Professional Profiles of Adult Workers: The Case of Primary School Teachers
The purpose of this study was to understand and describe the process by which teachers develop and maintain their professional commitment. A model development exercise was undertaken. Twelve primary school teachers well-known for their high level of professional commitment accepted to share their experience. The study was based on Viktor Frankl's existential perspective that the search for meaning constitutes a fundamental adult need and that commitment to work can provide a response to this search. Therefore, professional commitment, here, is considered as a way of giving meaning to one's life. A qualitative method was chosen for this study because it focuses on processes and meanings that participants attribute to their experience. Data were collected in two audio taped interviews with each of the twelve participants. All interviews were transcribed and added to the searcher's journal as data sources. Grounded theory techniques were used to analyse the data. The process, as it was developed by Strauss and Corbin (1990) involved inductive means of constantly comparing and coding the data that emerged and refining it to correspond with categories and themes. Among the themes, three professional profiles of committed teachers emerged from the data: • student and class oriented teachers; • team work and school oriented teachers; • personal and professional development oriented teachers. Research on adults' commitment to their work life as well as studies about teachers' commitment are not very extensive; especially in the area of professional profiles of committed adults. This study offers new knowledge about the professional commitment phenomenon and the role it plays in an adult's search for life meaning. Moreover, the professional profiles of committed teachers that emerged from this study will increase the understanding of adult learning, particularly in the area of life situation learning theory and Knox's proficiency theory.
Keywords: Professional Profiles, Professional Commitment, Meaning of Work, Primary School Teachers, Adult's Life Situation Learning Theory
Professeur Claire Duchesne
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa