Publisher: Edukacja Elementarna w Teorii i Praktyce
Journal: Elementary Education in Theory and Practice
Subjects: Education, the image of the teacher; the role of the teacher; expectations towards the teacher; the teaching profession, pedagogika, wizerunek nauczyciela; rola nauczyciela; oczekiwania względem nauczyciela; zawód nauczyciela
This article consists of an analysis of the etiology of the social image of teachers in Poland, and it outlines this image using Polish research findings as a basis. The text thus constitutes an attempt to explain how teachers are perceived in Polish society, and what the origins of their image might be. The creation of the image of teachers is influenced by many factors, so reflection on this process must take into account not only any changes in social life, as well as the social and cultural background to this, but also any newly emerging expectations directed towards them. Furthermore, the process of analysing this must also include a number of different aspects involving a somewhat longer time-span.This article in effect establishes a theoretical basis for the carrying out of similar empirical studies in the future, in that the texts analysed together lead one to conclude that the currently available research pertaining to this subject is incomplete and is often based on no more than surveys. The way teachers are perceived by society (their image) is related to the expectations people have of this occupation’s representatives – something which, in turn, is connected with understanding the role and function of teachers. The following considerations will determine the structure of this article: (1) the role and tasks of teachers earlier and in the present; (2) social expectations towards teachers; (3) factors influencing the social image of the teacher.The analysis of books, combined with the available research findings, make it possible to identify a discrepancy between social expectations concerning the work of teachers and the capacities of the latter for meeting those expectations. This results from many different factors. It is influenced by social, organizational and subjective considerations relating to the selection of candidates as prospective teachers, the quality of the educational process and the (im)possibility of meeting requirements for this role that are inappropriate relative to the actual (subjective, organizational) opportunities for fulfilling them. It seems that the solution to the above-mentioned discrepancy will include, first of all, making such expectations more feasible – i.e. lowering the level of the social expectations directed towards teachers – and, secondly, redefining the role of the teacher.
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