated that the members of these professional groups are more prone to psychosomatic disorders. Pines continued the research on burnout syndrome, considering it to be the result of a gradual process of disorder in an unsuccessful search for the meaning of existence, manifested in a state of physical, psychological and emotional exhaustion, which is a characteristic feature of the representatives of all occupations.

The works of domestic scientists, in particular Vodopyanova (2019), consider the term “skillful burnout”, which means a long stress reaction arising due to prolonged professional stresses of average productivity. It is quite likely to regard this term in connection with personal deformation, occurring under the influence of professional stresses. The term “professional deformation” is first mentioned in the works of P. Sorokin to denote the negative impact of professional activity on an individual. The ideas of the scientist V.E. Oryol seem interesting, he claims that “... there are some optimal limits of the professionalization of an individual, within which there is a positive impact on his mental characteristics. Beyond these limits the influence may become negative”. Seer (2003), studying the mechanism of the professional deformation origin, has come to the conclusion that expectations at the stage of entering an independent professional life become the trigger mechanism of the deformation. This is connected with the fact that professional reality is very different from the idea that a graduate of a professional educational institution has formed. The first difficulties impel a young specialist to seek “cardinal” methods of work. Failures, negative emotions, disappointments initiate the development of professional maladjustment of a person. If to solve emerging problems non-constructively in the process of adaptation at the stage of starting professional activity, the occurrence and development of deformations are possible.

There are many consequences of a teacher’s burnout, because fatigue can lead to inefficiency, to break up the student-teacher relationship and a sense of incompetence that inadvertently makes children and educational institution suffer (Abos et al., 2019; Abramenko, 2020; Brittle, 2020; Kim et al., 2017; Chang, 2009).

Burnout has also been connected with many negative health effects for educators. It has been found that the organizational impact and the impact of social networks on burnout positively correlate with burnout levels of young teachers. A higher burnout level among colleagues raises the possibility that young teachers will experience a much higher burnout level (Brunsting et al., 2014; Ralnikova & Neupokoeva, 2016; Shabanova & Tarabakina, 2018).

External factors, causing burnout, include:

  • the specifics of professional pedagogical activity (the need for empathy, sympathy, moral responsibility for the life and health of the children entrusted to him, work experience);

organizational factor: overworking during the work week; low pay; the stressful nature of the work; dissatisfaction with work: lack of a clear connection between the learning process and the result, the divergence between the results and the inputs; transformations in the education field, which have led to the changes in the subjects’ relationship in the educational process; dysfunctional atmosphere in the teaching staff: same-sex staff, the presence of vertical and horizontal conflicts, bad working environment.

Internal factors, leading to disorders connected with emotional burnout, include:

  • communicative factor: the absence of communication skills and the ability to get out of difficult situations in communication with children, parents, administration; inability to regulate one’s own emotional situations;

role and personality factor (individual): death and severe illnesses of relatives; material difficulties; poor relationships between spouses; absence of normal living conditions; lack of family attention; dissatisfaction with their self-realization in real-life and professional situations (Kostin, 2013; Shabanova et al., 2018, pp. 246-250).

Purpose of the Study

The research base has been presented by educational organizations of various types of Kurgan and the Kurgan region: kindergarten No. 6 “Sun” of settlement Mishkino, “Secondary school No. 10” of Kurgan, educational institution of supplementary education “House of creativity for children and youth” “Harmony”.130 teachers, aged from 25 to 60 years old, took part in the monitoring.

The goal of our experimental work is to study the psychological peculiarities of teacher’s professional deformation and emotional burnout and develop ways to prevent negative states.

The objectives of the experimental work are as follows:

  • to organize and conduct a pilot test project on the diagnosis of the forming negative states among teachers;

  • to develop a preventive program reducing teachers’ negative emotional states, based on the results of the diagnosis;

  • to evaluate how effective the prevention of professional deformations and emotional burnout among teachers is.

Despite a sufficient number of studies in the field of occupational stress, and in particular, the stress of teachers, there are still many questions that require additional research and solution. Among the most controversial is the problem of psychological assistance to teachers in regulating occupational stress and preventing burnout, taking into account the differentiation of causes and manifestations depending on the type of educational institution and working conditions (Shabanova et al., 2018, pp. 435-438).

Research Methods

For the diagnosis, we have used the questionnaire “Occupational (emotional) burnout”, which was developed on the basis of a three-factor model by C. Maslach and S. Jackson and adapted by N. Vodopyanova, E. Starchenkova. The method is intended for the diagnosis of “emotional exhaustion”, “depersonalization” and “destruction of professional achievements”. The test contains 22 statements about feelings and worries, associated with performing work activities. The presence of a high level of burnout is indicated by high scores on the subscales of “emotional exhaustion” and “depersonalization” and low scores on the scale of “professional efficiency” (reduction of personal achievements). Accordingly, the lower a person evaluates his abilities and achievements, the less satisfied he is with self-realization in the professional sphere, the more manifested the burnout syndrome is. The method “Professional deformation of teachers” by E. P. Ilyin consists of 33 questions that need to be answered in the affirmative or negative way. As a result, the degree of manifestation of professional deformations is calculated.

Findings

The monitoring has involved 130 teachers, among them there have been 120 women and 10 men. The age structure has been presented as follows: 20 people, aged from 27-35 years old (with the work experience from 5 to 10 years), 40 people, aged from 35 - 40 years old (with the work experience from 10 to 15 years), 40 people, aged 40-45 years old (with the work experience of 15-20 years), 30 people, aged from 45 years old and over with the work experience of over 20 years. The staffing analysis of supplementary education teachers in the Trans-Ural region has revealed the following: in the regional institutions, there is about 1% of teachers with higher psychological and pedagogical bachelor's education, 41.3% of teachers are with secondary specialized education, 26.8% of employees are with primary and general education, 87.4% of employees are without any pedagogic education. 152 people (11%) completed the courses “Teacher of supplementary education” in the professional qualifications training system (Emanova, 2016).

Among the common causes of teachers’ professional deformations and emotional burnout within regional organizations of different types, respondents have noted:

  • high moral and legal responsibility for the results of pedagogical activity;

  • fear of public error and fear of failure;

  • frequent unforeseen situations;

  • individual features of a person (low stress tolerance, conflict, nervous system of weak type, low resistance to stress, rigidity, low level of sociability, inability to forgive, suspiciousness, uncertainty);

  • low autopsychological competence (inability to master the techniques of relaxation and methods of psychological protection, inability to say no, etc.);

  • high educational needs of parents on the one hand, and a low level of pedagogical competence of legal representatives on the other.

Teachers have professional deformation at two levels (Abos et al., 2019, p. 69-79):

1. Universal level. This type of deformation has invariant features specific to all specialists performing pedagogical activities. Despite the individual differences associated with the peculiarities of temperament and character, the features of manifestations of general pedagogical deformations unite teachers of various types of educational institutions. The manifestation of this type of deformation is associated with the peculiarities of the educational space and the subjects’ characteristics of educational sphere that have their own activity. Being the subject of educational process, the teacher himself uses the influence of his personality as a tool, but the methods of influence are not always efficient.

2. Differential level. This type of deformation is based on the influence of professional activity on the individual traits of a person’s character, bringing them to the level of accentuation.

The features of professional deformations have been examined among the educators, we have studied. (57 out of 130 people). It has been distinguished that 51 people (89%) have the manifestation of the universal level, and 23 people (40%) have the manifestation of the differential level. Among the features of the universal level there was an authoritarian style of pedagogical communication, absence of flexibility and mobility, dogmatism, didacticism, lack of empathy, indifference, conservatism and inadequate self-esteem. These are mainly teachers with more than 20 years of teaching experience. Among 23 teachers who showed a differential level of professional deformations, there were teachers who worked for about 5 years (6 people), 10 years (9 people), more than 15 years (8 people). In this group, there was a distimic type of accentuation (trying to avoid contacts with colleagues, permanent low mood) - 4 people, emotive (hyper-responsibility, excessive vulnerability and resentment) - 7 people, pedantry (fixation on formal requirements) - 5 people, psychasthenic (doubts about actions) - 3 people, stuck (lust for power, suspiciousness) - 4 people.

There have been four men out of fifty-seven educators with a universal level of professional deformations; there have been six men among twenty-three educators with a differential level of deformations.

Comparing the indicators of professional deformations among teachers working in educational institutions of different types, the teachers of a general education school have the highest rates. So, among fifty-seven teachers with a universal level of professional deformations, there are thirty-nine teachers of general education schools (68%), eleven teachers of supplementary education institutions (19%), and - seven kindergarten teachers (13%).

The diagnosis of emotional burnout has shown the following results. The manifestation of the components of emotional burnout has been presented in this way:

Emotional exhaustion among teachers aged from 27 to 35 years old (with the work experience from 5 to 10 years) has been found in 2 out of 20 respondents - 10%, among the respondents aged from 35 to 40 years old (with the work experience from 10 to 15 years) there have been 18 out of 40 people - 45%, among the teachers aged from 40–45 (with the work experience of 15–20 years) there have been 36 out of 40 people studied - 90%, among the teachers aged 45 and over with the work experience over 20 years — 28 out of 30 people - 93%.

Depersonalization has been observed in 0 people (0%) among 20 teachers, aged 27-35 years old (with the work experience from 5 to 10 years), among 40 respondents, aged 35-40 years old (with the work experience of 10 to 15 years) there have been 9 teachers (23%), among 40 teachers, aged 40-45 (with the work experience of 15-20 years) there have been 15 people (37%), among 30 teachers, aged 45 and over with the work experience over 20 years there have been 18 people (60%).

3 people (15%) out of 20 teachers, aged 27-35 years old (with the work experience of 5 to 10 years), 10 people (25%) out of 40 teachers among the respondents, aged 35-40 years old (with the work experience of 10 to 15 years), 9 people (22%) out of teachers, aged 40-45 (with the work experience of 15-20 years) there have been out of 40 people, among teachers, 5 people out of 30 teachers (16%) aged 45 and over with the work experience of over 20 years have the reduction of professional achievements.

It should be noted that among the surveyed men and women, working in the field of pedagogical activity, it has been stated that women are at a greater risk of emotional burnout syndrome. Thus, 84 people out of the total number (130) experience emotional exhaustion, among them 2 are men, 42 teachers are depersonalized, there are no men among them, twenty-seven people experience reduction in professional achievements, there are five men among them.

Comparing the indicators of emotional burnout among teachers from different types of educational organizations, it has been found that 35 teachers of the school, 27 teachers of preschool educational institutions and 22 teachers of supplementary educational institutions out of 84 people have emotional exhaustion. Depersonalization is more characteristic to school teachers. It has 29 school teachers out of forty-two teachers in general, eight kindergarten teachers, and only five teachers of supplementary education. The reduction of professional achievements is more specific to school teachers - 14 people out of 27 have it, it has also been found that 8 kindergarten teachers and five teachers of supplementary educational institutions have the reduction of professional achievements.

We have developed the program “The Way to Your Self,” which goal is the prevention of negative emotional states of teachers.

The objectives of the program:

  • development of individual’s criticality and activity as the most important property of the subject’s work and behavior;

  • reduction in the level of rigidity, authoritarianism of the individual;

  • increase in the level of satisfaction with professional activities and self-satisfaction;

  • training teachers on the psychotechnical methods how to self-regulate negative emotional states;

  • reduction in the level of anxiety, emotional deficiency, emotional detachment of a person;

  • formation of readiness for valeological self-determination.

The content of the work on the formation of positive motivation for teachers’ valeological self-determination includes the following components:

  • cognitive - competence (the idea of how to lead a healthy lifestyle, how to motivate yourself, strong-willed self-regulation of the personality, the ability to set a healthy lifestyle positively and maintain good mood);

  • stimulating - motivational (forming a positive attitude to maintaining health and a healthy lifestyle, creating internal sustainable demand and internal motivation in professional and personal self-development, obtaining significant psychological and valeological information, in maintaining one’s health);

  • value-semantic (dominance of the “health” value, emphasis on its priority in the system of value hierarchy by the presence of a humanistic pedagogical position (lack of authoritarianism, understanding of the importance of a facilitating pedagogical position in relations with students, pupils, a high level of empathy);

  • environmental (concern for internal security, the psychological climate of the team, the presence of adequate self-esteem, self-confidence, the ability to self-reflection, self-efficiency);

operational-activity (the flexibility of professional activity as an indicator of arbitrary possession of a psychological resource, the ability to overcome adequately a non-standard stressful situation, observing the rules of a healthy lifestyle, promoting a healthy lifestyle actively based on a personal example, the ability to use health-saving technologies in the pedagogical activities);

  • reflexive (high level of readiness for valeological self-determination, ability to self-government, self-regulation, self-correction).

Conclusion

Prevention of teachers’ negative emotional states who work in different types of educational organizations will be successful if the following pedagogical conditions are being realized:

  • to use active forms and methods of prevention and self-prevention of negative emotional states;

  • to organize effective cooperation on the exchange of experience and mentoring of teachers on the basis of understanding the essence of the problem;

  • teachers' own activity in levelling negative emotional states, self-reflection and self-development.

Working on the prevention of negative emotional states, specialists should rely on the following basic principles:

  • the principle of differentiation;

  • the principle of targeting;

  • the principle of confidentiality;

  • the principle of continuation;

  • the principle of complexity;

  • the principle of connection with life.

In the content of preventive measures we can distinguish several directions:

  • diagnostic;

  • educational;

  • -consultative.

The diagnostic direction involves the organization of regular monitoring of teachers’ emotional and physical condition, pedagogical observation of relationships in the staff.

The educational direction includes a set of meetings, lectures, informative conversations, as well as active forms of work: workshops, training sessions, round tables, seminars.

The consultative direction aims to meet teachers’ needs to solve problems connected with the prevention of professional deformations and burnout, adopting coping strategies (Brittle, 2020). It is necessary for a specialist to rely on a number of mechanisms that will make the work more efficient in organizing the work on the prevention of teacher’s negative emotional states.

The mechanism of “involvement” is one of the main mechanisms of influence, which is based on the laws of collective movement. Using this mechanism, the specialist begins to influence the entire team and each personality individually through the asset of the teaching staff, captivating with the general idea step by step.

The next mechanism that starts the process of levelling negative emotional states is the mechanism of individual’s self-organization. Personal motivation, such as “I can ...”, “I will find out ...” will help expand the scope, overcome fears, and stimulate positive self-motivation.

An important mechanism is imprinting, which develops the ability of the teacher to analyze his actions, thoughts, helps to react to his own feelings, to track stereotyping. The teacher should be able to objectively assess themselves and the consequences of their actions: “How do I behave ...? Has anything like this happened to me before? Why do others behave differently?”

It is necessary to be able to use the reframing mechanism in emotionally negative situations, which will help to look at the event from a different angle, think over the event that has occurred, and overcome the unsuccessful patterns. One of the effective techniques within the framework of this mechanism is the “on the other hand” technique. The result of this mechanism may be a frame reaction, which improves the emotional state.

Properly planned physical activity is an effective mechanism to release negative energy. The alternation of mental and physical labor is considered to be one of the best options for rest and prevention of burnout. Physical exercises, including dancing, relieve emotional tension and help to make contact with the staff easily.

Also, the training of personal and professional growth is considered to be one of the ways to prevent burnout.

Thus, we can state that the emotional exhaustion of teachers increases depending on the length of service. Depersonalization is typical to the educators regardless of age, but is more typical of pedagogical workers aged 40-45 years old. The reduction of professional achievements is more manifested among teachers with the work experience of 10-15 years. Male educators are more worried about evaluating their activities.

Therefore, teachers with the work experience of 10 years or more need psychological support to prevent symptoms of professional burnout and professional deformations. The organization of valeological self-determination requires certain efforts of specialists, the cooperation of methodological associations of teachers on the basis of mentoring, taking into account the principles of regularity and complexity.

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

28.12.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.12.04.90

Online ISSN

2357-1330