Democratic Teacher Beliefs According to the Teacher's Gender and Locus of Control

Article excerpt

This study explored the variations in democratic beliefs among teachers based on gender and locus of control. The study groups comprised of 286 teachers. The results demonstrated that the level of adherence to democratic beliefs on the part of female teachers was significantly higher than those of male teachers, especially in terms of equality and justice. This study found that teachers' gender has an effect on their democratic beliefs and this effect was found statistically low for equality, very low for freedom, average for justice, and low for the overall dimensions. Observance of democratic values was found to be significantly higher for teachers with internal locus of control than for those with external locus of control in terms of freedom. And, in terms of locus of control, teachers' democratic belief was found statistically low for equality, average for independence, low for justice, and average for the overall dimensions.

Keywords: Democratic Teacher Beliefs, Gender, Locus of Control

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If we are to have a society that values democratic ideals, such as equality, freedom and justice, we need to educate individuals within that society in a democratic milieu. Among all others, the responsibility lies with teachers who have an appreciation for democracy to nurture individuals in the society and have been educated in a democratic milieu. To this end, teachers need to have acquired the basic behavioral patterns that comply with those adopted by the society. Teachers' acquisition of certain personality traits develops through social learning. The social learning approach involves personal and environmental aspects, and the interaction between these two. Bandura (1986) points out that individuals would always be in a constant state of change towards harmony, regardless of the transient effects left on them if their behavior was determined by external rewards and punishments. And, this idea indicates that behavioral changes are not determined solely by individual factors. The condition for social learning lies in individuals' realization that other people's behaviors and the outcomes of these behaviors are rewarded and punished. In this way, Bandura (1977) defines character as the interaction of personal variables such as behavior, environment, and perception. And, Banduras (1997) further comments on the significance of the interaction by saying that mutual interaction between increases ambiguity within society and diversification encourages individuals to develop their potentials and gives them a chance to select, change, or shape their surroundings.

In this process of interaction, personality traits such as gender and locus of control help better understand the effects of self awareness and environmental factors on behaviour (Carlson et al., 2000). Through males and females, individuals learn about gender-appropriate belief patterns, personal preferences, abilities, personality traits and ego (Wade & Tavris, 1990). By means of social learning, individuals learn about gender-related stereo types, gender roles, behaviors, and attitudes (Uzzel & Natalie, 2006). According to cultural belief patterns, males are more competent, independent, decisive, and rational. On the contrary, females are less competent, competitive, ambitious, independent, and active (Broverman et al., 1972). When interviewed on gender-related beliefs and roles, in their responses college students attributed the following abilities to males--athletically and mechanically gifted, good at grasping economics, good observers and possess intellectual excellence, a good grasp of science, theoretical understanding, common sense, expertise, and professional skills. For females they attributed these qualifies--possess social skills, an understanding of interpersonal relationship, appreciation for art, domestic skills, satire appreciation, and physical appearance (Center 1971 quarters: Bruess & Greenberg 2004)

Related to an individual's personal qualities, the locus of control is a personality trait developed through social learning. …