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The objective of this study is to identify determinants of stress among primary and secondary school teachers in Malaysia. There are five independent variables in this study which are teachers' workload, student behavior, professional recognition, poor classroom resources, and poor colleague relations. These independent variables are used to test the dependent variable, which is the teachers stress. Survey method is to be used in this study to collect data and convenience sampling is the chosen sampling technique. This study will be conducted by distributing a total number of 240 survey questionnaires to primary and secondary school teachers in the state of Kuala Lumpur, Perak, and Johor.
After collection data from the questionnaires being distributed, the data will be key-in and analyzed by using Statistical Analysis System (SAS). The inferential statistics which includes Pearson's Correlation Analysis and Multiple Linear Regression Analysis will be used to investigate the correlation coefficient and relationship between independent variables and dependent variable. Apart from that, the results generated will be presented by using descriptive statistics. Results and implications will be further discussed in this study.
1.1 Background of Study
During late 90s, the teaching profession is considered as a noble job and it's very seldom reported as stressful profession. However, in these recent years, the teaching profession has been viewed as one of the most stressful profession compared to other professions (Ravichandran & Rajendran, 2007). There was a study has been conducted among school teachers in United Kingdom, it was reported that two out of five teachers experienced stress compared to other occupations. The result also indicates that only one out of five workers experienced stress in other occupations compared to teachers (Abdul Hadi, Naing Daud, Nordin & Sulong, 2009). In other study, Atan (1998) found out that 39.7% of the teachers were only moderately stressful and only 3% of them was extremely stressful.
In order to understand teacher's role in the Education System, the philosophy of education should be referred. The Education System in Malaysia is based on the philosophy of education which aims to shape a balanced individual in terms of spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical. Creating a Malaysia Society who is moral, responsible and able to contribute to the harmony and prosperity of society and the state is the philosophical goal of education (Noran, 1990). Teachers are those individuals who contribute to a person's development in terms of personality, mental and physical (Noran, 1990).
Teachers who experiences high level of stress might face various consequences such as low performance, poor commitment, low motivation and poor quality of teaching. In year 2011, there was a survey conducted in Great Britain by Health and Safety Executive through their Labor Force Survey (LFS) to find out the number of work-related illness due to stress among working people for the year 2010/2011. The results showed that the total number of cases of stress in year 2010/2011 was 400,000 out of the 1,152,000. The survey also stated that the health and social service managers, teachers and social welfare associate professionals are those occupations with the highest rates of total work-related stress in the last three years (Health and Safety Executive, 2011).
1.2 Problem Statement
Nowadays, becoming a teacher is a stressful occupation and higher stress level among teachers will affect their performance, health and job satisfaction (Liu, Zhou and Zeng, 2010). According to Figen Eres and Tatjana Atanasoska(2011), teachers had the highest level of occupational stress compared to other professions, such as engineers, doctors and others. Because of this consequence, teachers are always feeling disappointed, burnout, and insomnia. Besides, they are more likely to resign because of high stress level on their job (Nelson, J. R., Maculan, A., Roberts, M. L. and Ohlund, B. J., 2001).
According to Scheib (2003), he has determined the six factors relating with stress among music teachers from Lakeview Glen High School, which are role conflict, role ambiguity, role overload, skill underutilized, lacking of resources, and non-participation. Besides, there is another past study explained that quality of life can also attributable to higher stress level (Yang X.et al, 2009).
However, the past studies are only carried out in other countries rather than in Malaysia, such as in China (Zhang & Zhu, 2007) and United State American (Sharon Conley & Sherry A. Woosley, 2000). There is shortcoming of information about factors of teacher stress that experienced in Malaysia. Besides, past researchers are more focused on elementary school (D. Laugaa, N. Rascle , M. Bruchon-Schweitzer, 2008) and high school (Liu, Zhou and Zeng, 2010). Thus, there is inadequate information on stress factors among school teachers that experienced in Malaysia.
1.3 Research Objectives and Questions
The main objective of the study is to determine the factors relating with teachers' stress.
What are the factors associated with teachers' stress?
To investigate the relationship between teachers' workload and teachers' stress.
To investigate the relationship between students behaviour and teachers' stress.
To investigate the relationship between lack of professional recognition and teachers' stress.
To investigate the relationship between poor colleague relation and teachers' stress.
To investigate the relationship between poor classroom resources and teachers' stress.
Is there a relationship between teachers' workload and teachers' stress?
Is there a relationship between student behaviour and teachers' stress?
Is there a relationship between lack of professional recognition and teachers' stress?
Is there a relationship between poor colleague relation and teachers' stress?
Is there a relationship between poor classroom resources and teachers' stress?
1.4 Significance of study
The study provides a practical contribution as the result of this study would provide a new information and data which can be used by educational administrators to manage the stress among teachers at primary and secondary education. Educational administrators can identify what cause stress among school teachers and motivate them by satisfying their needs. This study also contributes towards developing and improving educational policy which may reduce the stress level among primary and secondary school teachers.
1.5 Outline of study
Chapter 1 provides an overview of the primary and secondary education in Malaysia. The main aim of the study is to identify the factors of stress among school teachers. It subsequently derives the problem statement, significance of study, research objectives and outline of study. Chapter 2 reviews studies on stress in the primary and secondary education previously conducted by past researchers. The dependent and independent variable used in this research were derived from the literature review and relationship between them will be discussed further in this chapter. Chapter 3 discusses the targeted population, questionnaire development, data collection and data analysis method.
2.1 Theoretical Foundation
Lazarus Theory was most commonly used in past studies to research and understand about the stress (Goh & Oei, 1999). This theory was introduced by Richard Lazarus in the year 1966. According to Lazarus Theory, psychological stress is viewed as a relationship or interaction between the individuals and their stressful environment that appraised as significant for his or her well-being (J. Gaaba, 2005).
There are two concepts in Lazarus Theory namely cognitive appraisal and coping (Lazarus, 2006). Cognitive appraisal is an evaluation of the significance of a stressor or threatening event as it related to an individual's well-being (Andrea & Robert, 2003) It consists of two types of appraisal, which are primary and secondary appraisals (Zautra, 2006).
Primary appraisal describes an individual's appraisal of whether a situation is irrelevant, stressful or benign positive. If a situation is appraised as irrelevant, the stress will not occur. Furthermore, it will enhance positive emotions if a situation is appraised as benign positive. However, if a situation is appraised as stressful, it can be classified as harm, threat and challenge (Howard S.Friedman & Roxane Cohen Silver, 2007). Harm refers as actual damage or loss that has already happened. Threat is the anticipated harm but not yet taken place and challenge is viewed as a potential for personal gain or growth (Pamela, Sheldon, Natalie, Stephen, 2004).
Secondary appraisal is an evaluation of the controllability of the situation and coping strategies (A. Taylor Newton & Daniel N. McIntosh, 2010). When an individual evaluates a situation as an opportunity as personal growth and able to identify the coping strategies to manage the demands, the stress is perceived as a term of challenge. Conversely, when an individual evaluates the situation as a failure and unable to identify the coping strategies, the stress is perceived as a term of threat (Sophie T., Jennifer A. R., and J. Nicole Shelton, 2009).
Second concept is coping. Coping can be defined as "the person's cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific internal and/or external demands that are created by stressful transactions" (Lazarus, R.S., Folkman, S., 1984). It has two forms which are problem-focused coping that is aimed at reducing the sources of stress; and emotion-focused coping that is aimed at reducing emotional impact of the stress (Lazarus, 2006).
Lazarus Theory was widely used in similar past researches such as DeFrank (2012), Hartney (2007), and Christopher J. McCarthy, Richard G. Lambert, Elizabeth W. Crowe and Colleen J McCarthy (2010). All these researches are more focus on identifying the stressor on school teachers. Besides, this theory has been used to investigate the stress level among Shanghai university students (Chen, Wong, Ran & Christie Gilson, 2009). Furthemore, this theory also has been used to investigate the relationship between stress and coping strategies among runaway youths (Chun, 2010).
In this study, the concept of cognitive appraisal are used to identify the determinants of stress among school teacher. Coping concept is excluded because it is more concerned on how to reduce the stress. Therefore, this concept may not appropriate to identify the determinant of stress.
2.2 Review of the Prior Empirical Studies
2.2.1 Teacher Stress
Teacher stress will cause negative effect to physical, mental or emotional such as angry, nervous, headaches, high blood pressure, frustrated and others (Rawls-Stromile, 2010). Hammond & Onikama (1997) defines stress as emotional and physical strain caused by our response to pressure from external environment. Besides, stress caused negative impact in taking control of our life or feeling as we becoming a different person which stated by.
Forty of local schools in Hong Kong were randomly selected to examine whether teachers' stress caused negative impact in mental health, emotional exhaustion, lack of personal accomplishment and depersonalization. There were 269 out of 400 questionnaires were received which stated that level of teachers' stress contained very high values in school (Tang, Au, Schwarzer, & Schmitz, 2001).
Rawls-Stromile (2010) distributed questionnaires to investigate the contributing stress factors between elementary school teachers and middle school teachers. Ithad clearly stated that most of teachers faced stress by same factors even though in different level of education systems.
Benmansour (1998), Dunham &Varma (1998), Kyriacou (2001), and Pithers & Soden (1998) had confirmed that teaching as a high stress occupation compare with other professions. The results investigated and stated that the job of teachers is most pressure compare with some other aspects of the jobs (Zurlo, Pes, & Cooper, 2007).
According to Hargreaves (1992), workload means the job scope of teachers that are required to be done in the education area that teachers must perform multiple task which causes in reduced time for relaxation.
According to Marzano (2003), there were 17 research studies of teachers' workloads investigated on approximately 20,000 teachers in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom through surveys or interviews. It stated that teachers' stress level increased while teachers faced over workload inclusive insufficient of time, non-teaching duties, and job intensification.
There were 484 survey participants in English senior high school teachers with Likert scale questions which results stated that 88% of them are experiencing their workload as moderate (38%) to moderately heavy (25%) to heavy (25%) which caused teachers' stress increased (Sugden, 2010).
Besides, survey conducted in New Zealand's eight public universities had resulted that 86% and 94% respectively in both year 2002 and 2003 had worked after hours in the week. In additions, 34% and 39% stated they had worked more than 10 hours beyond full-time which reduced the relaxation and privacy time of teachers that caused stress level increased daily (Houston, Meyer, & Paewai, 2006).
2.2.3 Student behaviour
Student behaviour means will affect contributes to the success of other students or a school (Ueda & Nojima, 2012). Stebbins (1971) stated that student behaviour is the major factor affected the effectiveness of the teacher's teaching plan or a student's ability to learn.
The survey carried out with 817 public and 240 private schools and average of 25 eighth-grade students was selected from each school which for examined students behaviour. It resulted that student misbehaviour will interrupt the teaching process which caused increased in teacher's stress because teachers unable to managed and controlled the class (Finn, Fish, & Scott, 2008).
There was survey distributed to100 classroom teachers who worked in state-funded schools that child between 4 to 11 years old. The result clearly identified students' misbehaviour contained high percentages in school which increased teachers' stress while dealing student behavioural problems (Hastings & Bham, 2003).
There were 215 out of 2000 of questionnaires collected from 86 schools among elementary, lower secondary, integrated elementary and lower secondary schools during year 2008 and 2009 in Finland which conducted as an Internet survey. It resulted that student behaviour was the main sources caused teachers' stress while managing problem of student behaviour and also resulted 67.4% of teachers had been subjected to bullying by students (Kauppi & Pörhölä, 2012).
2.2.4 Professional recognition
Professional recognition is related to the appreciation and sense of acceptance acquire from their administrators or others. Professional recognition need elements such as inadequate salaries, lack of support from administrator, poor career structure and lack of recognition for good teaching can lead work stress to teachers.
Segumpan and Bahari (2006) carried out a research to identify the level of stress experienced by respondents in terms of professional recognition. A 5-point Likert scale questionnaires survey was sent to 1209 secondary school teachers. It found out that teachers would face moderate level of stress when there is lack of professional recognition.
Caroline Ayoti and Moses Wesang'ula Poipoi (2011) conducted a research to determine whether insufficient salaries would lead stress to teachers. Descriptive survey was used in their research where 496 teachers of public secondary school are selected. The data was analyzed and shown that 45% of the respondents cited professional recognition to be a stressor.
Azizi, Shahrin, and Tee (2007) conducted a research to identify the recognition stressor that contributed to teacher stress and the teacher stress level for recognition factor. The present study indicates that lack of recognition for teachers' work from administrator. A questionnaire methodology is used in the research where 20 technical teachers are selected. They concluded that recognition factor contributed a moderate stress among technical teachers.
2.2.5 Poor Classroom resources
Classroom, computer, overhead projector and software are the essential resources for teachers to teach in class. Kyriacou (1998) found that lack of resource could lead stress among teachers. According to Siti (1991), the lack of teaching equipment and the larger number of students in one classroom would lead stress to teachers.
Caroline Ayoti and Moses Wesang'ula Poipoi (2011) conducted a research to determine whether substandard equipment, tools, or facilities would lead stress to teachers. Descriptive survey was used where 496 teachers of public secondary school are selected. The data was analyzed and shown that 13% of respondents attributed substandard facilities to be a stressor. Substandard equipments are cited as it leads stress to teachers who are going to perform with insufficient inputs.
Antoniou, Polychroni, & Walters (2000) carried out a research to identify the source of stress. A questionnaire methodology is used where 110 Greek Special Educational Needs teachers are selected. Analysis showed that the significant lack of resources and equipment would lead to moderate stress.
Another research done by Alay, S. and Kocak, S. (1999) on elementary school in Ankara to determine whether lack of educational equipment would create stress. A 5-point Likert scale survey questionnaires was sent to 29 physical educators. It concluded that lack of educational equipment would create a serious stress on physical educators.
2.2.6 Poor colleague relations
Selye (1974) suggested that "learning to live with other people is one of the most stressful aspects of life." (cited from Manshor et al., 2003). According to Sutherland and Cooper (1990, p.46), poor work relations are defined as low trust, low levels of supportiveness and low interest in listening to deal with problem in the organization.
Figen Eres and Tatjana Atanasoska (2011) conducted a research to determine whether poor colleague relations have contributed to the level of stress among teachers. A 5-points Likert scale survey questionnaire was distributed to 700 primary educational teachers employed in Prilep, Macedonia and Ankara, Turkey. There were 629 questionnaires are being collected and found that the stress of Turkish participants and Macedonian participants related to poor colleague relations was moderate level.
Azizi Hj. Yahaya, Nik Diana Hartika binti Nik Husain (2002) carried a data survey which used to analyse the level of stress level based on interpersonal relationship aspect. Questionnaires were sent to 400 secondary school teachers from Melaka, Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Selangor. It resulted that there were 73% of respondent laid at medium stress level and 27% of respondent lies at high stress level on interpersonal relationship aspect.
Another research done by Azizi, Shahrin, and Tee (2007) was to identify level of stress due to poor interpersonal relationship. A 5-points Likert scale survey questionnaire was distributed to 20 technical teachers. They also concluded that interpersonal relationship would lead moderate level of stress to teachers.
2.3 Theoretical Framework
Poor Colleague Relations
Poor Classroom Resources
Figure 1: Teachers stress model
(Source: Adapted from Boyle, J.G., Borg, M.G., Falzon, J. M., & Baglioni, A. J., 1995)
In order to answer the research questions, the following hypotheses were formulated.
H1: There is a positive relationship between workload and teachers stress
H2: There is a positive relationship between student behaviour and teachers stress
H3: There is a positive relationship between professional recognition and teachers stress
H4: There is a positive relationship between poor classroom resources and teachers stress
H5: There is a positive relationship between poor colleague relations and teachers stress
3.1 Research Design
This study is quantitative research since this research is the application of data collection method and statistical analysis that the data are presented in numerical form (Peter Ashley & Bill Boyd, 2006). The purpose of this study is to identify the determinants of stress among school teachers, thus it can be classified as descriptive study. According to Martin Terre Blanche et al. (2008), descriptive study allows researchers to describe the characteristics of relevant group and examine the interrelationship between independent variables and dependent variable.
In this study, a survey will be used as it can obtain information from and about people. It can be a fast and inexpensive approach to collect a large amount of data from population (Arlene, 2003). Besides, this study will be a cross-sectional study, which is an observation of a phemomena that are made at one point in time (Denise F. Polit, Cheryl T. Beck, 2007). Cross-sectional study is chosen to describe whether stress factors are correlated with teachers' stress.
Furthermore, data collection method used in this study is self-administered questionnaires which consist of questions that individual respondents completed by themselves and will be distributed to primary and secondary school teachers. This method is used because it is convenient for respondents to complete the survey at a time and place (Bernard, 2011). Moreover, delivery and collection questionnaires are more suitable to use in this study, since the questionnaires will be delivered to each respondent by hand and collected back later after completion (David, 2009).
3.2 Population and Sampling Procedures
The population of this study is school teachers in Kuala Lumpur, Perak, and Johor. These three states have been classified as stressful area among school teachers because they have to spend 74 hours per week to perform their jobs, including curriculum activities (Nurul Izzah Abdul Samad, Zailina Hashim, Saidi Moin, Haslinda Abdullah, 2010).
3.2.2 Sampling Techniques
Due to a huge amount of school teachers in Kuala Lumpur, Perak, and Johor, it is impossible to access the population of those school teachers. Thus, sampling is the only option (Black, 2007). Besides, the time, cost, and effort of collecting data from a sample are usually less than collecting data from a large amount of population (Mark Saunders, Philip Lewis, Adrian Thornhill, 2009). Thus, primary and secondary school teachers in these three states are chosen as sample.
Non-probability sampling will be applied in this study. Non-probability sampling is the sampling technique that the probability of selection of each sampling is unknown. This technique is useful and convenient for the research without sampling frame (Miller P.G., Strang J., Miller P. M., 2010). Furthermore, convenience sampling will be used in this study because the target respondents are easy to get and they are willing to fill up the survey questionnaire. Convenience sampling involves selecting samples that are conveniently available to participate in the study (Zikmund, W. G. &Babin B. J., 2009).
3.2.3 Sampling Procedures
In this study, 240 survey questionnaires will be distributed to primary and secondary school teachers. According to Hair, Black, Anderson, and Tatham (2006), an acceptable sample size should have a 1:10 ratio. There have 24 items to be measured in this study, thus 240 survey questionnaires will be enough. In addition, 20 survey questionnaires will be distributed for pilot test to check understanding of questionnaire meanings (Norman M. Bradburn, Seymour Sudman, Brian Wansink, 2004).
3.3 Data Collection Method
Primary data collection method will be adopted in this research. Primary data refer to the information obtained firsthand on the variables of interest for the purpose of study. Besides, the data collection instrument used a self-administered questionnaire. A five-point Likert scale is used in this research. A total of 240 questionnaires survey will be distributed to teacher at the targeted primary and secondary schools in Malaysia. The questionnaires will personally deliver to respondents by visit every targeted school and collect back after completion. Each targeted states will select 2 primary and 2 secondary schools. 220 number of survey response would be collected from the targeted respondents.
3.4 Variables and Measurement
Stress can be defined as the effect of the employee's tension due to the pressure to fulfill the job assignments and respond to the deadlines (Anwar Faiz, 2011).
Workload is defined as the requirement that one must do more of difficult task then the time allows. The task can be categorized into quantitative workload and qualitative workload (SitiHajar, 2010).
Student behavior is the condition where people behave badly, having bad manners or even refuse to co-operate with the teacher such by making noise during class or even when dealing with students those who are having disciplinary problems (Siti Hajar, 2010).
While professional recognition is the professional needs such as adequate salary or income, needs for professional status, needs to be involved in the decision making and the need for support from the top management or even administration (Siti Hajar, 2010).
On the other hand, poor classroom resource can be defined as the constraints in the educational facilities such as book, computer or the resource room used by the teachers or students to provide information (Siti Hajar, 2010).
Poor colleague relation is defined as the poor interaction between two people on one to one basis or in a small group's communication (Siti Hajar, 2010).
Appendix B shows the variables and measurements of this study. Items in this study were adapted from past studies conducted by Anwar Faiz (2011) and SitiHajar (2010). Each of the questions of independent variables and dependent variable in the questionnaire requires the respondents to answer how strongly they agreed or disagreed with the statement by using the five-point Likert scale, whereby 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree.
3.5 Data Analysis Method
3.5.1 Statistical Analysis System (SAS)
Statistical Analysis System (SAS) enables to perform statistical and mathematical analysis such as analyze the data which collected from questionnaires will generate in standard deviation, frequencies and variances. In using SAS, results can be carrying out by frequencies, multiple linear regression analysis, Pearson's correlation and others which determined the relationship between dependent variables and independent variables. The reasons choose SAS is because it is convenience and time saving when processing data. Besides, the information generated by SAS will presented in the form of table or chart to provide users easy to understand.
3.5.2 Descriptive Statistics
Descriptive statistics transform raw data into describe form of information that make users easy to understand and interpret the population (Zikmund, W.G., 2003). Descriptive statistics included the functions such as frequency distributions, measures of mean, median and mode, graphs design like pie charts and bar charts and others.
3.5.3 Inferential statistics
Inferential statistics is use for observations and analyzes in making assumptions or predictions about a population and generalize to larger population that the sample represented (Sherri, 2011). Tests of significance are needed to be carrying out to check the issue and accuracy of generalization such as Chi-square or t-test. Inferential statistic determined the relationship between the variables selected in the population studied.
188.8.131.52 Pearson's Correlation Analysis
The Pearson's correlation analysis is being applied to investigate direction and strength of the relationship between two variables which the correlation between dependent variables and one independent variable (Deborah, 2007). It also helps to investigate the level of correlation between dependent variable and independent variables separately. There have two assumptions to be fulfilling which are the variables are needed to be normally distributed and the scores on variables for one case are independent of scores on the variables for other cases.
184.108.40.206 Multiple Linear Regression Analysis
Multiple linear regression analysis is able to access the relationship between a dependent variable and two or more independent variables (Black, 2007). Besides, it enables to determine whether there is significant relationship between dependent variable which is teacher's stress and the independent variables which included workload, student behavior, professional recognition, poor classroom resources and poor colleague relations.
The multiple linear regression analysis for this research:
Stress = a + b1TW + b2SB + b3PR + b4PCR + b5PCoR
TW = Teachers' Workload
SB = Students Behaviour
PR = Professional Recognition
PCR = Poor Classroom Resources
PCoR = Poor Colleague Relation