Study Of Emotionality Of Teachers Employed With A Special Remedial Educational Institution

Abstract

Emotional stability is an important characteristic of teachers, contributing to the implementation of educational activities. The most emotionally vulnerable profession that is affected by stress factors is that of “a teacher of a special remedial educational institution (SREI)”, since they have to deal with profession-related challenges that arise in the face of a lack of time, significant emotional and metabolic expenditures. The study involved 40 teachers employed with a special educational institution, with different pedagogical experience (1–25 years), aged 23–68, and with higher defectologic education. There were 13 primary-school teachers, 19 – middle-school and 9 – both primary- and middle-school. The participants were both females and males. Fifteen teachers had the highest certification; ten – the lowest certification, fifteen – no certification. A theoretical and methodological basis of the study is made up of a systematic approach, an activity approach, a competence-based approach, the concept of personal professional development, the theory of emotional phenomena. The authors applied theoretical (analysis of psychological and pedagogical literature, generalization, goal-setting, modeling) and empirical methods (A Study of Emotional Burnout by V. Boiko), ascertaining experiment). The findings showed that 86.6 % of the participants had a mature resistance phase; in 6.6 % of the teachers it was still under way, in 13.4 % the phase was immature; 46.7 % of the teachers involved had an emerging stress phase and in 20 % of the participants it was mature; the exhaustion phase was still under way in 26.6 %, and in 20.2 % it was mature.

Keywords: Special education, teacher, emotional stability, resistance, stress, exhaustion

Introduction

A SREI teacher is one of the most vulnerable jobs that are affected by stress factors (Dolgova et al., 2016; Kolesnichenko et al., 2018; Schoeps et al., 2019; Yin et al., 2019), since they have to deal with professional challenges that often arise in the face of a lack of time, significant emotional and metabolic expenditures.

The personality of a teacher working in the SREI system should be distinguished by such integrative professional qualities as (Atmaca et al., 2020; Durasova, 2017; Gabrelyan, 2014; Kim et al., 2017; Lauermann & Konig, 2016): pedagogical orientation (a framework of psychological attitudes towards systematic work with disabled children, as well as attitudes associated with pedagogical interests and the development of personal qualities, professional identity); empathy (the ability to encourage responsiveness towards mental strain of another person, the ability to empathize and be with them in the process of communication and interaction); pedagogical tact (a sense of proportion that implies the ability to regain self-possession in different situations and circumstances); pedagogical vigilance (the teacher’s ability to detect improvements in the development of students, to foresee future prospects, to follow the progress); pedagogical optimism (faith in students and their strength, expectation of the effectiveness of remedial activities); culture of vocational training (the ability and skills to build competent legal and benevolent relationships with all educational agents); pedagogical reflection (introspecting the work done, evaluating the results, correlating the results with the goal).

The above professional qualities are intertwined with personal characteristics possessed by a SREI teacher (Anokhin et al., 2017; Prasojo et al., 2018). Sociability, high standard behavior, diplomacy, calmness, high self-control and emotional stability contribute to successful remedial activity. Personality traits of teachers can and do affect their emotional stability (Lavy & Eshet, 2018; Mitina & Akovantseva, 2015; Valujskikh & Kislova, 2016).

Emotional stability is viewed as an integrative personality trait that incorporates intellectual, motivational, emotional-volitional and behavioral-activity components of mental activity, including the willingness to recognize emotions and regulate the emotional status of other educational agents (Abos et al., 2019; Andreeva, 2010). Emotional stability (ES) is considered as an individual-typological characteristic, while being sufficiently increased in SREI teachers (Dyachenko & Ponomarenko, 2000). ES has to be an important attribute of SREI teachers, which is crucial to perform educational and upbringing activities (Akindinova, 2013; Vodopyanova & Starchenkova, 2010). The teacher, most often, is in a state of professional stagnation, when creative activity, the need for self-development and self-actualization minimize. This state can be called a state of professional crisis. The system of ES indicators for SREI teachers comprises (Capone et al., 2019; Kiseleva, 2015; Malinen & Savolainen, 2016): adequate self-assessment; preservation of volitional qualities such as determination, punctuality, self-discipline, tolerance; self-regulation and self-control, as the ability to consciously keep control over oneself and over situations.

Problem Statement

A properly tailored professional background provides a teacher employed with a special remedial educational institution with the competence to anticipate and prevent the development of his/her fears, concerns and anxieties. However, the key emotionality characteristics of such teachers have not been systematically examined yet, which contradicts their actual need to improve their professional skills, better understand their students, parents and be useful to colleagues.

Research Questions

Using two groups of methods: theoretical (analysis of psychological and pedagogical literature, generalization, goal-setting, modeling); empirical (testing, stating experiment):

1. Identify the proportion of teachers experiencing the resistance phase during their emotional burnout.

2. Identify the proportion of teachers experiencing the stress phase during their emotional burnout.

3. Identify the proportion of teachers experiencing the exhaustion phase during their emotional burnout.

4. Confirm the need for psychological and pedagogical support of the target professional and pedagogical group

Purpose of the Study

The paper aims to conduct a study of the emotionality of teachers employed with a special remedial educational institution and discuss the feedback.

Research Methods

A study took place in 3 stages (search and preparatory; experimental; control and generalizing) with teachers employed with Special Remedial School No.119 in Chelyabinsk. The sample included the teachers affiliated by the special school with different pedagogical work experience (from 1 to 25 years), aged 23 to 68, with higher defectologic education. The participants were the educators teaching children with mental retardation (mild and moderate) in the primary and secondary levels. There were 13 primary-school teachers, 19 middle-school teachers and 9 teachers who teach both in the primary and middle level. Considering the fact that some teachers have been working at Chelyabinsk SRS No. 119 for many years, while others are early career specialists (working at school for 1–7 years), a working environment is both formal and informal. The staff is psychologically confident and calm, split up into small groups. The indicators of the socio-psychological climate are favorable and characterized by high efficacy, closeness of emotional contacts. At the beginning of the study, the participants showed distrust and wariness towards the research psychologists, but once being aware of the goals and significance of the study, they showed patience, respect and interest.

A theoretical and methodological basis of the study is made up of a systematic approach, an activity approach, a competence-based approach, the concept of personal professional development, the theory of emotional phenomena. Two groups of methods were applied, namely: theoretical (analysis of psychological and pedagogical literature, generalization, goal-setting, modeling); empirical (testing according to the method of Boiko (2013) A Study of Emotional Burnout, ascertaining experiment).

Findings

The findings towards emotional burnout in teachers by the method of V. Boiko (resistance phase) are shown in Fig. 1.

Figure 1: The rate of emotional burnout among teachers as per the method of V. Boiko (resistance phase): SR – inadequate emotional selective response; EMC – emotional and moral confusion; EES – expanding the area of expressing emotions sparingly; RPD – reduction of professional duties
The rate of emotional burnout among teachers as per the method of V. Boiko (resistance phase): SR – inadequate emotional selective response; EMC – emotional and moral confusion; EES – expanding the area of expressing emotions sparingly; RPD – reduction of professional duties
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The indicators of the RPD symptom distributing in the resistance phase showed that it was dominant in 15 % of the teachers (6 people), mature in 17 % (7 people), and still emerging in 37.5 % (15 people). These findings suggest that the educators may be trying to avoid performing functions that are too emotional. This may result in less attention paid to all educational agents. 30 % of the teachers in the sample did not have this symptom at all.

The SR symptom was still emerging in 50 % of teachers (20 people), immature in 12.5 % ​​(5 people) and dominant in 5 % of the participants (2 people). Having formed, this symptom tends to show that its bearer fails to fundamentally distinguish between a sparing expression of emotions and an inadequate selective response. An inadequate state of ‘saving’ emotions reduces an emotional effect of feedbacks, since it uses selective response during a workplace conflict. Those involved in the conflict seem to regard this permissible, but in fact, they exhibit the patterns of emotional callousness, indifference and disrespect. 32.5 % of teachers in the sample did not have this symptom at all.

The EES symptom was mature in 12.5 % of teachers (5 people), still emerging in 12.5 % (5 people) and dominant in 2.5 % of the subjects (1 person). Its bearers use the forms of protection that are not related to the professional activity. They transfer their emotions to their relatives and friends. At school, these teachers tend to stick to established norms. Communicating with their close friends and family members, they become isolated or even feel alienated. 72.5 % of teachers did not have this symptom at all.

The EMC symptom was least pronounced (mature in 15 % of the subjects (6 people) and still emerging in 22.5 % (9 people). In such teachers, mood and subjective preferences affect professional activity. They can set apart successful and unsuccessful educational agents, based on their own choice. 25 % of the teachers did not have this symptom at all.

The distribution of the findings by the degree of emotional burnout in teachers in the exhaustion phase is shown in Fig. 2.

Figure 2: Distribution of emotional burnout indicators among teachers in the exhaustion phase as per V. Boiko: ED – emotional deficit; ER – emotional remoteness; PR – personal remoteness (depersonalization); PPD – psychosomatic and psychovegetative disorders
Distribution of emotional burnout indicators among teachers in the exhaustion phase as per V. Boiko: ED – emotional deficit; ER – emotional remoteness; PR – personal remoteness (depersonalization); PPD – psychosomatic and psychovegetative disorders
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The PPD symptom is dominant in the graph. It was emerging in 35 % of the subjects (14 people), a mature – in 7.5 % of the teachers (3 people). If burnout continues to grow, then psychosomatic deviation may occur (Dolgova & Mamylina, 2018). Perhaps, a mere thought of what kind of difficult diseases they will have to deal with in their work, may bring about in some teachers a bad mood, negative associations, feelings of fear, heart discomfort, vascular reactions, leading to exacerbated chronic diseases.

This can be due to the fact that adults between 41 and 53 experience the greatest degree of professional stress, a hectic pace of work, pressure of unfulfilled obligations and general dissatisfaction with the activity performed. 57.5 % (over half of the teachers in the sample), did not have this symptom.

The ED symptom was susceptible to 2.5 % of the subjects (1 person), mature in 2.5 % of the teachers (1 person), emerging in 5 % (2 people). These educators may feel that they will not be able to provide emotional support to their students, and may also not be able to be tolerant. The characteristic signs involve irritability, resentment, some anger and even rudeness. 90 % of the teachers did not have this symptom.

The ER symptom was immature in 82.5 % of the subjects (33 people) and emerging in 17.5 % (7 people).

The indicators of the PR symptom were least pronounced. It was emerging for 12.5 % of the teachers (5 people) and immature for 87.5 % of the subjects. The teachers tend to almost completely exclude emotions from their professional activity; neither positive nor negative aspects evoke an emotional response.

The distribution of the findings towards the levels of emotional burnout in teachers according to Boiko (2013) is shown in Fig. 3.

Figure 3: Distribution of indicators of emotional burnout among teachers according to V. Boiko
Distribution of indicators of emotional burnout among teachers according to V. Boiko
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The results shown in Fig. 3 confirm that the resistance phase was immature in 96.6 % of the teachers, while 13.4 % did not have it. The stress phase was still emerging in 46.7 % of the teachers and was mature in 20 %. The exhaustion phase was still emerging in 26.6 % and was mature in 20.2 % of the teachers.

The results confirm that the teachers have an established syndrome of emotional burnout, which negatively affects emotional stability, emotional state and pedagogical activity (Abdurakhmanov & Glebskaya, 2017; Perepelicyna, 2017).

ES of those teachers working with students with disabilities is seen in a way they are patient, stress-resistant, persistent, and able to keep self-control in adverse conditions and difficult situations. Such teachers need psychological and pedagogical support.

Conclusion

The findings showed that 86.6 % of the participants had a mature resistance phase; 6.6 % of the teachers had it still under way, in 13.4 % the phase was immature; 46.7 % of the teachers involved had an emerging stress phase and in 20 % of the participants it was mature; the exhaustion phase was still under way in 26.6 %, and in 20.2 % it was mature. The foregoing confirms that the teachers employed with the special educational institutions need psychological and pedagogical support.

Acknowledgments

The paper is written in the framework of the Scientific and Methodological Foundations of Psychology and Management Technology of Innovative Educational Processes in the Changing World scientific project of the comprehensive plan of research, project and organizational activities of the research centre of Russian Academy of Education in the South Ural State Humanitarian Pedagogical University for 2018-2020 (Grant from the Mordovia State Pedagogical Institute named after M.E. Evsevyev).

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Dolgova, V. I., Melnik, E. V., Kuzmina, I. I., Belousova, N. A., Mamylina, N. V., & Sivakov, V. I. (2021). Study Of Emotionality Of Teachers Employed With A Special Remedial Educational Institution. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 355-362). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.48