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J. Undergrad. Sci. 3: 147-154 (Fall 1996)


Teacher Motivation and Job Satisfaction: A Study Employing the Experience Sampling Method
ANDRE BISHAY academic achievement. Stevens & White (1987) studied the records of students in 15 school districts, with 191 teachers as subjects. The standardized test scores from the California Achievement Test were used as the best estimate of thelearned behavior in each teacher’s classroom. There was no direct relationship between teacher morale and student achievement. However, Stevens & White surmised that further research on this topic requires an examination of the achievement levels of students prior to their involvement with the teachers participating in the study. “If pretest-posttest scores could be obtained for the time studentsspent in a teacher’s classroom, the achievement of those students while in that teacher’s classroom might be more adequately measured.” The results of another study involving teachers in small independent school districts demonstrated that high levels of interaction within the faculty group, as determined by responses to questions on the Halpin & Croft Observation Climate DescriptionQuestionnaire, correlated significantly with higher pupil reading scores on the California Achievement Test (Jordan, 1986). It is likely that high levels of teacher social interaction on the job are linked to high motivation levels; thus, the possibility that enhanced levels of teacher motivation will lead to superior student achievement cannot be dismissed. While the relationship between teacher motivationand student achievement has not yet been established, the correlation between teacher motivation and student self-esteem has been shown by Peck, Fox, and Morston (1977). “Teachers with strong positive attitudes about teaching had students whose self-esteem was high. Students seem to recognize the effectiveness of teachers who are satisfied with their teaching performance.” Rothman (1981) suggeststhat this association exists because teachers serve as more than just educators; they are role models. The benefits of teacher satisfaction for both teachers and pupils points to the importance of studying how teachers feel about work. This study undertakes an examination of how teachers feel while doing their daily tasks. The Experience Sampling Method is used to determine which daily work relatedactivities lead to the highest levels of motivation and job satisfaction. The Experience Sampling Method (ESM) makes use of an electronic device to page the subject several times a day. When beeped, the subject completes a short survey about what they are doing, who they are with, and how they are feeling. ESM thus provides a more richly detailed picture of the day-to-day lives and emotions ofparticipants than conventional surveys. ESM has been used to study how people feel doing different activities and to determine which daily activities are most psychologically rewarding (Kubey & Csikszentmihalyi, 1981). Csikszentmihalyi (1990) has proposed that individuals reach a state of happiness and satisfaction when they are involved in an activity and are functioning at the peak of theirabilities. In this situation the individual experiences “high levels of concentration, immersion, strength, and control.” He terms this experience “flow.” In the present study, the concept of flow will be used to help determine which activities are the most “psychologically

Levels of job satisfaction and motivation were measured by survey in a sample of 50 teachers. A sample of 12 teachers was thenstudied using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM). Teachers were randomly beeped by special pagers 5 times a day for 5 days and completed surveys on mood and activity for each beep, resulting in 190 reports of teachers’ daily experiences. Conventional survey data corresponded with ESM data. Job satisfaction and motivation correlated significantly with responsibility levels, gender, subject, age,...
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