Teachers' perceptions of their working environment in departmental and interdisciplinary teaming organization in middle level schools.
AuthorAyalon, Aram Itzhak.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe purpose of this study was to compare middle level teachers' perception of their working environment under two different organizational structures: departmental (DEP) and Interdisciplinary Teaming Organization (ITO). In addition within the ITO schools, this study compared the working environment perception of teachers between different schools and between team members and non-team members. ITO is characterized by organizing teams of teachers around a core of subjects and providing them with a block of time, a common planning period, and shared students. Studies suggested that ITO provided circumstances for increased cooperation among teachers and enhanced decision making participation comparing to DEP schools. As a consequence teachers reported more job satisfaction and higher level of efficacy. However, very few studies were found to study these differences at the school level. The sample of this investigation consisted of 78 middle level teachers--Forty-seven teachers from two middle schools with ITO and thirty-one teachers from two DEP junior high schools. Subjects were administered a slightly modified questionnaire, previously used with elementary teachers, consisting of 16 different scales depicting the various aspects of the teachers' working environment. In addition, in order to enhance the analysis of the results other data was collected through open-ended interviews, as well as 2-way Analysis of Variance of teacher background components was conducted. The findings revealed: (1) ITO teachers felt more positive than DEP teachers with regard to the factors: faculty cohesiveness; socialization and recruitment of new teachers; goal-setting; teacher evaluation; instructional coordination; homogeneity and shared values; and instructional rewards. No significant differences were obtained with regard to job satisfaction, efficacy and decision making participation. (2) No significant differences in attitudes were obtained between ITO members and non-members within each ITO school. (3) Teachers in ITO 2 school felt more positive than ITO 1 teachers on only three scales: decision making participation, managing student behavior, and instructional rewards. Results suggest that ITO has a positive impact on the teachers' working environment, however, decision making participation, job satisfaction and efficacy level may be affected more by other factors. Future research should focus on improving the effectiveness of ITO.
Degree ProgramTeaching and Teacher Education