Women teachers and professionalism : a Singapore case study

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Massey University
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This paper explores women teachers' professionalism in Singapore schools. Based on the premise that a woman's professionalism will depend largely on the degree to which she identifies with the family-based role of woman in the home, her level of education and her working experience, five hypotheses in relation to the professional orientation of women teachers in Singapore are put forward. The study hypothesizes that: (1) Women teachers who are married and who have family commitment will be less professionally minded than the single women teachers, (2) the disparity in the professional orientation of women teachers, which is due to marriage will be minimized by high educational attainments and long working experience of the teachers concerned, (3) the higher the educational attainments of the teachers, the higher the professionalism, (4) the longer the service of the teachers, the higher their professionalism, and (5) the higher the teachers' professional orientation, the higher their professional behavior. Postal questionnaires consisting of three parts, viz., bio-data of the respondents, a measure of professional orientation and a measure of professional behavior, are used. The analyses draw on data obtained from two hundred and sixty-six women teachers randomly selected from different junior colleges, primary and secondary schools in Singapore. The findings reveal that marriage, as generally expected, has a significantly adverse effect on women teachers' professionalism. Both education and experience factors are ineffective in moderating the impact marriage has on the professional orientation of women teachers. These two variables are also found unrelated to women teachers' professionalism in Singapore. Finally, the correlationship between women teachers' professionalism and their behavior is shown to be positive but low. The study also suggests that women teachers' professionalism can be raised by maintaining a balance between professional and marital commitment on the part of women teachers, focusing on the problems encountered by teachers in schools, strengthening the link between the University and the schools, establishing a unified professional association and most importantly, cultivating in the teachers a systematic understanding of the ideas of professionalism.
Singapore, Women teachers, Teachers -- Attitudes, Professional ethics for teachers