Stress management to enhance teaching quality and teaching effectiveness
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Stress is a well-established concept in the psychological literature, and teaching, in particular, is recognized as a highly stressful profession (Hartney, 2008). Recent research shows that teacher training does not typically include stress management (Harris, 2011) and, as a result, teachers often feel poorly prepared to respond appropriately to the stressors of the job (Kerr, Breen, Delaney, Kelly, & Miller, 2011). Teachers’ ability to manage professional stress impacts their teaching effectiveness and can lead to burnout, which in turn, impairs teacher effectiveness (Steinhardt, Jaggars, Faulk, & Gloria, 2011). Evidence indicates that poorer stress management results in lower quality teaching (Clunies-Ross, Little, & Kienhuis, 2008), and, in turn, that effective stress management leads to improved teaching competence (Jennings & Greenberg, 2009). Despite a promising growth in evidence-based professional development approaches, focused on both stress management for teachers and improvements in teaching quality by addressing the key sources of teacher stress, these approaches have yet to be brought together into a comprehensive framework. The objective of this chapter is to fill this identified gap in the literature, and to provide recommendations for specific, tailored, and context specific professional development activities devoted to stress management. The objectives of this chapter are: firstly, to review teacher-specific stressors, which impair teaching quality and effectiveness; secondly, to identify evidence-based professional development approaches to reduce teacher stress, improve teaching quality, and enhance teaching effectiveness; and thirdly, to provide a framework of professional development approaches that can be used proactively for teacher stress management, or that can address problems as they arise.
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