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Teacher resilience: A review of current literature

Beltman, S., Mansfield, C.F., Price, A.ORCID: 0000-0002-5925-1133, McConney, A., Wosnitza, M. and Pelliccione, L. (2010) Teacher resilience: A review of current literature. In: 27th International Congress of Applied Psychology, 11 - 16 July 2010, Melbourne, VIC


This paper presents a systematic review of literature related to teacher resilience. The review underpins a larger research project that aims to enhance the resilience of early career teachers by embedding evidence-based practice within the pre-service teacher education programs of two Australian universities. One aim of the paper is to identify constructs and consequent research methods to inform the development of a questionnaire for use with pre-service and early career teachers, and guide the nature of strategies implemented in the universities involved. There is concern internationally with the high attrition rates of early career teachers. Numerous studies have examined factors such as workloads and behavior management difficulties that contribute to teacher stress and burnout. More recently researchers have looked towards teacher resilience as a more positive way of addressing this problem. Definitions of resilience include the ability to “bounce back” after experiencing difficult events. It is the capacity to deal constructively with challenges and the ability to maintain social and emotional wellbeing in the face of difficult events. A shift in thinking from attrition to resilience offers the potential for more effective interventions to occur. A search of databases such as ERIC and ProQuest revealed over 250 journal articles and conference papers linked to key words such as ‘resilience’, ‘teachers’ and ‘burn out’ published between 2000 and 2009. Papers selected for systematic review are those most relevant to teacher resilience and are summarized according to key criteria such as conceptualizations of resilience, research methods used, key empirical findings, and issues raised. For example, one important issue arising from the literature is the relationship between teacher retention and teacher resilience. The assumption is that if new teachers develop greater resilience, they will be less likely to leave the profession. At the same time, however, there is evidence that some teacher education students consciously plan to teach only for a short time before moving on to achieve other life goals. The paper will provide an overview of strengths and limitations of current research suggest directions for future research and derive implications and recommendations for pre-service teacher education programs.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
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