«Malaysian Journal of Distance Education 12(2), 111139 (2010) Experiencing the Impact of ‘Experience’ Over ‘Professional Stress’ and Allied ...»
Professional Interest Interest, according to Vernon (1967), is just a complex like an amalgam of subjective feelings and objective behaviour – the tendencies, which vary in intensity and from object to object. It has close relationship with culture and effort. As the important component of psychoeducational attributes, interest is an established set of dispositions, resulting from experience and it determines resulting behaviour. In this sense, interest is a tendency to behaviour, oriented towards creation objects, activities or experience which tendency varies in intensity and generally from individual to individual. Factor analytical studies of interest have shown about fifteen independent dimensions. Some of those dimensions are technology, music, art, politics, economics, etc.
While Vernon suggests that it is difficult to specify certain fixed number of dimensions of interest, according to Mc Dougall (1908), interest may be reflected to the motivating force that compels us to attend a person, a thing or any given activity; or it may be the effective experience that has been stimulated by the activity itself. In other words, interest can be the cause of an activity and the result of participation in the activity.
According to the Penguin Dictionary of Psychology, the term ‘interest’ is employed in the following two senses.
1. The functional interest: It designates a type of feeling, earned by experience, which might be called ‘worthwhileness’ – and associated with attention to an object or course of action.
2. The structural interest: It indicates an element or item in an individual’s makeup, either congenital or acquired, because of which individual tends to have his feeling of ‘worthwhileness’ in 118 Malaysian Journal of Distance Education 12(2), 111139 (2010) connection with certain objects or matters relating to a particular subject or a particular field of knowledge (Reber et al., 2004).
Professional interest indicates the feeling of an individual or a group towards the very profession in which (s)he/they is/are absorbed. Studies in western countries reveal close association of professional interest with working condition, respect, status, salary, age, habitation, gender and similar other psychosocial and socioeconomic factors. However, a close look over the dissertation abstracts makes it clear that not even a single study has yet been taken up in India incorporating sample group of teachers serving in engineering education system in India.
The present investigation uses the term ‘professional interest’ so as to find out the tendency of women engineering teachers, teaching through ODCL, towards their profession (i.e., teaching) that is, whether they feel any urge towards their profession – which may be positive or negative.
Until and unless a person is having strong positive interest towards her profession, it is difficult for the individual to do well in profession.
Therefore, as in other professions, it is essential for the teachers to enhance the level of interest towards their profession i.e., teaching (Roy & Paira, 2009). In the changing socioeconomic fabric, it is often observed that joining the teaching profession, especially for a section of the technocrats, after completion of their course of study becomes a compulsion. In other words, an individual, in some cases, opt for certain profession merely out of some socioeconomic compulsion. In such cases, it is for the individual, who joined in profession primarily due to certain compulsion, to decide whether s/he will try to enhance professional interest of self or not.
Some studies are also available on teachers’ professional interest (Shakuntala & Sabapathy, 1999; Roy & Mandal, 2005; Roy, 2007).
Individualism-collectivism Collectivism is defined as a human (and also non-human) propensity, which guides the organism to follow the principle of extending priority over group than that of an individual. Individualism is just the reverse principle where the group priority is dominated by individual priority Experiencing the Impact of ‘Experience’ (Goldman, 1991, 2004). However in psychopedagogy, individualism is perceived as a trait, (which in course becomes habit) of being independent and self-reliant. Individualism is also perceived as a brewing factor of egoism (Roy, 2007).
For the present study individualism-collectivism is considered as a traitcontinuum, which is reflected through the persons’ positional existence in the trait (measuring) scale.
ODCL-based engineering education system, by virtue of its nature, differs to some extent from rest of the segments of education in terms of its emphasis and affinity towards psychomotor domain. It is not merely the individual-effort, but rather group-effort, which is much more essential, both for the teachers and taught, especially when some group-project is taken up. In most of the cases, group-projects require an integrated groupapproach.
Project, in engineering education, is defined as a purposeful wholehearted activity completed in cooperation in educational setup. As engineering education depends much on imbibing manipulative, drawing and observational skill, therefore team-effort is an important consideration in engineering education, even when offered through ODCL mode. It is often quoted that success of engineering education hinges on ‘learning by doing’ principle. In this very spectrum, most of the practical works and laboratory activities need collective effort; and at times, nature of skill needs (and therefore is planned) to be transmitted among the students also demanding collective effort.
It is an age-old axiom that in educational setup, teacher is viewed as a role model for the students. Personal qualities of the teacher often disseminates among the students. As such, the importance of collectivism among the teachers is a truly supportive factor in the process of acquiring skill. If the students are taught by the teachers, having a higher level of collective attribute, students, as it is expected, will also be influenced by the very characteristic of the teacher.
120 Malaysian Journal of Distance Education 12(2), 111139 (2010) Job-Satisfaction Job satisfaction is in regard to one’s feelings or state-of-mind regarding the nature of their work. Job satisfaction can be influenced by a variety of factors, such as the quality of one’s relationship with their colleagues or supervisor, the quality of the physical environment in which they work, degree of fulfillment in their work, and so on. It may have resultant impact with professional stress or interest.
However, there is no strong acceptance among researchers, academicians or consultants that increased job-satisfaction produces improved jobperformance. In fact, improved job-satisfaction can sometimes decrease job-performance. For example, one could let sometime sit around all day and do nothing. That may make them more satisfied with their ‘work’ in the short run, but their performance certainly didn’t improve.
Sense of inner-fulfillment and pride achieved when somebody is performing a particular job. Job-satisfaction occurs when a teacher feels he has accomplished something having importance and value worthy of recognition and of sense of joy. As per dictionary meaning, Jobsatisfaction is an act of satisfying, fulfillment, or gratification. It may be the state of being satisfied; contentment or the cause or means of being satisfied or may be confident acceptance of something as satisfactory, dependable, or true.
This factor was dealt by studies conducted by scholars like Dixit (1993), Reddy and Babu (1995), Panda (2001), Vyas (2002), Pushpam (2003), Amudha & Velayudhan (2003), and Bala (2009).
For the sake of the present investigation, the terminology is considered as the Sense of inner fulfillment and pride achieved when female teachers, involved in teaching engineering subjects through ODCL.
Within the engineering education spectrum, apart from the three important psychopedagogical attributes, viz., professional stress, professional interest and collectivism of a teacher, the level of job-satisfaction also matters a lot to find the success of the system, as reflected through the outputs of the system. Now-a-days it is often argued that engineers of the day need to have in their possession, the most important skill, i.e., the soft Experiencing the Impact of ‘Experience’ skill, which includes the entire attitudinal domain of the personality, interaction pattern and expression of feelings towards situation – all of which possess a close relationship with the social adjustment and success in the profession.
However, a close look over the dissertation abstracts makes it clear that not even a single study has yet been taken up neither in India, nor in abroad, incorporating all the above factors. It is also interesting to note that none of the studies referred in this section has addressed the psychopedagogical attributes of teachers, teaching in distance education system. With a view to exploring the real situation, the present study was taken up.
Experience group The sample of the present investigation was classified in three broad categories, based on their span of teaching experience. It is worth noting in this context that the group of sample, as is assumed, in the other area of teaching of subject usually exhibits a higher degree of positive correlation between age and span of experience. However a peculiarity was visible among the group of sample, where the degree of correlation, due to the reason that a handful proportion of the respondents started their career in industry and latter shifted on teaching. Hence, irrespective of having a comparatively higher age, such respondents are classified, not in higher experience group. Only the span of experience in teaching profession was considered in the process of classifying this group of respondents. Due to this reason, the experience groups include respondents from a varied span
of age range. The groups considered under the study are as follows:
Lower experience group The group of respondents falling in the experience span includes seventyfive female engineering college teachers. The respondents, possessing less than five years of teaching experience, irrespective of their age are considered under this category.
Middle experience group The group of respondents falling in the experience group includes fortyfour female engineering college teachers. The respondents falling under the experience category includes respondents `having teaching experience 122 Malaysian Journal of Distance Education 12(2), 111139 (2010) in the concerned cadre, ranging from minimum of five years in the lower end and maximum of fifteen years in the upper end.
Higher experience group The group of respondents falling in the experience span includes thirteen female engineering college teachers. The minimum span of experience considered under the category is more than fifteen years. Maximum service length of the category though not specified however appears 29 years.
Objectives of the study
Underlining objectives of the present investigation were to:
1. Explore the level of professional stress, professional interest, collectivism and job satisfaction of the female teachers working in engineering college/universities and are offering instruction through ODCL.
2. Explore the interrelationship of above-spelt four psychopedagogical attributes of the respondents.
3. Explore the impact of span of teaching experience over the stated psychopedagogical attributes.
Methodology of the study
Methodology adopted to carry out the project was as follows:
Sample The sample for the present investigation incorporates one hundred and thirty two (132) female member of faculties from six different engineering subject-trade, teaching in twenty-four off-campus centers of technical universities, having centers in eastern India.
A stratified random sampling technique was adopted to deduce the sample for the present investigation.
Experiencing the Impact of ‘Experience’ The peculiarity of the sample for the present investigation is in terms of their affiliation towards subject-discipline, gender and mode of teaching.
Tools To explore the psychopedagogical attributes of the respondents, four sets of standardised scales, developed by the investigators, were used, which include a Professional Stress Scale (PSS) for engineering teachers, Professional Interest Scale (PIS) for engineering teachers, an Individualism-Collectivism Scale (ICS) and a Job-Satisfaction Scale (JSS).
Professional Stress Scale To ascertain the level of professional stress of the respondents, the PSS was administered over the respondents. The scale was developed in a questioning cum statement pattern, including 24 items, with a scale range of 0 to 60 and a midpoint of 30. The reliability coefficient of the scale was determined as 0.76.
Professional Interest Scale PIS used for the study incorporates thirty (30) items, with proportionate positive and negative ratio, placed in a five point Likert’s scale, with a scale ranging from 30 to 150 and a scale mid point of 90. The scale bears a reliability coefficient of 0.84.
Individualism-Collectivism Scale With a view to measuring individuality-collectivity attribute of the respondents, the ICS was administered. The scale was a seven point Likert’s scale, incorporating sixteen items with proportionate positive and negative ratio, placed haphazardly on the scale. Scale range varied from 16 to 112, with a midpoint of 64 and a reliability coefficient 0.86.
Job satisfaction Scale To ascertain the level of Job satisfaction of the respondents, the JSS was administered over the respondents. The scale was a five point Likert’s scale, including twenty items, distributed proportionately, placed haphazardly in statement form. The scale possesses a scale range 0 to 100 and a midpoint of 50. Reliability coefficient of the scale was determined as 0.92.
124 Malaysian Journal of Distance Education 12(2), 111139 (2010) Data Data were collected from the respondents by administering the scales. By nature, collected data were quantitative; and were analysed through descriptive statistics, correlation and ‘t’ test.
Findings of the present investigation are listed as follows:
Figure 2 Distribution of mean (M) and standard deviation (σ) of the psychopedagogical attributes [Total group, N=132]