Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

Exploring the Relationship between Creativity and Burnout among Iranian EFL Teachers

Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

Exploring the Relationship between Creativity and Burnout among Iranian EFL Teachers

Article excerpt


Teachers. level of burnout and creativity are considered as variables which affect the quality of both teaching and learning in almost any educational context. The present study aimed at investigating the relationship between creativity and burnout among Iranian EFL teachers with respect to gender differences. In so doing, an exploratory/descriptive study was applied with a sample size of 100 male and female classroom teachers. A survey was given to English language teachers in 12 English language institutes from all over the city of Mashhad. Weak correlations were found between creativity and the two dimensions of burnout, i.e., emotional exhaustion, depersonalization. However, a fairly significant correlation was observed between creativity and reduced personal accomplishment. Further, by running two way ANOVA it was revealed that gender did not influence the relationship between reduced personal accomplishment and the creativity index.

Keywords: Burnout, Creativity

1. Introduction

Today a fairly large number of English language teachers appear to be suffering from burnout which is widely believed to be a by-product of working too hard and intensively. To this day, psychologists have come up with a myriad of reasons and explanations for this phenomenon; yet it keeps hampering dozens of English teachers, many of whom very experienced and skillful, from pursuing their professional career. For example, Bryne (1998) stated that 50% of beginning teachers leave the teaching profession within their first 4 years. Many studies have been conducted to shed light on the murky points of this phenomenon. However, quite a few factors were found to play a significant role in generating burnout amongst English teachers. Campbell (1983) asserted that our society cannot afford the large number of teachers who are leaving the teaching profession each year because of symptoms of burnout. In this respect, Townley, Thornburg & Crompton (1991) mentioned that identification of workplace and personal variables significantly related to burnout and/or competence can be useful to employers as they hire new teaching staff.

As Iwanicki (1983) rightly put, burnout is a complex phenomenon requiring the close attention of all educators. Likewise, other professionals of the field agree that burnout is a multi-faceted, multi dimensional phenomenon, demanding a complex perspective to investigate its varied components and constituents.

Here, a psychological construct that may serve to block or delay burnout is creativity; a part of each person.s mentality whose impact on teachers. burnout has not been investigated thoroughly to the present day. Carter (2004) believed that research into the phenomenon of creativity is by no means extensive and has only been actively pursued during the past fifty years or so. He goes further to say that this subject has been seen mainly as the domain of various sub-disciplines, a process which to some degree has led to fragmentation and marginalization of creativity as a topic for study.

Unfortunately, research on tracing a possible interaction between these two variables i.e. burnout and creativity in EFL context has remained intact and mediocre. Few studies have made an attempt to enlighten the complexity of the interaction between these two mental constructs.

1.1 Burnout

It is now well accepted that the burnout phenomenon is a chronic state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion that arises in personnel from the cumulative demands of their work (Goddard, O'Brien & Goddard, 2006). The current definitions and elaborations of burnout is by far diverse and varied. However, among all, probably the most widely accepted definition of burnout has been proposed by Maslach (1982) describing burnout as a multi-faceted phenomenon: "a three dimensional syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment that occurs among individuals who work with people in some helping capacity". …

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