Societal pressures and teaching

Year: 1994

Author: Dinham, Steve

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Education systems world-wide have experienced considerable change in recent years. Schools and teachers have increasingly been required to address and remedy the problems of society while at the same time satisfy the needs of national economies through the provision of appropriately trained school leavers. Youth unemployment levels have remained high and post-compulsory retention has risen. There has been pressure to modify curricula to accommodate these students. There has also been greater public and government scrutiny of how schools and educational systems transform their financial inputs to measurable educational outcomes. The age of the teaching profession has steadily risen and it seems more difficult to entice talented young people to enter teacher training, a situation exacerbated by the general ageing of the population which has led to teacher redundancies in some systems. It is in this context that teachers have been expected to operate.

This paper draws upon this contemporary context, an interview study of 57 resigned teachers, and the literature, to examine the pressing issue of societal demands, expectations and pressures on teaching, schools and education. It was found in the study in question that societal pressures were a significant factor in teacher dissatisfaction and resignation.