Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Attitudes of Principals and Teachers toward Approaches Used to Deal with Teacher Incompetence

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Attitudes of Principals and Teachers toward Approaches Used to Deal with Teacher Incompetence

Article excerpt

Because the birth rate is now low in many countries, the number of positions available for new teachers may be limited, and some incompetent teachers may be remaining in the profession. Although there are various procedures for dealing with incompetent teachers, in Taiwan there has not been any systematic discussion about either the approaches used for dealing with incompetence or the effectiveness of these. Therefore, in this study my aims were to use expectancy value theory and justice theory to construct a theoretical framework of teacher incompetence and relevant factors, to identify the approaches used for dealing with incompetent teachers and the effects of these, and to identify which of these approaches is/are effective in improving teaching quality.

The quality of teaching is important in education (Menuey, 2005) because when teachers are incompetent this has a significant effect on the quality of students' learning. In recent years, the two major political parties in the US have been dealing actively with the issue of incompetent teachers, even though the teachers' union has stood firm against these moves (Futernick, 2010). As early as 1977, parents and school administrators at some schools in the US intended to dismiss incompetent teachers in order to enhance the professional reputation of teachers (Bridges & Groves, 1984). However, the issue of incompetent teachers continues to lack an effective resolution in the US (Bridges, 1993). In the United Kingdom, school administrators have been more active in dismissing incompetent teachers. In 1999, approximately 4,000 teachers in the UK faced possible dismissal because they failed to satisfy the requirements of a performance evaluation, and approximately 600 from this group were dismissed (Chang, 2007). Although there has been more action taken in the UK than in the US, the attitude toward incompetent teachers is one of tolerance in both these countries (Wragg, Haynes, Wragg, & Chamberlin, 1999). The main reason for this is that there is not an effective system in place for assessing teacher incompetence. In an attempt to develop a system for assessing teacher incompetence, Tucker (1997) surveyed 112 school principals in the state of Virginia. However, the results of this research were not conclusive because it was found that school principals did not find it easy to assess the competence of their teaching staff. Although principals have teaching experience and ability, the professional knowledge of principals varies; thus, in previous research it has been reported that principals were unable to accurately assess teaching incompetence in various school subjects (Yariv, 2004). The situation that these researchers reported is the basis of the main argument used by teachers' unions to oppose the assessment of incompetent teachers. Previous researchers have suggested that the opposition of teachers' unions is the major obstacle to dealing with incompetent teachers (Menuey, 2005; Painter, 2000). Therefore, in this study I investigated how teacher incompetence is dealt with from the perspective of both principals and teachers with the aims of identifying the most effective approach that can enhance the morale of teachers and make them more satisfied, understanding the gap between expectation of principals and teachers in dealing with incompetent teachers, and determining the expectation gap that is most favorable to achieving high quality teaching and high morale among teachers.

In past studies scholars have suggested that schools seldom dismiss teachers for the reason of incompetence (Chait, 2010). Approaches commonly used for dealing with incompetence are: transferring incompetent teachers to other jobs (Chait, 2010), tolerating their poor performance (Bridges, 1993), guiding them into a teaching improvement process, getting competent teachers to invite those who are incompetent to join their teaching team to improve the incompetent teacher's professional skills (Chait, 2010), or persuading the incompetent teacher to retire (Wragg et al. …

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