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On the Relationship between EFL Teachers’ Job Satisfaction, Self-Efficacy, and Their Spiritual Sense of Well-Being

DOI: 10.4236/ojml.2016.61001    3,928 Downloads   4,842 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship among Iranian EFL teachers’ job satisfaction, self-efficacy, and their spiritual well-being. For this purpose, Job Satisfaction Survey (Spector, 1994), Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001), and Spiritual Well-being Scale (Paloutzian & Ellison, 1982) were used to collect data. The statistical procedure of Pearson Product Moment Correlation was utilized using SPSS version 21. The results of the statistical test yielded a significant negative relationship between teachers’ job satisfaction and their spiritual well-being and there was no relationship between their job satisfaction and self-efficacy. Moreover, there was not any significant relationship between teachers’ sense of efficacy and spiritual well-being.

Received 5 December 2015; accepted 14 February 2016; published 17 February 2016

1. Introduction

The first facet of this study is job satisfaction which is regarded as a multidimensional and dynamic construct; it is affected by factors such as individual characteristics of the profession, features of the working conditions, and specific job related aspects. Hoppock (1935) described job satisfaction as being any number of psychological, physiological and environmental circumstances which led a person to express satisfaction with their job. The ultimate purpose of this study was to explore how Iranian EFL teachers’ self-efficacy and their spirituality influence their job satisfaction.

The other dimension of this study was teachers’ self-efficacy. During the past two decades, much research related to teacher self-efficacy has gained significant insights as an important factor of teaching and learning. Based on Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory, Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy (2001: p. 783) defined teacher self-efficacy as “teachers’ judgment of his or her capabilities to bring about desired outcomes of student engagement and learning, even among those students who may be difficult or unmotivated”. Teacher efficacy is positively linked to student achievement, motivation, and his own sense of efficacy; in addition, it was also found to be related to teaching behavior and performance (Anderson, Greene, & Loewen, 1988; Ashton & Webb, 1986) . Indeed, teachers with higher self-efficacy are likely to address students’ needs better (Ashton & Webb, 1986) , so they will try new strategies and methods and also they will have greater commitment to teach. Thus, in order to train professional teachers, it is necessary to determine the level of teachers’ self-efficacy.

The last variable examined in this study was teachers’ spiritual well-being (SWB). Over the last 15 years, interest in the area of spirituality in the workplace increased substantially in commercial media, academic research, mainstream newspapers, magazine articles, conferences and workshops (Biberman, 2003; Harrington, Preziosi, & Gooden, 2002 ; Milliman, Czaplewski, & Ferguson, 2003 ). As such, many studies discussing the conception and definition of spirituality have been published (Pava, 2007; Webster, 2004) . Increased research on spirituality at work has occurred internationally in predominantly Western countries, with many studies conducted in the United States of America (Duchon & Plowman, 2005) , and the United Kingdom (Ackers & Preston, 1997) . However, there is a lack of consensus in the definition of SWB, and little agreement about appropriate models or measures describing it ( Gall et al., 2005 ; Giacalone & Jurkiewicz, 2003; Kinjerski & Skrypnek, 2004).

Spirituality at work is defined as the degree to which individual spirituality is expressed in the behaviors, policies, values, and principles of an organization (Dehler & Welsh, 1994) . Ashmos & Duchon (2000) describe SWB as involving three levels, namely individual, work-unit, and organization-wide. The individual level describes how much an employee can obtain a satisfying internal and external life by finding individual meaning and purpose through their work. The work-unit dimension entails how much employees have a sense of connection and community with their colleagues as well as assessing the extent to which those colleagues are caring and encouraging. The organization-wide facet of SWB considers the recognition of spirituality in the workplace. This dimension reflects the workplace as populated by people who have both a mind and a spirit and believe in that the development of the spirit of the personnel is as important as the development of other aspects in organizations. Therefore, to understand spirituality at workplace is to recognize that employees are spiritual beings that their souls are either nurtured or damaged by their jobs in their working environment.

Considering these factors, it seems obvious that an important trait which influences the outcomes of teaching process is the spirituality concept. Thus, much research in the area of spirituality in educational settings is needed for training and maintaining proficient teacher.

2. Review of Literature

2.1. Teachers’ Job Satisfaction

Similar to professionals in other occupations, job satisfaction in educators has been related to a number of factors. Researchers have linked job satisfaction to teacher attrition (Bobbitt, Leich, Whitner, & Slynch, 1994; Russ, Chiang, Rylance, & Bongers, 2001) practice related variables such as salaries, credentialing, opportunities for promotion, supervision, recognition, student behavior, working conditions, and sense of autonomy (Evans, 1986).

According to Shan (1998) , teacher job satisfaction is a predictor of teacher retention, a determinant of teacher commitment, and in turn a contributor to school effectiveness. Kim & Loadman (1994) also list a number of predicators of job satisfaction such as, interaction with students, interaction with colleagues, professional challenges, and opportunity for advancement. However, there are also other factors that need to be considered, for example, class size, workload of teachers, change in the school curriculum and labor policies which teachers have little or no control over.

Research on Teachers’ Job Satisfaction

There are many studies and literature about job satisfaction. But specifically on teachers’ job satisfaction, there is a narrow area. The research of job satisfaction which was conducted by Eckert & Stecklin (1961) indicated that those aspects which were related to the nature of work like (association with students, helping young people grow) and working conditions like (fine colleagues, intellectually stimulating associations) constituted the major sources of satisfaction. A study conducted by Ma & Macmillan (1999) entitled “influences of workplace conditions on teachers’ job satisfaction” examined the effects of various demographic variables and workplace environment variable on teacher job satisfaction. Participants were from New Brunswick, Canada and filled out a survey related to job satisfaction and conditions of workplace. Demographic variables examined include age, gender, and years of experience in teaching, it was found that the more years of experience in teaching, the more satisfaction the teacher was in their professional role. The researchers felt this suggested that the teachers were meeting their environmental needs outside of the school because adequate conditions were not being provided inside of the school.

Caprara, Barbaranelli, Borgogni, & Steca (2003) tried to examine teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs as determinants of their job satisfaction and students, academic achievement. Over 2000 teachers in 75 Italian junior high schools were administered self-report questionnaires to assess self-efficacy beliefs and their job satisfaction. Students’ average final grades at the end of junior high school were collected in two subsequent scholastic years. The results show that teachers’ personal efficacy beliefs affected their job satisfaction and students’ academic achievement, controlling for previous levels of achievement. In the study done by Blackburn (2007) , the level of teacher self-efficacy and job satisfaction among Kentucky agricultural teachers (N = 80) and also the relationship between teacher self-efficacy and job satisfaction among agricultural teachers have been determined.

In Iranian context teachers’ job satisfaction also were examined. MadandarArani & Abbasi (2008) have done a comparative study of secondary school teachers’ job satisfaction in relation to their value orientation and school organizational climate in Iran and India. Results of this study show that there is no significant difference between male and female teachers in their job satisfaction. Age, salary, amount of experience, and subject of teaching don’t have influence on job satisfaction. This study proved that the most significant factors for Iranian teachers are health, knowledge, family prestige; and for Indian teachers are religious, democratic, and knowledge. In a study by Rezvanfar, Akbari, and Hassanshahi (2008) the level of job satisfaction among agricultural education teachers in Yazd Province of Iran was investigated. The results indicated that the majority of teachers (56.7%) had a median level of job satisfaction.

2.2. Teachers’ Self-Efficacy

The concept of self-efficacy is an important implication for the teaching profession. This concept has been defined as teacher belief about his/her capabilities to bring about positive effects on students learning (Tschanne- Moran & Wolfolk Hoy, 2001) . Tschannen-Moran, Wolfolk Hoy, & Hoy (1998: p. 22) defined teacher efficacy as “…the teachers beliefs in his or her capability to organize and execute of action required to successfully accomplishing a specific task in particular context”. As long as self-efficacy varies across tasks and contexts, teacher self-efficacy is also differing from context to context. For example, a teacher may trust his skills in teaching the material effectively, but he may doesn’t have efficacy when it comes to dealing with disruptive behavior in the class. Bandura (1995) , Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy (2001) , and Woolfolk & Hoy (1990) summarize a number of studies that support the notion that teacher efficacy is related to many student and educational outcomes. According to these studies, teacher self-efficacy has close relationship with students achie- vement, students motivation, students own sense of efficacy, and teachers classroom management strategies. An effective teacher with high sense of efficacy is open to new ideas, trying new methods, and is a good manager.

Research on Teachers’ Self-Efficacy

The findings of the studies conducted by Trentham, Silvern, & Brogdon (1985) conformed that teachers’ sense of efficacy is related to their satisfaction with their choice of profession and their competence as rated by school superintendents. In recent years, there has been abundance of studies which have proved that the teachers’ efficacy will effect directly on his performance. As an example, teachers’ efficacy is related to teachers’ burnout (Brouwers, Tomic, Fives, Hamman, & Olivarez, 2000) . In addition, Capra, Barbaranelli, Steca, and Malone (2006), examined the relationship between teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs, their job satisfaction, and students’ academic achievement. Their findings show that teachers’ personal efficacy beliefs affected their job satisfaction and students’ academic achievements. In another study, Gençtűrk & Memiş (2010) investigated the primary school teachers’ self-efficacy for teaching profession and job satisfaction. The results suggested the positive and low relationship between self-efficacy and job satisfaction.

In recent years studies in this area has been conducted by Iranian researchers. For example, Rastegar & Memarpour (2009) examined the emotional intelligence (EI) and its relationship with self-efficacy among Iranian EFL teachers. Their hypothesis was that if teachers develop their (EI), their levels of self-efficacy will increase and vice versa. The result showed that there was a positive significant correlation between perceived EI and self-efficacy (Hajghani, 2012) has also come to the same findings. In another study, Vaezi & Fallah (2011) investigated the relationship between self-efficacy and stress among EFL teachers in Iran. The results indicated that there is a significant negative correlation between self-efficacy and stress. Also it was found that both types of self-efficacy, namely, classroom and organizational efficacies, could be predicted among EFL teachers.

2.3. Spiritual Well-Being

Spirituality is difficult to define (Estanek, 2006) , but it influences and gives meaning to every aspect of the individual’s life (Baker, 2003; Young & Koopsen, 2005) . “Spirituality reflects a unique psychological dimension around which individuals organize their lives, goals, values and intentions” (Bartlett, Piedmont, Bilderback, Matsumoto, & Bathon, 2003: p. 778) . Spirituality empowers, and enables individuals to and to grow more fully (Frey, Daaleman, & Peyton, 2005; Hill & Pargament, 2003) , make sense out of their current adverse situations, rise above adversity (Baker, 2003) , and find purpose, meaning, and hope (Aldridge, 2005; Brady, Peterman, Fitchett, Mo, & Cella, 1999) . Some consider it as a quasi-religion, others view it as a separate entity. Some have suggested that religion is an institution with varying names and labels, but spirituality is personal and connotes a part of the individual that just is, cannot be extracted or separated, and “lies at the core of one’s being” (Narayanasamy, 2002: p. 1461) .

Religion, an important subset of spirituality, according to (King, 2000) , reflects an individual’s nominal identification with a particular religious denomination, while spirituality is living out one’s faith, and focuses on belief, and life’s meaning and direction (Baker, 2003; McBrien, 2006) . Religious practice is a manner of expressing spirituality, and the two constructs may overlap, but are not the same (Bartlett et al., 2003; Cooper-Effa et al., 2001; Estanek, 2006; Hatch, Burg, Naberhaus, & Hellmich, 1998) . Religion and spirituality are contiguous, but not synonymous. As aptly stated by the quote attributed to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “We are not human beings having a spiritual journey, but spiritual beings having a human experience” (Teilhard de Chardin, n.d.) .

Although spirituality has traditionally been rooted in religion, the link between the two dispassionately debated. In the workplace spirituality literature, some argue for a spirituality that is devoid of religion while others characterize spirituality as inextricably linked to religion (Dent, Higgins, & Wharff, 2005) . The phenomenal growth in the interest of postmodern spirituality in the workplace is partly due to it being characterized as non- denominational, broadly inclusive, and an inherent characteristic of all human beings (Fernando, 2007; Piedmont et al., 2009) . Spiritual well-being, an outcome of the spiritual experience, “pertains to the wellness or ‘health’ of the totality of the inner resources of people, the ultimate concerns around which all other values are focused, the central philosophy of life that guides conduct, and the meaning giving center of human life which influences all individual and social behavior” (Moberg, 1979: p. 11) . Spiritual well-being correlates positively with psychological adjustment and overall wellness, marital satisfaction, physical health, social adjustment, possession of strong coping skills, and resiliency in times of stress and personal crisis (Beery et al., 2002; Fernsler, Klemm, & Miller, 1999; Tracey, Young, & Kelley, 2006) . Using several measurement instruments (e.g. Ellison, 1983 ; Fisher, 1998), spiritual well-being has been used for research purposes in various settings including universities, communities, clinics, and with participants such as psychiatrics, community groups, college students, persons with cancer, and persons with HIV/AIDS. The study and measurement of spiritual well-being is also becoming increasingly popular with researchers examining quality-of-life issues (Utsey, Lee, Holden, & Lanier, 2005) .

Studies on Spirituality Well-Being and Job Satisfaction

What causes job satisfaction, the situation or the person? When Staw & Ross (1985) examined this question, they found that job attitudes were highly stable across various situations. They studied the correlation of job satisfaction ratings of workers over various time intervals, controlling for changes in employers and occupations. Their findings indicate that job attitudes are more a function of the person than the situation. However, just two years later Gerhart (1987) conducted a large national probability sample. This study predicted current job satisfaction from prior satisfaction, pay, and job complexity. The outcome showed that pay, status and job complexity predicted current job satisfaction over and above the effects of past job satisfaction. These results counter Staw and Ross suggestion that job design changes will not affect job satisfaction. These contradictory results might leave some to conclude that job satisfaction may be a combination of both situational and dispositional factors. As interest and research grow, more studies point to some relationship between job satisfaction and dispositional variables.

Accordingly, Csiernik & Adams (2002) maintain that not enough empirical study has been devoted to including spirituality in measures of wellness. Csiernik & Adams (2002) define spirituality as “our perception of us, an adherence to values, of being ethical and being connected with others, while maintaining a belief system that typically includes some religious dimensions”. In their non-random sample taken from people attending a death and dying conference in London, Ontario and Canada, 154 workers from 7 work environments took the SWB scale along with other measures of wellness and job satisfaction. The study received a 34.3% response rate and found that spirituality helped to counteract stress in the workplace. They noted “a majority of respondents also indicated that workplace stress impacted negatively upon their spiritual health” (Csiernik & Adams, 2002) .

Four years later, Robert, Young, & Kelly (2006) measured spiritual well-being, existential well-being and job satisfaction using Ellison’s Spiritual Well-Being Scale (SWBS). They had 200 respondents fill out the SWBS and the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire Short Form. For the purposes of their study, Robert, Young, & Kelly (2006) define spirituality as including “searching for meaning and purpose in life, living by a set of values and beliefs, making a contribution in the world, and transcending oneself.” Their results indicate that spiritual well-being, religious well-being, existential well-being and job satisfaction were linked. Interestingly, the strongest positive correlation was between job satisfaction and having purpose or meaning in life. According to Robert, Young, & Kelly (2006) , spiritual well-being was a stronger predictor of job satisfaction than was religious well-being. And, they generously point out that the study may not be generalizable because they took their sample from a single region and religious (Catholic) background.

It seems not only logical but likely that a person’s disposition would have some effect on other aspects of his or her life. Moreover, growing body of research does support the idea that spirituality can impact job satisfaction. It appears that a new movement is afoot to integrate spirituality into the work experience in different contexts. The researchers of this study hope to contribute to the previous findings, inspiring new questions and added research. In this study, the respondents’ answers may provide some insight into whether or not job satisfaction can be influenced by the level of one’s spiritual well-being.

To address this question in the present study, we are trying to examine whether there is a relation between these two variables along with the relationship between them and spiritual sense of well-being. The study is therefore guided by the following research questions:

1) Is there any significant relationship between EFL teachers’ job satisfaction and their self-efficacy?

2) Is there any significant relationship between EFL teachers’ job satisfaction and their spiritual well-being?

3) Is there any significant relationship between EFL teachers’ self-efficacy and their spiritual well-being?

3. Research Hypothesis

The null hypothesises posed for this research project are as follows:

Ho1: There is no significant relationship between EFL teachers’ job satisfaction and their self-efficacy,

Ho2: There is no significant relationship between EFL teachers’ job satisfaction and their spiritual sense of well-being.

Ho3: There is no significant relationship between EFL teachers’ self-efficacy and their spiritual sense of well-being.

4. Methodology

4.1. Participants

The participants in this study were EFL teachers at non-profit language institutes in Kerman. In order to collect data, the samples were selected randomly from male and female teachers who were in service. The number of participant in this study was 46 English teachers. The age range was from 27 to 40.

4.2. Instrumentations

The following instruments were used for data collection:

1) Job Satisfaction Survey (Spector, 1994) ;

2) Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001) ;

3) Spiritual Well-being Scale (Paloutzian & Ellison, 1982).

The Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS) is a 36-item, nine-faced Likert scale to assess employees’ attitudes about jobs and their different aspects. Each facet is assessed by four items and a total score is computed from all items. A summated rating scale format is used, with six choices per item ranging from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.” Items are written in both directions, so about half must be reversely scored. The nine facets include pay, promotion, supervision, fringe benefits, contingent rewards (performance-based rewards), operating procedures (required rules and procedures), coworkers, nature of work, and communication. The reliability for the thirty six-item scale as reported by Spector (1994) is 0.92

Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES), also known as the Ohio State Teacher Efficacy Scale, was used to assess in-service teachers’ teaching self-efficacy. The short version of teach TSES (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001) is a twelve-item measure with items answered on a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (nothing) to 5 (a great deal). The range of the score for this scale is from 12 to 60. The reliability for the twelve- item scale is 0.90 (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001) .

Spiritual well-being (SWB) scale developed by Paloutzian & Ellison (1982), measures religious well-being (RWB), which is the individual’s beliefs and relationship with God, and existential well-being (EWB), which is the individual’s sense of meaning and purpose in life. Each of these two subscales contains 10 items, individually measured on a 6-point Likert scale ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” without a midpoint. Eleven items are worded to control for response-set bias. The items are scored from 1 to 6, with 6 indicating a greater well-being. Possible subscale scores range from 10 to 60; possible SWB scores range from 20 to 120. The scale takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Test-retest reliability over 4 to 10 weeks ranges from 0.88 to 0.99 for RWB, 0.73 to 0.98 for EWB, and 0.82 to 0.99 for SWB. The internal consistency reliability coefficients range from 0.82 to 0.94 for RWB, 0.78 to 0.86 for EWB, and 0.89 to 0.94 for SWB. The measurement tool has good face validity. Construct and concurrent validity have been demonstrated. The RWB items cluster closely one factor, and the EWB items cluster on the two factors of life direction and satisfaction. SWB scores are positively correlated with sense of purpose in life, self-confidence, and intrinsic orientation; they are negatively correlated with loneliness. The authors reported that the scale is much more sensitive for low scores than for high scores.

4.3. Data Analysis

The present study is descriptive and quantitative in that, the data was analyzed by means of SPSS statistical software. The variables under study included job satisfaction, spiritual well-being and self-efficacy in teachers. Teachers’ characteristics such as age, gender, teaching experience are among the potential factor modifying the relationship but were neither controlled nor studied in this research.

5. Results

Table 1 indicates the descriptive statistics of three variables, namely job satisfaction, self-efficacy, and spiritual well-being. The main performances of teachers on JSS, TSES, and SWBSS were 129.50, 81.06, and 55.78, respectively.

Table 1. Descriptive Statistics of the variables.

In order to investigate the relationship between job satisfaction and teachers’ self-efficacy (research question 1), a Pearson Product moment Correlation was launched (Table 2).

As indicated in Table 2, since p-value (0.695) is not less than the alpha level of 0.05, it is concluded that there is not any relationship between job satisfaction and teachers’ sense of efficacy, therefore the null hypothesis is confirmed. The scatter diagram is presented below (Figure 1).

Table 2. Correlations matrix.

*: Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

Figure 1. Scatter diagram job satisfaction and teachers’ sense of efficacy.

In order to investigate the relationship between job satisfaction and spiritual well-being, (research question 2), Pearson Product moment Correlation was run (Table 2). As indicated in Table 2, since p-value (0.022) is less than the alpha level of 0.05, it is concluded that there is a significant negative relationship between job satisfaction and spiritual well-being (r = −0.338). Therefore, the null hypothesis is rejected. Moreover, this significant negative relationship means that teachers with higher levels of job satisfaction are of lower levels of spiritual well-being, and vice versa. The scatter diagram is presented below (Figure 2).

In order to investigate the relationship between teachers’ self-efficacy and spiritual well-being (research question 3), a third Pearson Product moment Correlation was conducted (Table 2). As indicated in Table 2, since p-value (0.182) is not less than the alpha level of 0.05, it is concluded that there is not any significant relationship between teachers’ sense of efficacy and spiritual well-being. Therefore, the null hypothesis is confirmed. The scatter diagram is presented below (Figure 3).

6. Discussion

With regard to the first research questions of the present research, to investigate the relationship between job satisfaction and teachers’ self-efficacy, Pearson Product Moment Correlation was launched. Since p-value (0.695) is not less than the alpha level of 0.05, it is concluded that there is not any significant relationship between job satisfaction and teachers’ sense of efficacy, therefore the null hypothesis is confirmed. The results are not in line with findings of some studies ( Blackburn, 2007; Brouwers et al., 2000; Caprara et al., 2003; Gençtűrk & Memiş, 2010 ; Rezvanfar et al., 2008; Trentham et al., 1985 ). The reason for this controversy might be rooted in the social and political condition of the context of the study; moreover, the small number of the participants may have also contributed to such dispute.

Figure 2. Scatter diagram job satisfaction and spiritual well being.

Figure 3. Scatter diagram teachers’ sense of efficacy and spiritual well-being.

The investigation of the second research question indicated the relationship between job satisfaction and spiritual well-being. The results indicated that there is a significant relationship between job satisfaction and spiritual well-being. Since r = −0.338, there is a significant negative relationship between EFL teachers’ job satisfaction and spiritual well-being. This means that teachers with higher levels of job satisfaction are of lower levels of spiritual well-being, and vice versa. This finding is not in line with findings that mentioned in literature. Considering Robert, Young, & Kelly’s (2006) study, spiritual well-being, religious well-being; existential well-being and job satisfaction were linked. Interestingly, a positive relationship between these two variables was reported in that study. Regarding the third question of the study, since p-value (0.182) is not less than the alpha level of .05, it is concluded that there is not any relationship between teachers’ sense of efficacy and spiritual well- being. Considering the relationship between self-efficacy and job satisfaction, this finding is not in line with previous researches like Capra, Barbaranelli, Steca, & Malone (2006), in that teachers’ personal efficacy beliefs affect their job satisfaction and students’ academic achievement.

A major limitation of this study was the number of participants. So if this study is to be duplicated in future for research purposes, it is better to have a larger group of participants. Moreover, factors such as teachers’ age, gender, and teaching experience are among those potential factors which modify the relationship but are neither controlled nor studied in this research. It is suggested that in future, these factors should be considered.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Rastegar, M. and Moradi, S. (2016) On the Relationship between EFL Teachers’ Job Satisfaction, Self-Efficacy, and Their Spiritual Sense of Well-Being. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 6, 1-12. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2016.61001.

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