Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

An Analysis of Factors Affecting Teachers' Irrational Beliefs

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

An Analysis of Factors Affecting Teachers' Irrational Beliefs

Article excerpt

The survival of living beings largely depends on their abilities to recognize and adapt to their environment. The search for the source of knowledge about ourselves and our environment has continued since the pre-psychology period. There are two basic views on this subject. One of these views argues that knowledge is innate, while the other view maintains that experiences are the source of knowledge. The first perspective assumes that there are pre-existing categories of information regulating our sensory experiences. According to the opposing view, knowledge can only exist based on experiences. Neither of these views, which are as old as the history of thought, have been scientifically rejected. Thus, it can be said that knowledge draws on both experiences and pre-existing, innate information (Solso, Maclin, & Maclin, 2007).

With the development of opposing ideas towards the end of the period that was dominated by the behaviorist school of thought (zeitgeist), cognition has been increasingly studied within psychology (Schultz & Schultz, 2001). As cognitive structures gained importance in the field of psychology, cognitive aspects of personality theories were emphasized more and more. However, the idea that cognitive structures have an effect on personality has very deep roots in the past. For example, the proposition of Epictetus -Stoic philosophers in Ancient Greece - that "people are not disturbed by events, but are disturbed by impressions gained from them" (Epiktetos, 2003), as well as Adler's view that emotional reactions and ways of life are linked to basic beliefs and thus occur cognitively (Corey, 2005), gave importance to cognitive structures before Albert Ellis.

With the increasing emphasis on how cognitive structures affect personality, psychotherapies that are based on cognitive approaches have been widely adopted. As its name suggests, the focus of cognitive psychotherapy is thoughts (Burger, 2006). Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) developed by Albert Ellis (Ellis & Harper, 1997). This approach was first termed Rational Therapy (RT) in 1955 by Albert Ellis, was changed to Rational Emotive Therapy (RET) in 1961, and then came to be known as Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) in 1993. It is considered to be Cognitive Behavioral Therapy's (CBT) first approach. While the approach started off as being excessively cognitive, quite positivist, and very router in nature (Ortakale, 2008), over time it developed a focus on feelings and behaviors (Ellis, 1994; Türküm, 1994).

According to Ellis (1994), as a result of incorrect reasoning and irrational beliefs, individuals experience depression, anxiety, stress, and other similar problems. This situation stems from the relationship between feeling, thought, and behavior. While feelings and behaviors have an effect on beliefs, beliefs and behaviors also affect feelings, and feelings and beliefs affect behaviors. REBT is also known as the ABC model. According to this model, when people are faced with activating events (A), these events stimulate rational and irrational beliefs that they have (B). Their rational beliefs (rB) form appropriate emotional and behavioral outcomes (aC), while their irrational beliefs (iB) produce non-functional and non-effective results (iC). Ellis (2001) describes four basic irrational beliefs: dogmatic demands (should, ought to), pessimism (this is terrible, impossible), low tolerance (I can't bear...), and negative generalizations (poor, worthless) (Ellis, 2001; Türküm, 1994).

There is ample research on irrational beliefs in the literature. However, in the literature about Turkey, there are no studies which directly address the relationship between depression and the irrational thoughts of teachers. Rather, the available studies show the causes of teachers' faulty thinking (Webber & Coleman, 1988), and the relationship between irrational thoughts and emotional stress (Stebbins & Pakenham, 2001), eating disorders (Mayhaw & Edelman, 1989), low self-esteem (Daly & Burton, 1983), anger and anxiety (Zwemer & Deffenbacher, 1984), psychiatric symptoms (Bruce Thyer & Kilgore, 1983), and communication skills (cited in Türküm, 1999). …

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