Teacher Irrational Belief Scale - Preliminary Norms for Romanian Population

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study is the adaptation of the Teacher Irrational Belief Scale - TIBS (Bernard, 1988). The scale was administered to a sample of 242 teachers from 4 high schools and 4 general schools. Our results are, on the whole, consistent with those obtained in earlier normative studies conducted on Australian population. The internal consistency coefficients (Cronbach's Alpha) for the three beliefs and the global score ranged from .48 to .74, which are adequate for using the scale in reliable conditions. The factor analysis revealed 3 principal factors for the Romanian population, related to 3 core irrational beliefs (low frustration tolerance, self -downing and other demandingness). These results are different from those reported on Australian population, where 4 factors were found - low frustration tolerance, self-downing, authoritarianism and demand for justice, but authoritarianism and demand for justice seem to describe Ellis's major irrational belief - other demandingness. The scores of TIBS are related to the scores of the Attitudes and Beliefs Scale 2 (ABS 2).

Keywords: Teacher Irrational Belief Scale, irrational beliefs, teachers, norms

Irrational beliefs of teachers

Rational-emotive behavior therapy (REBT) sees psychological problems as learned maladaptive responses, maintained by irrational beliefs. That is the reason why, in REBT, the therapeutic process targets the identification of irrational beliefs, disputation of these beliefs and the modification of dysfunctional emotions and behaviors (Ellis & Dryden, 1997).

According to REBT (Macavei, 2002) emotional disturbance results from the individual's tendency to make absolutistic and rigid evaluations of perceived events. These evaluations are translated into "musts" and "shoulds" (demandingness - DEM). These "musts" lead to other core irrational beliefs:

* Awfulizing beliefs (AWF): an event is evaluated as being more than 100% negative) - awfulizing;

* Low frustration tolerance (LFT): a person thinks that he/she can not be happy if something "that shouldn't be happening" happens;

* Self-downing and global evaluation (SD/GE): labelling oneself, others or life as being "miserable", if things don't work out as expected;

Rational-emotive behavior therapy (REBT) can also be applied in the educational field and in organizations. The extension of REBT in education is represented by rational-emotive behavior education and rational-emotive behavior consultation. Research in these areas focuses on the relationship between irrational beliefs and teacher stress. Over time, REBT was used as a framework for explaining teacher stress (Bernard, Joyce, & Rosewarne, 1983; Forman, 1990), as well as an intervention strategy for decreasing it (Bernard, 1990; Forman, 1990).

Zingle and Anderson (1990) confirmed the REBT hypothesis, according to which the level of teaching stress varies with the degree of endorsement of irrational beliefs.

Moracco and McFadden (1981) underlined the mediating role of cognitive factors in teacher stress. They emphasized the importance of teacher attitudes toward the stressors that appear in the school environment and the role of coping skills in the efficient management of stress. Leach (1984) showed that the discrepancy between perceived work demands and abilities can lead to psychological and biochemical changes, which represent stress reactions.

Even though some situations can be intrinsically stressful, in most situations individuals create their own negative emotions because they evaluate the situation in a certain way. Their dysfunctional reactions result from their beliefs. Although the activating event contributes to what an individual thinks or believes, it does not cause it. Kyriacou (1987) emphasizes the role of cognition in teacher stress by stating that teachers' perception on their circumstances and the degree of perceived control are crucial factors. …