Teachers’ Approaches Toward Cultural Diversity Predict Diversity-Related Burnout and Self-Efficacy

From Section:
Teacher Education
Feb. 05, 2017

Source: Journal of Teacher Education 2017


We examine the ways in which, and the extent to which, DOPA (Diversity in Organizations: Perceptions and Approaches; that is, asset, problem, challenge, or nonissue) approaches predict teachers’ diversity-related burnout and immigration-related self-efficacy. One hundred thirty-six schoolteachers completed a self-report questionnaire measuring diversity-related burnout and self-efficacy, approaches toward cultural diversity, attitudes toward multiculturalism, and demographics. It was found that the teachers’ perception of the immigrant student as an asset and not as a problem was related to lower diversity-related burnout and to higher immigration-related self-efficacy. Future research should focus on possible interventions with teachers on the ways in which approaches to cultural diversity are developed, negotiated, and adopted.

The present study was conducted in Israel—a highly plural social, cultural, and educational context. Most prominent among the different sources of diversity in Israel are national diversity (Jewish vs. non-Jewish, the latter comprising of mostly Muslim and Christian Arabs), religiosity (secular vs. Orthodox), and immigration-related diversity (immigrants vs. natives) (Horenczyk & Bergman, 2016). Most immigrant students in Israel can be classified as voluntary minorities (i.e., those who willingly moved to Israel in the hope of a better future). Voluntary minorities tend to experience some problems in school, especially in the initial phase, due to cultural differences (Ogbu & Simons, 1998)…

In addition, the presence of immigrant students in class is likely to have a significant effect on the teacher. Teachers are confronted with a learner who is “different”—linguistically, socially, and culturally (de Abreu & Hale, 2014). This poses challenges to mainstream teaching practices (Gorgorio & Planas, 2001). These challenges sometimes create difficulties for teachers working in culturally diverse classrooms which is attributed to lack of knowledge, skill, and motivation to cope with cultural diversity (Tatar & Horenczyk, 2003). In the present study, we focus on two outcomes that might result from cultural diversity in the classroom: teachers’ burnout and teachers’ self-efficacy. In the current study, we predicted that the different approaches toward diversity held by teachers regarding their immigrant students are linked to two important teachers’ psychological outcomes: teacher burnout and teacher self-efficacy.

In the present study, we sought to examine whether the different approaches toward diversity contribute to the prediction of diversity related burnout and immigration-related self-efficacy above and beyond teacher- and school-level predictors. In addition, we examined whether the different approaches toward diversity contribute to the prediction of diversity-related burnout and immigration-related self-efficacy, above and beyond attitudes toward multiculturalism.

In the present study, we found that approaches toward diversity in the educational setting contributed to the prediction of teachers’ diversity-related burnout and immigration related self-efficacy. This prediction was above and beyond the prediction by teacher’s background, and teachers’ attitudes. toward multiculturalism. In accordance with previous findings, this prediction was also above and beyond school-level factors (Pas et al., 2012).

Finally, future research can focus on possible interventions with teachers and prospective teachers on the ways in which approaches to diversity in general, and to cultural diversity regarding immigrants in particular, are developed, negotiated, and adopted. Interventions—such as workshops—may serve as spaces for discussion on the effects of the various approaches on teachers’ work in cultural diverse contexts, as well as on the various aspects of their well-being. In addition, the use of some variation of the DOPA questionnaire could serve to inform schools and districts on their teachers’ perceptions of diverse populations. The DOPA model may also aid in identifying teacher populations at risk, by using the teachers’ approach as a proxy for identifying burned out teachers as well as those with low self-efficacy, and subsequently they can be encouraged to work through these feelings.

Updated: Nov. 27, 2017
Diversity | Immigration | Multicultural education | Research | Teacher burnout