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  1. 1. International Journal of Educational Research 48 (2009) 381–394 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect International Journal of Educational Research journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ijeduresTeaching in the Yukon: Exploring teachers’ efficacy beliefs, stress, and jobsatisfaction in a remote settingRobert M. Klassen a,*, Rosemary Y. Foster b, Sukaina Rajani a, Carley Bowman aa University of Alberta, Department of Educational Psychology, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2G5b University of Alberta, Department of Educational Policy Studies, CanadaA R T I C L E I N F O A B S T R A C TArticle history: This article presents a mixed methods examination of teachers’ job beliefs in the YukonReceived 14 April 2009 Territory in northern Canada. In Study 1 we used questionnaires to examine job beliefs forReceived in revised form 10 December 2009 221 teachers from the Yukon and western Canada. Teachers’ self- and collective efficacyAccepted 8 April 2010 and workload stress were lower for Yukon teachers, but levels of overall stress and satisfaction were similar across settings. In Study 2 we conducted interviews to examineKeywords: how geographical, community, and cultural factors were related to Yukon teachers’ jobTeachers beliefs. Results showed that job stress and job satisfaction were influenced by physical andMotivationJob stress human geography, level of connection with the community, and by the community’sJob satisfaction cultural transitions. The findings highlight the influence of cultural and community factorsRemote settings on teachers’ working lives.Yukon ß 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.Canada1. Introduction Teachers’ motivation—beliefs that determine the extent to which teachers feel engaged and energized in their teaching(Evans, 1998)—has emerged as a topic of interest in recent years, but little attention has been paid to how motivation beliefslike self- and collective efficacy, and job-related factors like stress and satisfaction, are influenced by social, cultural, andgeographical factors. In fact, most studies of teacher motivation and job beliefs have relied solely on de-contextualized self-report questionnaires that may overlook the complexities of teaching in particular situations (Henson, 2002). Qualitativeapproaches that may provide insight into the context of teacher motivation have been ‘‘overwhelmingly neglected’’(Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk Hoy, & Hoy, 1998, p. 242), and mixed methods approaches—deemed necessary to flesh out the‘‘bare bones of statistical evidence’’ in educational research (Elliott, 2004, p. 142)—have not been widely undertaken. The aimof the current article is to examine teacher self- and collective efficacy, job stress, and job satisfaction in a particular context—the Yukon Territory in Canada’s far North—by using a mixed methods approach. The article begins by comparing teachermotivation (self- and collective efficacy) and job-related beliefs (job stress and job satisfaction) in two settings, one remoteand northern (the Yukon), and the other urban1 and western Canadian2. We then extend our quantitative findings by using a * Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 780 492 9170; fax: +1 780 492 1318. E-mail address: robert.klassen@ualberta.ca (R.M. Klassen). 1 We use the term urban as synonymous with the Canadian term census metropolitan area, which is defined by Statistics Canada (2009) as a large urbanarea with a population of at least 50,000 persons, which may include an urban core and an urban fringe of contiguous communities. In our experience,American usage of the term urban is frequently suggestive of inner city or low SES neighborhoods. Our use of the term refers to the location of schools fromseveral school districts in a city of about one million inhabitants, and is not suggestive of low SES. 2 Western Canada is usually used to refer to the four westernmost Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.Technically, Yukon Territory is also in western Canada, although most Canadians would refer to the Yukon as located ‘‘up north,’’ and Yukon residents mightrefer to the 10 provinces as ‘‘down south’’.0883-0355/$ – see front matter ß 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.ijer.2010.04.002
  2. 2. 382 R.M. Klassen et al. / International Journal of Educational Research 48 (2009) 381–394qualitative approach to explore how working in the Yukon influences teachers’ job stress and job satisfaction. Together, thetwo studies provide general findings and specific examples about how key variables operate for teachers in a remote setting.1.1. Teaching in remote settings Teachers in remote settings face challenges that not all teachers encounter. In addition to geographical isolation thatimpinges on convenience of travel and access to some urban amenities, teachers in remote settings face a measure ofprofessional isolation marked by a lack of professional development opportunities and specialized support services that areoften more readily available in more populated school districts. This geographic isolation is not unique to Canada’s North;teachers in many isolated regions of the world can be located hundreds or even thousands of kilometers away from teachingcolleagues and urban amenities. In addition, teachers from majority cultures working with indigenous peoples in some remotesettings may face cultural challenges related to working in schools where students’ cultural background contrasts sharply withtheir own. Teachers in these communities face challenges when community members and parents may hold different valuesand beliefs than those reflected by the curriculum, teachers, and educational leaders (Goddard & Foster, 2002; Mills & Gale,2003). Although not usually considered by teacher motivation researchers, it is plausible that professional, cultural, andgeographical isolation may influence teachers’ motivation beliefs and the stress and satisfaction experienced while teaching.1.2. The Yukon context This article focuses on Canada’s Yukon Territory, located above the 60th parallel in the northwest corner of the NorthAmerican continent, and bordered by Alaska to the west, British Columbia to the south, the Arctic Ocean to the north, andNorthwest Territories to the east. The Arctic Circle (66.68 North) runs through the northern third of the 480,000 squarekilometer territory (an area about the size of Spain), with climate ranging from short, intense summers to long, cold winterswith extended periods of darkness. The population of about 32,000 residents (0.1% of total Canadian population) is made upof people largely from European (70%), and First Nations/Aboriginal (25%) origins, with 14 separate First Nations groups(Government of Yukon, 2008). There are 28 schools in the territory serving over 5000 students, with 14 schools inWhitehorse, and 14 schools in towns and villages scattered throughout the territory. In general, school comparisons showYukon schools with lower academic performance than provinces to the south (Fraser Institute, 2009). Although there is asmall teacher education program in the capital city, most teachers are graduates of universities in southern Canada, andmany of the school principals are late-career administrators who have earned credentials and experience outside of theYukon (Blakesley, 2008).2. Teachers’ job beliefs2.1. Teachers’ self- and collective efficacy beliefs This study looks at two aspects of teachers’ motivation beliefs, self- and collective efficacy, and two job-related beliefs, jobstress and job satisfaction. Teachers’ self-efficacy is a ‘‘simple idea with powerful implications’’ that reflects teachers’confidence about teaching, and influences student and teacher outcomes (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001, p. 783).According to Bandura’s social cognitive theory (1997), self-efficacy refers to a person’s beliefs or confidence in thecapabilities to successfully carry out a particular course of action, with high levels of self-efficacy leading to greaterpersistence, effort, and resilience in the face of challenges. Teachers with low levels of self-efficacy experience moredifficulties with student behaviour at the classroom and school levels, are pessimistic about student learning, and experiencelower levels of job satisfaction (e.g., Caprara, Barbaranelli, Borgogni, & Steca, 2003; Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2007). Teachers’collective efficacy refers to teachers’ beliefs that school staffs are collectively able to influence student outcomes, even inchallenging conditions (e.g., Tschannen-Moran & Barr, 2004). Goddard (2001) called teachers’ collective efficacy a ‘‘neglectedconstruct’’ (p. 467), and found that collective efficacy significantly predicted student achievement, even after controlling forprior achievement and demographic characteristics. Caprara et al. (2003) found collective efficacy to be strongly predictiveof teachers’ job satisfaction. Few studies have explored how social, cultural, and geographical factors influence teachers’motivation beliefs, even though ‘‘context variables may be particularly salient. . . among teachers who move into a newsetting’’ (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2007, p. 947).2.2. Teachers’ stress and job satisfaction Teaching is a stressful occupation, with demands from administrators, colleagues, and students compounded by workoverload, shifting policies, and a lack of recognition for accomplishments (Greenglass & Burke, 2003). Teacher stress—defined as the experience of negative emotions resulting from a teacher’s work (Kyriacou, 2001)—is inversely related toteacher self-efficacy (Yoon, 2002), and positively related to poor teacher–pupil rapport, and low levels of teachereffectiveness (Abel & Sewell, 1999). Although many studies of teacher stress have used single item or uni-factor measuresthat ask teachers to rate overall stress levels, the sources of stress from teaching are likely multi-faceted. Kyriacou (2001)listed 10 sources of teacher stress, with ‘‘maintaining discipline’’ and ‘‘time pressures and workload’’ especially relevant to
  3. 3. R.M. Klassen et al. / International Journal of Educational Research 48 (2009) 381–394 383overall stress (p. 29). Boyle, Borg, Falzon, & Baglioni (1995) noted, ‘‘workload and student misbehaviour are the two majorcontributors to teacher stress’’ (p. 62), and other researchers (e.g., Chaplain, 2008; Greenglass & Burke, 2003) have concludedthat workload and student behaviour are two primary components of teacher stress. High levels of teacher stress are not inevitable in challenging conditions: teachers with high levels of self-efficacy copebetter with challenging teaching conditions (Bandura, 1997), and teachers in schools where there is good communicationamong staff and a strong sense of collegiality report lower levels of stress, and higher levels of commitment and jobsatisfaction (Kyriacou, 2001). Job satisfaction—perceptions of the fulfillment derived from day-to-day activities—isassociated with long-term job commitment, and with higher levels of performance at work (Judge, Thoresen, Bono, & Patton,2001). Little is known, however, about how job-related factors like stress and satisfaction operate in rural or remote settings.2.3. Current study The current study poses three questions about teachers’ motivation beliefs in the Yukon: (a) what is the relationshipbetween teachers’ efficacy beliefs, job stress, and job satisfaction for teachers in the Yukon? (b) Are the levels and patterns ofrelationships different for teachers in remote and urban settings? (c) What do teachers in the Yukon say about factors thatinfluence their job stress and job satisfaction? In order to answer these questions, we used a sequential mixed methodsdesign in which quantitative and qualitative data were collected over multiple visits to the Yukon over a 2-year period. Datawere collected during four visits to the territory, with time spent in three communities. Integration of the quantitative andqualitative data was accomplished through creating an interview protocol that continued with the investigation of teachers’beliefs about job-related variables. A visual model of the sequential explanatory design (Ivankova, Creswell, & Stick, 2006)outlining the phases, procedures, and products of our mixed methods design is provided in Fig. 1. The study began withquantitative data collection and analysis using well-established measures, and then transitioned to qualitative data andanalysis. The final phase of the study involves an integration of the quantitative and qualitative phases through anexploration of the similarities and differences of findings from the two phases of data collection.2.3.1. Study 1: quantitative phase In Study 1 we examined self- and collective efficacy, job stress, and job satisfaction for teachers in the Yukon, andcompared levels and patterns of these variables with a comparison group of teachers from several school districts in a city inwestern Canada.3. Methods3.1. Participants Yukon participants in Study 1 were 107 teachers who were attending one of two territory-wide teachers’ conventions(elementary and secondary foci) held in the Yukon. As part of the agreement with territorial education authorities, we didnot ask participants to identify their school or community on surveys, but based on conference attendance data, it isestimated that participants represented all or almost all of the 28 schools in cities, towns, and villages in the territory.Participants were 64% female, had a mean of 13.35 years of experience (SD = 9.45), and taught in a variety of Yukon schoolconfigurations, including K-12 (22%), K-9 (30%), and 7–12 (43%). Teachers were mostly of European ethnicity (i.e., Euro-Canadian, 80%), with 8% of teachers identifying as First Nations heritage, and 12% ‘‘other’’ or not indicated. Participants in the comparison group were recruited at a large mandatory teacher convention with over 6000 attendeesfrom a number of urban/suburban school districts in a metropolitan center in western Canada. Teachers in the comparisongroup were 61% female, had a mean of 13.1 years of experience (SD = 10.15), and were mostly of European heritage (86.5%).Demographic characteristics were similar for teachers from the Yukon and western Canada, and there were no significantdifferences between the two samples for age, teaching experience, or gender. In addition, teacher-reported SES (‘‘SES of themajority of students in your school’’) was not significantly different in the two settings.3.2. Procedure Teachers in each setting were approached in a display hall at the conferences and asked to complete a brief survey onteacher motivation, with an estimated participation rate of between 70% and 80% of those approached. Because theconferences were well-attended events, and because of the high response rate, we believe the samples are representative ofteachers in their respective locations.3.3. Measures We used reliable and well-validated measures of teachers’ self-efficacy, teachers’ collective efficacy, overall job stress,sources of job stress, and job satisfaction. Participants responded to all measures using a 9-point measure, with descriptors at1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 (e.g., ‘‘I find teaching to be very stressful’’: disagree strongly, disagree, neutral, agree, agree strongly). Itemcontent, means, and standard deviations are provided in Table 1.
  4. 4. 384 R.M. Klassen et al. / International Journal of Educational Research 48 (2009) 381–394 Fig. 1. Visual model for mixed methods motivation in Canada’s North. The self-efficacy measure—Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale, or TSES—was created and validated by Tschannen-Moranand Woolfolk Hoy (2001), and contains 12 items which were summed to create a composite score of teachers’ self-efficacy(e.g., ‘‘How much can you do to help students value learning?’’). Researchers have investigated the TSES and found evidenceof reliability and validity in a variety of settings (e.g., Klassen et al., 2009). The TSES has been labeled ‘‘superior to previousmeasures of teacher efficacy’’ because it is closely aligned with self-efficacy theory (Woolfolk Hoy & Burke Spero, 2005, p.354). The 12-item teachers’ collective efficacy measure from Tschannen-Moran and Barr (2004) assessed teachers’perceptions of their colleagues’ capabilities to influence student learning (e.g., ‘‘How much can teachers in your school do topromote deep understandings of academic concepts?’’). The measure has shown evidence of reliability and validity in avariety of cultural settings (e.g., Klassen, 2010). Following the approach used in previous studies of teacher stress (e.g., Boyle, Borg, Falzon, & Baglioni, 1995; Chaplain,1995), overall job stress was measured with a single item (‘‘I find teaching to be very stressful’’). The sources of job stresswere measured using seven items representing two factors (workload stress and stress from student behaviour) from theTeacher Stress Inventory (Boyle et al., 1995). Factor analyses in previous research have shown these two sources of job stressto be distinct (e.g., Boyle et al., 1995; Klassen, 2010). The sources of job stress items were presented with the stem, ‘‘As ateacher, how great a source of stress are these factors to you?’’ with responses ranging from 1 ‘‘No stress’’ to 9 ‘‘Extremestress.’’ Job satisfaction was measured with four items: the three-item scale from Caprara et al. (2003), e.g., ‘‘I am satisfiedwith my job’’ plus a single descriptive item measuring participants’ satisfaction teaching in the current location, i.e., ‘‘I am
  5. 5. R.M. Klassen et al. / International Journal of Educational Research 48 (2009) 381–394 385Table 1Item content, means, and standard deviations for Yukon and western Canadian teachers (N = 221). Scale and item content Yukon teachers Western Canadian d (N = 107) teachers (N = 114) a M SD a M SD Teachers’ self-efficacy* .87 85.25 10.19 .85 88.37 7.36 .34 How much can you do to control disruptive behaviour in the classroom? 7.33 1.46 7.63 1.06 How much can you do to motivate students who show low interest in schoolwork? 6.58 1.27 6.67 1.31 How much can you do to get students to believe they can do well in schoolwork? 7.03 1.12 7.11 1.07 How much can you do to help students value learning? 6.85 1.19 6.94 1.20 How much can you do to craft good questions for students? 7.64 1.21 7.80 1.05 How much can you do to get children to follow classroom rules? 7.42 1.22 7.69 1.01 How much can you do to calm a student who is disruptive or noisy? 6.98 1.15 7.36 1.15 How much can you do to establish a classroom management system 7.62 1.25 7.81 1.00 with each group of students? How much can you do to implement a variety of assessment strategies? 7.17 1.57 7.78 1.08 How much can you do to provide an alternative explanation when students are confused? 7.81 1.21 7.92 .98 How much can you do to assist families in helping their children do well in school? 5.76 1.65 6.15 1.57 How much can you do to implement alternative strategies in your classroom? 7.04 1.48 7.38 1.03 Teachers’ collective efficacy** .91 82.32 12.92 .89 88.99 9.86 .58 How much can teachers in your school do to produce meaningful student learning? 7.55 1.26 7.64 1.05 How much can your school do to get students to believe they can do well in schoolwork? 7.01 1.30 7.27 1.04 To what extent can teachers in your school make expectations 7.35 1.54 7.96 1.09 clear about appropriate student behaviour? To what extent can school personnel in your school establish rules 7.13 1.70 7.84 1.17 and procedures that facilitate learning? How much can teachers in your school do to help students master complex content? 6.92 1.29 7.43 1.08 How much can teachers in your school do to promote deep 6.75 1.23 7.26 1.16 understanding of academic concepts? How well can teachers in your school respond to defiant students? 6.18 1.65 7.02 1.45 How much can school personnel in your school do to control disruptive behaviour? 6.27 1.78 7.06 1.39 How much can teachers in your school do to help students think critically? 6.60 1.31 7.27 1.09 How well can adults in your school get students to follow school rules? 6.33 1.82 7.22 1.31 How much can your school do to foster student creativity? 7.02 1.43 7.42 1.18 How much can your school do to help students feel safe while they are at school? 7.16 1.59 7.75 1.23 Overall job stress I find teaching to be very stressful – 6.47 2.20 – 6.45 1.78 .01 ** Workload stress How great a source of stress are these factors? .66 14.74 5.46 .64 18.11 5.09 .64 Too much work to do 6.12 2.01 6.74 1.89 Having extra duties because of absent teachers 4.04 2.64 4.89 2.53 Large class size 4.57 2.54 6.47 2.28 Stress from student behaviour How great a source of stress are these factors? .85 22.78 6.62 .83 22.66 6.41 .02 Difficult class 6.58 1.80 6.63 1.81 Noisy students 5.27 1.99 5.35 1.81 Maintaining class discipline 5.21 1.95 5.30 1.92 Students’ impolite behaviour or rudeness 5.72 2.22 5.41 2.19 Job satisfaction .86 28.54 7.12 .84 29.57 7.44 .14 I am satisfied with my job. 7.01 1.55 7.30 1.46 I am happy with the way my colleagues and supervisors treat me. 7.06 1.94 7.50 1.40 I am satisfied with what I achieve at work. 7.18 1.40 7.34 1.25 I am satisfied with teaching in my current location. 7.11 1.94 7.44 1.53 * p < .05. ** p < .001.satisfied with teaching in my current location.’’ Caprara et al.s’ (2003) job satisfaction measure has shown strong evidence ofreliability and validity in previous studies.3.4. Analyses Study 1 was designed to compare levels and patterns of relationships among the key variables in two settings, and toexplore predictors of job satisfaction. After providing descriptive statistics for the four key variables, we examined thebivariate correlations among the variables, and examined how teachers’ self-efficacy, collective efficacy, and job stresspredicted levels of job satisfaction. Finally, logistic regression was used to illustrate how teachers with low and high overalljob stress can be reliably distinguished from the study variables. As has been the case in previous studies (e.g., Knoblauch &
  6. 6. 386 R.M. Klassen et al. / International Journal of Educational Research 48 (2009) 381–394Woolfolk Hoy, 2008), we opted to use composite scores rather than separate sub-scale scores because of the relatively smallsample sizes and to ease interpretation.4. Results In addition to item content and means, Table 1 presents reliabilities, scale means, standard deviations, and Cohen’s deffect sizes for the variables in the study. Most measures displayed adequate reliability (i.e., a > .80), but the workload stressreliability coefficient was low for participants in the Yukon (a = .66) and in western Canadian (a = .64). Results fromMANOVA revealed that the combined dependent variables were significantly different between the two groups, F(5,210) = 12.16, p < .001, Wilk’s L = .775 (Wilk’s lambda, L) is an effect size metric which represents the variance accounted forby the best linear combination of DVs (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2007). A lambda of .775 is considered to be a large effect size.Follow-up ANOVAs revealed that the means for overall job stress, stress from student behaviour, and job satisfaction werenot significantly different between the two settings, but teachers in the Yukon rated three variables significantly lower thantheir urban peers: self-efficacy F(1, 214) = 6.10, p = .01, d = .34, collective efficacy F(1, 214) = 18.24, p < .001, d = .58, and stressfrom workload F(1, 214) = 22.16, p < .001, d = .64. Results from three individual items are worth highlighting. Most teachers(57% in Yukon and 55% in western Canada) agreed or agreed strongly that teaching was very stressful, and most teachers ineach setting (50.5% in Yukon and 56% in western Canada) agreed or agreed strongly with the job satisfaction item ‘‘I amsatisfied with teaching in my current location.’’ Third, teachers in the Yukon rated workload stress from large class size lowerthan teachers in western Canada. Table 2 presents the bivariate correlations among the four main variables for the two settings. The correlations among thevariables showed similar directions and magnitudes in the Yukon and western Canada, with self- and collective efficacy andjob stress significantly related to job satisfaction in both settings. Applying Fisher’s Z-transformation test revealed nosignificant differences in correlation coefficients between the two samples, although the difference between the twosamples for the collective efficacy–job satisfaction relationship approached significance (p = .06). Table 3 presents results from a hierarchical multiple regression conducted to examine the influence of self- and collectiveefficacy, and job stress and its sources on job satisfaction for both groups combined. We combined the samples from the twosettings because (a) the pattern of bivariate correlations in the two groups was very similar, and (b) we could test fordifferences in the strength of the predictor variables between groups through the use of a Chow test (Dougherty, 2007). Wechose job satisfaction as the dependent variable based on past research (e.g., Caprara et al., 2003), and also for conceptualreasons, arguing that teachers’ motivation beliefs and level of stress precede and influence levels of job satisfaction (whileacknowledging that the regression results do not show evidence of directionality). Job stress and its two sources (workload and student behaviour) were entered at step 1, followed by self- and collectiveefficacy at step 2. Job stress and its two sources significantly predicted job satisfaction at step 1, R2 = .16, F(3, 215) = 13.64,Table 2Bivariate correlations for TSE, TCE, academic climate, job stress and job satisfaction for Yukon and western Canadian teachers (N = 221). Variable 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. ** ** 1. TSE .49 .11 .03 À.32 .41** 2. TCE .47** .01 À.25** À.20* .35** 3. Overall job stress À.10 À.12 .37** .43** À.31** 4. Workload stress À.24* À.34** .39** .47** À.28** 5. Std. behaviour stress À.37** À.27** .36** .48** À.45** 6. Job satisfaction .42** .55** À.35** À.26* À.24*Note: TSE is teachers’ self-efficacy. TCE is teachers’ collective efficacy. Correlations for Yukon are below the diagonal; for western Canada above the diagonal. * p < .05. ** p < .01.Table 3Summary of hierarchical regression analysis predicting job satisfaction (N = 221). Variable b R2 DR2 DF * * Step 1 .16 .16 13.65* Job stress À.23* Workload À.03 Student behaviour À.23* Step 2 .38* .21* 36.00* Stress À.28* Workload À.02 Student behaviour À.06 TSE .24* TCE .33* * p < .001.
  7. 7. R.M. Klassen et al. / International Journal of Educational Research 48 (2009) 381–394 387p < .001. The addition of self- and collective efficacy at step 2 significantly increased explained variance (DR2 = .21), resultingin total R2 = .38, F(5, 215) = 25.29, p < .001. At step 2 collective efficacy was the strongest predictor of job satisfaction (b = .33,p < .001), followed by job stress (b = À.28, p < .001), and self-efficacy (b = .24, p < .001). The sources of job stress—workloadand student behaviour—did not significantly contribute to the prediction of job satisfaction of teachers. The Chow testrevealed no differences in the predictor variables between groups. As a final quantitative analysis, logistic regression was used to explore differences between teachers with high and lowjob stress across settings. A direct logistic regression analysis was performed with overall job stress (high stress was definedas ratings of ‘‘much stress’’ or ‘‘7’’ and above on the overall stress item; low stress was defined as scores of 6 ‘‘moderatestress’’ and below on the overall stress item) as the outcome variable and teachers’ self-efficacy, collective efficacy, jobsatisfaction, and stress from student behaviour and workload as predictor variables. Logistic regression helps establishwhether or not there is a relationship between group membership (i.e., high stress group and low stress group) and a set ofpredictors, provides prediction of group membership, and examines which variables predict group membership. The fullmodel, tested against a constant-only model, was statistically reliable, x2 (5, N = 221) = 52.21, p < .001 (Hosmer andLemeshow test, p = .32, indicating a good fit of model to data), suggesting that the predictors, as a set, reliably distinguishedbetween teachers with high and low overall job stress. The overall correct prediction rate was 70.8%, with a success rate of64.3% for the high stress group, compared with 76.3% for the low stress group of teachers. A look at the Wald criterion andlevels of significance showed that teachers’ self-efficacy (p = .004), stress from student behaviour (p < .001), and jobsatisfaction (p = .001) were variables that reliably distinguished between teachers with high and low overall job stress.4.1. Study 2: qualitative phase The qualitative phase of the study was designed to elaborate and provide deeper analysis of the quantitative findings,with a particular focus on teachers’ job satisfaction and job stress. In Study 1, we found that teachers in northern Canada andwestern Canada showed similar levels of job stress (with the exception of job stress from class size) and job satisfaction, andthat self- and collective efficacy influenced levels of job satisfaction and job stress. We realized that the deductive measuresused in Study 1 afforded a limited understanding of the factors that influenced teachers’ work beliefs in the North. In Study 2we wanted to dig deeper to explore the factors that northern teachers understood to influence the stress they experienced ina work setting, and the satisfaction they derived from teaching in the Yukon. In order to carry out this goal, we conductedindividual interviews with 20 teachers and asked them about living and working in the Yukon.5. Methods5.1. Participants We stratified our qualitative sample according to teaching level, sex, and geographical location. The 20 teachers whoparticipated in face-to-face interviews were selected from a larger pool of volunteers who had indicated their interest inbeing interviewed on the quantitative survey, or who had indicated interest during our visits to various schools andcommunities. The sample included: 10 participants who primarily taught secondary grades and 10 who taught primarilyelementary grades; 9 males and 11 females; 5 participants from the capital city; 8 participants from a mid-sized town; and 7participants from a remote community. We selected interviewees to represent a range of teaching experience, ranging fromtwo teachers in their first year of teaching through to two teachers in their final year of teaching.5.2. Procedures We kept running field notes to keep track of themes and issues that arose through our observation of schools and informalconversations with education stakeholders over the 2 years of the study. The field notes are not directly reported in thisarticle, but were used to guide the line of questioning of the face-to-face interviews. Formal interviews were guided by asemi-structured interview protocol that reflected a priori assumptions about teacher motivation, and that was also informedby conversational interviews with teachers, administrators, teaching assistants, education officials, and parents duringmultiple visits. For example, the interview protocol included sections on general teaching (e.g., ‘‘What is the most satisfyingthing about teaching for you?’’), context of teaching (e.g., ‘‘What are the greatest challenges facing teachers in the Yukon?’’),and beliefs about teaching (e.g., ‘‘Do you believe you can effectively teach all students?’’). The protocol categories, however,were not static, and other questions evolved during interaction with participants over the four visits to the territory. We audio-recorded and transcribed the 20 formal interviews, and reviewed transcripts, compared field notes, anddiscussed emerging codes and themes among research team members over the 2-year period of data collection. Informalinterviews and discussions with teachers, administrators, teaching assistants, education officials, and parents were notrecorded, but were captured in field notes that were used to guide the direction of probes during interviews. Because wemade multiple trips to the territory, we were able to examine the validity of our data analysis by reviewing and assessingemerging themes from previous interviews with subsequent interviewees. In several cases, we encountered participants onmultiple visits (i.e., at the teachers’ convention, in the schools, and in the community) and were able to discuss emergingfindings as a form of ‘‘member check’’ (Lincoln & Guba, 1985, p. 313).
  8. 8. 388 R.M. Klassen et al. / International Journal of Educational Research 48 (2009) 381–3945.3. Analysis approach We used a constant comparative method of content analysis that included deductive and inductive coding proceduresthrough the various waves of data collection over 2 years. Analysis of the data began with a set of ‘‘start codes’’ that reflectedthe guiding questions of the study (Miles & Huberman, 1994). Three researchers independently organized and codedinterview data using the a priori start codes, and collectively (through discussion) developed a set of further codes thatemerged through multiple readings and coding of the interview data. The reliability of the coding process was established byfollowing two verification procedures outlined by Miles and Huberman (1994) and reiterated by Creswell and Plano Clark(2007). To begin, two coders independently reviewed the interview transcripts and then collaboratively discussed andagreed upon initial coding strategies. Codes were exclusive; i.e., interview data segments were included in only one codecategory. Next, the two coders independently coded sections of two interviews, and then collaboratively resolved codingdisagreements (e.g., missing and superfluous codes, and differently coded text segments) through discussion. Internalconsistency (number of agreements over total number of agreements and disagreements) after the first section was low(70%). Reliability was increased through a second round of coding of the first interview (close to 90%). The same process wasfollowed with the second interview, with a resulting reliability of over 90%. Thereafter, the two coders worked independentlyto code the remainder of the data, with a total of 24 codes established through the coding process. The second reliabilityverification is provided by including a table of code frequencies and level of endorsement by participants. Table 4 presents descriptions, code frequencies, and level of endorsement by participants (i.e., number of participantsrepresented in the code category). The number of instances and level of endorsement by participants do not necessarilyreflect the importance of the codes to the participants, but simply give an indication of how frequently the participantsbrought up the code category in discussion with the researchers. As suggested in Miles and Huberman (1994), the codefrequencies were used to protect against bias, to verify our hypotheses about relationships among variables, and to keep theresearchers ‘‘analytically honest’’ (Miles & Huberman, 1994, p. 253) in relation to emphasizing certain codes and themes. Thethemes are presented in the affirmative, e.g., Building connections with the community leads to teaching satisfaction, but theinverse relationship was also found for each theme, e.g., Lack of connection with the community leads to dissatisfaction. The codes were further distilled into three themes using procedures described by Miles and Huberman (1994) in whichthe coded data are manipulated and then graphically displayed in order to identify relationships, patterns and themes (seeTable 4Code names, descriptions, and frequencies. Code Description Code frequency and endorsement (# of participants) Administrative support Specific references to support or lack of support from admin, including 16 (8) district structures (principal) Career cycle Years of experience, retirement, post-retirement, new teachers, balance 38 (11) of personal and professional Collective efficacy Collective efficacy; the feeling that the school or a group of teachers 16 (9) can succeed even in challenging situations Community experiences Experience that builds teaching strategies or life experiences 55 (19) Cultural practices References to cultural/community practices that influence education 37 (20) or social conditions Effective teaching References to teaching practices that work. Meeting academic, social, 15 (8) emotional needs of students. External relationships Teacher/School and community, including parents 37 (20) First Nations Any reference to First Nations, including cultural issues, languages, traditional 33 (19) life (living off the land), hunting, trapping, food (caribou) Individual efficacy Any reference to teachers confidence 13 (8) Internal relationships Within-school: teachers–teachers, and teacher–student, and student–student. 29 (15) Support from fellow teachers, principal–teacher Job satisfaction Specific mentions of satisfaction from teaching 79 (20) The land References to the land and physical location 22 (14) Professional development References to specific training, workshops, conferences related to 14 (5) teaching. . .required hours, credits Recruitment and retention Attracting teachers, encouraging them to stay, giving support and mentorship. 9 (7) How long will you stay? Family issues? Remoteness References to proximity to cities, access to schools, resources, food 37 (12) Resources School-based resources (computers, books, etc.) 18 (6) School climate Mood or spirit in the school 28 (11) Seasonal affect Darkness and light. Also climate 34 (14) Social flexibility Open to new ideas; willing to try new methods, adapt curriculum as needed 48 (12) Social isolation Feelings of social isolation, loneliness 33 (15) Social problems Issues faced by the students and the community (violence, substance abuse) 63 (18) Stress and coping Specific and general sources of job stress and coping strategies 82 (20) Student achievement References to student performance, pressures, exam performance; but also 29 (13) lower level achievement and student completion rates Yukon contrast Specific references to differences/similarities teaching in the Yukon 121 (20)
  9. 9. R.M. Klassen et al. / International Journal of Educational Research 48 (2009) 381–394 389 Fig. 2. Map of relationships between codes and themes.Fig. 2). Network mapping, also referred to as concept mapping, provides a way for readers to better understand theresearchers’ analysis and interpretation of qualitative data (Daley, 2004; Jackson & Trochim, 2002). Due to the multiplerelationships between codes and themes, we allowed themes to share codes; that is, one code could be represented undertwo or even three overarching themes. Qualitative research analyses are designed to uncover the latent content or themesfrom the data (Krippendorf, 2004), and the three themes reported in the current article reflect teachers’ beliefs aboutteaching in the North. Not all teachers espoused each facet of the three themes; rather, the three themes reflect teachers’general consensus and recurring strongly held views that characterized northern teaching. Only 17 of 24 codes are reportedin this article, with seven ‘‘foundational codes’’ not specifically related to teaching in the Yukon context not explicitlydiscussed in the qualitative phase of the study. The seven foundational codes reflect data that are relevant to teachers’ workin general, but are not specifically focused on the northern context.6. Results Participants have been given pseudonyms, and certain details have been altered to protect identities of teachers in thesmaller communities. Quotes are provided to reflect the voices of participants and to verify analysis procedures (Creswell &Plano Clark, 2007).6.1. Theme 1: physical and human geography influence job stress and job satisfaction In addition to the expected sources of job stress and satisfaction (e.g., foundational codes of self- and collective efficacy,and administrative support), teachers in our study emphasized how the physical and human geographical contextinfluenced job stress and satisfaction. Codes that suggested the influence of geography on job beliefs included seasonal affect(i.e., emotional response to hours of light and darkness, but especially darkness), availability of resources (positive andnegative instances), restricted access to professional development, physical remoteness (e.g., difficulty travelling south),social isolation (loneliness from disconnection to peers), and access to ‘‘the land’’ (proximity of outdoor recreationopportunities). Although teachers in many settings have opportunities for recreation and experience restricted access tosocial options, the stress and satisfaction from teaching in the Yukon was strongly influenced by the geography and outdoorrecreation opportunities of the setting. In fact, almost all of the teachers interviewed (18/20) indicated that the ready
  10. 10. 390 R.M. Klassen et al. / International Journal of Educational Research 48 (2009) 381–394availability of outdoor activities in the Yukon was a factor that attracted them to teaching in the North or provided them withcurrent satisfaction about their living and teaching conditions. Geography was viewed as a factor inducing stress and satisfaction, sometimes only obliquely related to actual teachingduties. Geographical isolation is not unique to northern settings, but the harsh climate and patterns of extended light anddarkness are conditions that are not often found in more southerly settings. For example, climate and hours of daylight wereincluded as factors that influenced teachers’ work-related stress and satisfaction: teachers commented not only on thepsychological struggle of the long periods of darkness in winter, but also on the sense of isolation produced by geographicalcontext. David talked of his difficulty adjusting to his first winter: I can recall some disorienting times where I would wake up and my body would tell me it was the middle of the night. I’d be walking to school, and I couldn’t tell the difference between whether it was 3 a.m. or 11 p.m. when it was actually 8 o’clock in the morning, so that was really weird when it came to teaching. Anne noted, ‘‘You know I’ve noticed the darkness makes you feel a little more tired and unmotivated at work,’’ and Traceycommented: There’s certainly a lot of energy—positive energy—here, but at the same time, you know lots of the year is in darkness, you know you get a few hours of light, and you have certainly a few months with a long dark period, and that has a profound psychological effect on people in the school. A sense of isolation brought on by distance and remoteness was highlighted by teachers contrasting the Yukon with othersettings (i.e., Yukon contrast), and was noted by teachers when discussing sources of job stress. Anne noted, ‘‘It’s hard to seewhether I can make this a permanent place to teach for me, because I’m very far from my family and friends, and from whatI’m accustomed to. I’m a long way from home.’’ Meredith believed that the geographical environment placed heavy demandson teachers: The isolation can be a really big challenge if you’re not somebody that, I won’t say is an introvert, but somebody that can’t spend a lot of time cooped up in small spaces with other people or by yourself, then it’s definitely not the place to come and teach. The isolation affected not only emotions and psychological well-being, but also availability of resources in schools: Because we’re so isolated, it’s costly for us to go out, so the professional development is usually manifest in an expert coming up to the Yukon. . . When I was down south I did a lot more professional development, like actual workshops, but here you have to rely on journals (Tracey). Not all teachers experienced isolation in similar ways. For some, the sense of isolation was minimized due to previousexperiences (Yukon contrast): ‘‘This place is very similar to Newfoundland—I find zero isolation up here. Honestly, I don’t feelone bit isolated’’ (Frank). Almost all of the teachers interviewed explicitly stated that geographical factors drew them toteach in the Yukon in the first place, with particular focus on the land and outdoor recreation opportunities. Other teachersnoted that social isolation was reduced by technology. Tammy, who had spent several decades in a small Yukon communitynoted: ‘‘It’s much more sophisticated here than it used to be. . .we’re pretty integrated with the whole world now—the wholeworld has come here. It’s not really the case anymore that we’re isolated, and we’re much more integrated now.’’ Newerteachers coming from southern Canada were most influenced by the geographical isolation, especially in the smallestcommunities, whereas teachers with more experience in the North commented on a general reduction in isolation over time. Teachers noted that although the physical geography of the Yukon contributed in positive and negative ways to stress andsatisfaction, and even provided a motive for teachers to come to the Yukon or stay in the Yukon, the human geography (i.e.,interaction of people and land) of the territory also influenced emotions and motivation. The human geography of the Yukonis inextricably tied to the First Nations people who have strong historic and modern ties to the territory. Teachers’ discussionof First Nations issues—politics, traditions, educational goals, and social functioning—cut across all three of the themes in thisstudy. The First Nations population density varied across the three settings, but all teachers in the mid-sized town andremote community noted the cultural geography, i.e., makeup of cultural norms and expectations of their setting, influencedtheir work, including their motivation to teach, the stress they experienced, and also the satisfaction they derived from theirwork. Relationships with First Nations students, parents, and in some cases, tribal leaders influenced teachers’ day-to-dayteaching satisfaction and stress, particularly in the remote village setting. For example, Simon noted, ‘‘There’s a sense in ourcommunity that the First Nation people do not see themselves reflected in the school system. Teachers are uncertain aboutthe goals they should have for their students, and some of us worry about what our focus should be.’’ Clearly, teachers’ beliefsabout their teaching were influenced not only by physical geographical features, but also by the human geography of theYukon.6.2. Theme 2: building connections with the community leads to teaching satisfaction Teachers in the Yukon, especially in the more remote communities, noted the critical influence of communityrelationships on their job satisfaction. The community connection theme was related to experiences with ‘‘the land,’’ socialisolation, stress and coping, job satisfaction, external relationships with parents and community members, social flexibility,
  11. 11. R.M. Klassen et al. / International Journal of Educational Research 48 (2009) 381–394 391and cultural/community practices. Again, the presence of First Nations students and families in the community was viewedas a strong influence on teachers’ connection with the community, and provided challenges and rewards for teachers comingfrom outside the territory. In communities that were predominantly First Nations, community integration involved culturalintegration. Frank, working in a small village, noted: Teachers can be more effective if they get out into the community. I know people who try to put our (Euro-Canadian) culture into theirs (First Nations culture), like this is right, but you just can’t do these things. It took them (the First Nations community) a long time to accept me, and it’s made all the difference. Establishing a strong connection with the community presented cultural challenges for several teachers, especially in thesmaller communities. Tracey noted that the cultural practices of the community resulted in feelings of disconnection andsocial isolation: There’s a difficulty living and teaching in the community—it’s a very, very small community where you might be one of the few non-native people, so there might not be a social circle for you. I’m not suggesting that the two (cultural) groups are not integrated, because to a large extent they are, but they’re different cultures, and it’s very difficult for teachers to remain in communities unless they have developed a social community, and in a lot of isolated regions, there isn’t a developed community for them. The sense of cultural separateness and social isolation from the community influenced how teachers integrated into thecommunity and ultimately, teaching beliefs and satisfaction. Patricia underlined the importance that external relationshipsplayed in successful teaching: ‘‘I don’t think that teachers successfully get out into the community as a whole—I don’t thinkwe communicate well enough with parents, and that influences the support they give to their children.’’ Teacherscommented on how hard it was to integrate into the community, and noted that attempts to socially integrate were notalways successful. The lack of community connection was a source of stress for teachers like Eve, who commented, ‘‘Well, it’sstressful for new teachers coming to the Yukon. There’s a distance between the community and the school, and new teachersreally feel it.’’ Greg pointed out that teachers in small communities are constantly under the spotlight, and that the resulting attentionwas especially difficult to cope with for new teachers, who wished to disconnect from the community at times: Teachers are highly, highly visible in our community. We know that teachers are held to a higher professional and personal standard. And the community has great expectations of them, and when you consider that it’s generally the younger and less experienced people that you have going out to rural communities, that’s a lot of pressure on them. Meredith noted that community integration took time, and for her, job satisfaction was derived from spending time inoutdoor activities (‘‘the land’’), social flexibility and integration with the community, which she accomplished by spendingtime with community members: I like to learn things from other people, so when I first came here I went up river with an elder, and helped her out. It’s important to meet people that way—helping them out and breaking the ice, and learning things from people and valuing their knowledge and what they have to say. . . it’s good meeting new people, and I’m a better teacher when I know the community.6.3. Theme 3: cultural transitions in the community lead to teachers’ professional stress Teachers in the Yukon, especially in the towns and villages outside of the capital city, expressed varying degrees of stressand uncertainty about the tensions between academic and cultural expectations. Cultural transitions in the community weredefined as the conflict between traditional ways of First Nations people and the modern world, conflict between generationswithin First Nations communities, and conflicts between various groups regarding student achievement levels. As viewed inFig. 2, the theme of cultural transitions was related to participants’ community experiences in and outside the Yukon,cultural practices of teachers and other community members, especially First Nations members, social problems in thecommunity, school academic climate, and levels of student achievement. Social problems in the community, spilled intoschool settings, with teachers commenting on difficulties in cultural transitions leading to high levels of alcoholism and druguse in the more isolated communities: ‘‘People are still walking around with those memories (of) residential schools andwho didn’t get raised by their parents in the traditional ways’’ (Simon). The uncertain cultural traditions were linked withsocial problems that resulted in stressful teaching situations and poor student achievement. Understanding the cultural transitions within communities and within the territory was a challenge for most teachers,and resulted in a lack of confidence and anxiety about teachers’ roles. Dennis’s comments highlight the tension betweenbuilding First Nations cultural heritage and supporting higher levels of student achievement: There is an inconsistency in the message given to students from home and from school. The First Nations community has priorities and things that they believe pretty strongly, and then you’ve got the Yukon Board of Education that focuses on exam results, and how do you bring these two together? You get a community that struggles to support their kids in education. Parents really don’t have a picture of what (success) looks like, and it affects how teachers do their job.
  12. 12. 392 R.M. Klassen et al. / International Journal of Educational Research 48 (2009) 381–394 This cultural tension presented a challenge to the focus (i.e., academic climate) of many schools, and teachers expresseduncertainty about the proper balance between academic achievement and culturally traditional learning. When asked abouthow teachers’ levels of job stress and satisfaction were influenced by cultural practices from the community, Meredithpointed out that the cultural context of the community was not straightforward, because, ‘‘It’s the elders who are reallypushing education, and it’s the next generation (i.e., the students’ parents) who lost the traditional learning (due toincreasing modernization) that are really pushing the traditional learning.’’ Meredith’s comments characterized many of the teachers’ ambivalence about their role in educating children from aculture unfamiliar to most of the teachers. The inherent stress, tension, and uncertainty in a situation where predominantlyEuro-Canadian teachers taught children from a First Nations heritage was noted by Meredith: I think that being a successful teacher you have to realize that you’re in a predominantly different culture, and also that you’re working as part of this foreign institution (i.e., school), and I think successful teachers recognize that and work on building bridges as opposed to trying to hammer people through a particular system. I don’t think that works. I think a big part of my job satisfaction is learning to understand where the children are coming from—their background and their not having learning support from parents. All of the teachers in the town and village settings commented that the cultural transitions of students, parents, and othercommunity members increased the challenges and stress inherent in teaching in the North.7. General discussion The current study used a mixed methods approach to examine teachers’ self- and collective efficacy, job stress, and jobsatisfaction in remote northern Canada. Two aims characterized the current study. The first aim was to compare levels andpatterns of self- and collective efficacy, job stress and its sources, and satisfaction for teachers in a northern Canadian andwestern Canadian setting, and the second aim was to examine how geographical and social factors influence work-relatedfactors, especially job stress and satisfaction, for teachers in a remote setting. The results from Study 1 suggest considerable similarity in the motivation beliefs (i.e., self- and collective efficacy),overall job stress, sources of stress, and job satisfaction of teachers in the Yukon and teachers from an urban center inwestern Canada. Most teachers in both settings agreed that teaching was highly stressful, but also satisfying, and there wasno significant difference between the two groups on these two variables. There was a significant difference on the sources ofstress variables, and teachers from western Canadian schools reported higher workload stress, especially due to large classsize. Stress from student behaviour was viewed in similar ways across settings, and both sources of stress were significantlycorrelated with overall job stress in the two settings. The job stress levels were higher than found in previous research: in our study about 55% of teachers agreed teaching wasvery stressful, whereas Jepson and Forrest (2006) reported that 41% of teachers indicated high levels of occupational stress,and Kyriacou (2001) and Manthei, Gilmore, Tuck, and Adair (1996) reported that about 25% of teachers regard teaching asstressful or very stressful. The samples we collected in each setting were diverse and likely representative of the populationfrom which they were collected, leading us to conclude that differences between our samples and samples from previousresearch are the result of methodology (e.g., question format or response bias), or actual differences in the population, withCanadian teachers experiencing both higher stress and higher job satisfaction. Future studies could provide evidence foreither of these two possibilities. Teachers in the Yukon reported significantly lower levels of self-efficacy and collective efficacy than teachers in thewestern Canadian setting, although the differences were small for self-efficacy and medium-sized for collective efficacy(conventionally accepted descriptors for Cohen’s d). It may be that the educational challenges facing teachers in the Yukonnegatively influence teachers’ confidence to individually and collectively teach all students, but our study did not empiricallytest the sources for teachers’ self- and collective efficacy beliefs. Efficacy beliefs are most strongly influenced by successfulpast experience, and it is possible that Yukon teachers’ self- and collective efficacy is influenced by the relatively lower levelsof student performance in the Yukon than in other regions in Canada (Fraser Institute, 2009). Teachers’ self- and collectiveefficacy were significantly correlated with job satisfaction in both settings, and results from the multiple regression showedthat although job stress lowers teachers’ job satisfaction, teachers’ individual and collective beliefs about their capabilities toreach all students enhances job satisfaction. The logistic regression provided insight into teachers’ overall stress. Teacherswho perceived teaching to be a high stress or low stress job were reliably distinguished by their self-efficacy beliefs, theirlevels of perceived stress from student behaviour, and by their job satisfaction. In other words, stress levels were notdistinguished by perceptions of collective efficacy of the school or by workload stress, but by the individual beliefs aboutstudent behaviour, individual confidence, and the satisfaction derived from teaching. Teachers’ collective efficacy has less frequently been studied than self-efficacy, but the results from Study 1 show theimportant link between beliefs about collective capabilities and individual job satisfaction. The bivariate relationshipbetween the two was especially strong for Yukon teachers, although levels of collective efficacy were lower than for teachersin the western Canadian setting. Jarzabkowski (2003) noted the importance of collegial support for teachers in remotenorthern Australian schools, and claimed that ‘‘collegiality appears to become much more significant in a geographicallyisolated environment’’ (p. 143), because it builds the resilience necessary for teachers in challenging settings. Althoughcollegiality is not the same as collective efficacy, it stems from similar roots in group-influenced beliefs and actions, and
  13. 13. R.M. Klassen et al. / International Journal of Educational Research 48 (2009) 381–394 393underscores the importance of group-based motivation beliefs in situations where demands are high. Group-orientedcognitions and emotions may be particularly important in certain settings where external support networks may be limited,and where educational and social demands are high. The results from this study suggest that collective motivation beliefsmay play a particularly important role increasing job satisfaction in settings where external pressures and demands arehighest. The findings from Study 1 underscore the similarities of how key variables operate in the two settings, but also hint at theinadequacy of using a single methodological approach when attempting to better understand how motivation and jobfactors operate in diverse settings. The findings from Study 2 highlight the importance of geographical, social, and culturalfactors for teachers working in remote settings, and the interconnectedness of geographical, cultural, and communityfactors. The three themes relating to geographical, cultural, and community influences on job stress and job satisfactionemphasize the benefits of including an insider or emic perspective when examining teachers’ beliefs, and highlight points ofview that were largely hidden from view in the quantitative phase of the study. In our interviews, teachers spoke of in-schoolfactors (e.g., student behaviour, administrative and collegial support) that influenced their job satisfaction and job stress, butthey also emphasized how school life and teaching extends beyond the classroom, and encompasses geographical,community, and cultural variables that influence the job of teaching. These contextual influences have been overlooked inmuch motivation research, and the traditional quantitative and psychometric roots of the discipline are ill equipped toexamine environmental influences surrounding teachers’ beliefs about teaching (Turner & Meyer, 2000). Bronfenbrenner’smuch-cited ecological approach (1979) continues to provide a useful model for understanding contextual factors in teachingand the teaching environment. Influences on teachers and teaching involve more than the microsystem (e.g., factors in theclassroom), but also include influences from the broader layers of the mesosystem (e.g., factors in the school), the exosystem(community factors), and the macrosystem (cultural factors), the latter three layers that have been largely ignored in teachermotivation research.7.1. Implications for theory and practice Teaching is a more complex undertaking than is usually portrayed by quantitative models that show within-teachermotivation beliefs directly influencing teaching-related outcomes. The teachers we interviewed experienced uncertaintyand stress about their working lives due to varying degrees of connection with the community and ambivalence aboutbalancing cultural and educational goals. Cultural mismatches between teachers and students have been noted in a range ofsettings (e.g., Labone, 2004), and may play a role in lowering teachers’ motivation beliefs and job satisfaction. Research thatfocuses on exploring how contextual influences like community engagement and social and cultural mismatches influenceteacher motivation and other job-related factors may help point the way to more nuanced understanding of teachers andteaching. Teachers in remote northern settings do not necessarily experience lower job satisfaction and higher stress than teachersin western Canadian settings, but the factors that influence job satisfaction and stress depend on the context, and depend onoutside-of-the-classroom factors just as strongly as school-based factors. For teachers working in remote settings, whetherin northern Canada or other situations, the links with community and social factors play a crucial role in the satisfaction andstress in the classroom. Although most quantitative research has focused on within-school factors like student behaviour,workload, administrative policies, perceived lack of autonomy, the results from this study suggest that broaderenvironmental factors play an important role in teachers’ work-related beliefs. The implications of these findings for professional practice are significant, because job satisfaction has been shown toinfluence career decisions and to enhance motivation and performance (Judge et al., 2001). For teachers in remote northernsettings, community connections may play an important role in raising job satisfaction and lowering stress. The novelcontributions of this study are three-fold: (a) teachers in remote northern and urban settings experienced similar levels ofjob stress and job satisfaction, even though the surroundings were markedly different, (b) teachers’ efficacy beliefs may bemoderately lower in remote settings, and (c) contextual factors influence teachers’ job beliefs: geographical, community, andespecially cultural contexts are perceived by teachers to influence job stress and job satisfaction.7.2. Limitations The study is limited in its generalizability to other remote settings by its reliance on data collection from only one ofCanada’s three territories and one Canadian city. To reduce the sampling bias in the Yukon we stratified our sample torepresent a variety of settings in the territory, and our participation rate was high. Teachers who completed surveys did notidentify their school, which, along with a relatively small sample size, precluded more sophisticated multi-level analysis ofour data. Although we collected two forms of data, the studies relied solely on subjective data, and shared method variancecould have inflated associations between key variables. Future studies might include objective measures (absenteeism ratesor physiological variables) to assess key variables like job satisfaction and job stress. The contextual factors discussed byteachers in this study may not translate well to settings outside of northern Canada, although we believe the general contextis shared by other remote settings in other parts of the world. Finally, we did not conduct a parallel qualitative investigationof urban western Canadian teachers’ perceptions of community factors that influence job beliefs, and our claims about theuniqueness of Yukon teachers’ responses are restricted by this methodological limitation.
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