Preservice teacher stressors and their reactions to those stressors : resilient responses
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Cecily Knight, J Balatti, M Haase, L Henderson
The study reported in this paper looked at preservice teachers’ perceptions of stressors as they engaged with a core subject in the Bachelor of Education program. Preservice teachers’ responses to those stressors were explored in an attempt to ascertain their capacity or lack thereof, for resilient responses. Diminished resilience has the potential to affect teachers’ ability to respond to the challenges that face them and their students (Grayson & Alvarez, 2008). Teachers’ inability to cope with the demands placed on them and the resulting stress and attrition impact the sustainability of the profession.The study involved a target population of 135 second year preservice teachers engaged in a compulsory subject that included professional experience in schools, on-campus tutorials and online engagement. Data analysed were preservice teachers’ responses to two surveys and a written essay on the topic of resilience. Survey and essay questions were developed around two dimensions of preservice teacher education that impact on the formation of teacher professionalism. The first dimension was the awareness of potential stressors that impact on the work of teachers; and the second, the awareness that preservice teachers can increase their resiliency in managing these stressors. Responses were coded using categories emerging from the data. These categories were then considered in relation to a three-dimensional resilience framework: resilience as a state; a condition; and a practice (Knight, 2007).Findings are consistent with research into coping and resilience building for teachers that establishes the importance of managing the emotional aspects of teachers’ professional work (Le Cornu, 2009; Parker & Martin, 2009). The findings also support the Knight resilience framework (2007) as a useful guide to designing and incorporating resilience education in preservice teacher programs.