Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Burnout among Primary and Secondary School Teachers of English Subject in Malaysia

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Burnout among Primary and Secondary School Teachers of English Subject in Malaysia

Article excerpt

1.Background of the study

In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in job burnout among teachers around the globe. It involves loss of motivation that lingers physical, mental and emotional exhaustion and a long period of frustration with work. Freudenthal (1973, p.65) was one of the pioneers to study burnout and he pointed out that job burnout is a "state of fatigue or frustration brought about by devotion to cause, way of life, or relationship that failed to produce the expected reward". Maslach and Pines (1984) identified three dimensions of burnout, namely, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment.

There is abundant research which focused on three dimensions of burnout among teachers through using Maslach's inventory. Johnson et al. (2005) and Kyriacou and Sutcliffe(1977) opined that teaching is one of the most stressful occupations but the literature review indicated that there might be reasons that cause burnout among teachers. Some researchers (Turk et al., 1982; Litt and Turk, 1985; Carlson and Thompson, 1995; Kyriacou and Sutcliffe, 1978; Dunham, 1992; Burke &Greenglass, 1994; Chan, 1998; Brotheridge&Grandey, 2002; Thuraisamy, 2002; Mukundan&khandehroo, 2009; Mukundan&khandehroo, 2010; Mukundan&Ahour, 2011; Jamshidirad, Mukundan and Nimehchisalem, 2012; Mousavy, Thomas &Mukundan, 2012; and Thomas, Mousavy and Mukundan, 2012) diagnosed the major causes behind burnout which include, but not limited to,inadequate salary and perceived low status of the profession, role conflict and ambiguity, time pressure, student misbehavior, relationships with supervisors, and large class size, a great number of emotional demands compared to most other professionals. Another group of researchers (Guglielmi and Tatrow, 1998; Shan, 1998; Vandenberghe and Huberman, 1999) argued that stress and emotional demands can result in emotional and physical exhaustion, cynical attitudes about teaching, reduced feelings of personal accomplishment, and lower job satisfaction in teaching profession. However, Taylore (2001) found that emotionally intelligent individuals can deal better with life's challenges and control their emotions more efficiently. Harrod and Scheer (2005) also noted that personal success and everyday interactions with others can be influenced by emotional intelligence which is the driving force behind the factors.

Burnout is a serious psychological syndrome that can affect not only an individual's well-being, but also the functioning of whole organizations, such as schools. It is characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and decreased personal accomplishment. The level of burnout among teachers in the field of education has a negative impact on student success. Burnout produces critical consequences for teachers' performance, their teaching profession, and students' learning process. As a result, conducting research on teacher burnout would be beneficial (Chan, 2006).

The phenomenon of job burnout among Language teachers in Malaysia has become an issue in both primary and secondary level. Numerous studies have been also carried out in Malaysia to explore teacher burnout with relatively small sample size. Considering the limitations of previous studies, the purpose of the present study, though, was to examine whether English language teachers who work at primary and secondary schools experience the same level of burnout. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the following research questions:

1. What is the level of burnout among primary and secondary English language teachers in Malaysia?

2. Is there a significant difference between Malaysian primary and secondary school English language teachers' level of burnout?

2. Literature Review

The term burnout was first utilized by Freudenberger (1974) to explain the emotional and mental exhaustion that individuals experience besides the lack of job satisfaction. …

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