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International Review of Education

, Volume 59, Issue 2, pp 217–242 | Cite as

Motivating teachers in the developing world: Insights from research with English language teachers in Oman

  • Mark Wyatt
Article

Abstract

According to some commentators, targets set by the international community for bringing education to all children in developing countries are threatened by a teacher motivation crisis. For this crisis to be addressed, challenges to the motivation of teachers in such contexts need to be understood from perspectives both theoretical and comparative. Thus an analysis is required of the changes that have taken place particularly in countries whose education systems have developed rapidly in recent decades. Case studies of motivated teacher behaviour in such national contexts might be of relevance to educational reformers. Drawing upon the tenets of self-determination theory (SDT), this article begins by discussing the nature of the reported teacher motivation crisis in the developing world more generally. It then focuses on the Sultanate of Oman, highlighting recent historical developments there. Having thus set the scene, the author considers the extent to which negative environmental influences on teacher motivation in Oman have been addressed and then looks for evidence of intrinsic motivation in case studies of Omani English teachers. Returning to the developing world more generally, conclusions focus on how teachers’ psychological needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness can be met through educational policies that reduce negative influences on teacher motivation and provide both inspiring professional development opportunities and work environments characterised by respect.

Keywords

Teacher motivation Developing world Oman English language teaching Self-determination theory 

Résumé

Motiver les enseignants des pays en développement : résultats de recherche sur les professeurs d’anglais dans le Sultanat d’Oman – Selon certains commentaires, les objectifs fixés par la communauté internationale visant à scolariser tous les enfants des pays en développement seraient menacés par une crise de motivation chez les enseignants. Pour traiter cette crise, il est nécessaire d’appréhender dans une perspective à la fois théorique et comparative les défis qui nuisent à la motivation des enseignants. Une analyse s’impose donc quant aux changements intervenus, notamment dans les pays dont les systèmes éducatifs ont évolué rapidement au cours des dernières décennies. Des études de cas sur le comportement d’enseignants motivés dans ces pays pourraient être utiles aux réformateurs de l’éducation. S’appuyant sur la théorie de l’autodétermination (SDT), l’auteur de l’article examine tout d’abord la nature de cette crise dans la perspective plus générale du monde en développement. Il se penche ensuite sur le Sultanat d’Oman, en y relevant les évolutions récentes. Ayant ainsi délimité le contexte, l’auteur explore dans quelle mesure ont été envisagées les influences négatives des conditions de travail sur la motivation des enseignants omanais, puis cherche les signes d’une motivation intrinsèque dans des études de cas sur les professeurs d’anglais omanais. Tirées au niveau plus général du monde en développement, les conclusions portent sur le moyen de répondre aux besoins psychologiques de compétence, d’autonomie et d’implication des enseignants, à travers des politiques éducatives qui réduisent les influences négatives sur la motivation des enseignants et prévoient des possibilités stimulantes de développement professionnel ainsi que des environnements de travail caractérisés par le respect.

Zusammenfassung

Lehrermotivation in Entwicklungsländern: Erkenntnisse aus Forschungen zu Englischlehrern im Oman – Es gibt Stimmen, die davor warnen, dass die internationale Gemeinschaft ihr Ziel der Bildung für alle Kinder in den Entwicklungsländern aufgrund einer Motivationskrise bei den Lehrern verfehlen könnte. Um dieser Krise begegnen zu können, müssen wir die Gründe für mangelnde Lehrermotivation in solchen Umfeldern sowohl aus der theoretischen wie aus der vergleichenden Perspektive verstehen. Es gilt also, die Veränderungen zu analysieren, die insbesondere in Ländern stattfanden, deren Bildungssysteme sich in den letzten Jahrzehnten besonders schnell entwickelt haben. Fallstudien zur Lehrermotivation in solchen nationalen Zusammenhängen sind für Bildungsreformer von besonderer Relevanz. Der Autor gibt zunächst anhand der Prinzipien der Selbstbestimmungstheorie einen allgemeinen Überblick über die Natur der erwähnten Krise der Lehrermotivation in Entwicklungsländern. Anschließend wendet er sich dem Sultanat Oman und den dortigen jüngsten historischen Entwicklungen zu. Vor diesem Hintergrund skizziert er, in welchem Maße negative Einflüsse auf die Lehrermotivation im Oman angegangen wurden und sucht dann in Studien über Englischlehrer im Oman nach Beispielen für intrinsische Motivationsquellen. Abschließend erweitert der Autor den Fokus wieder, um zu skizzieren, wie die psychologischen Kompetenz-, Autonomie- und Bezogenheitsbedürfnisse von Lehrern in Entwicklungsländern durch eine Bildungspolitik erfüllt werden können, die negative Einflüsse auf die Lehrermotivation reduziert und sowohl attraktive berufliche Entwicklungsmöglichkeiten als auch eine durch Respekt gekennzeichnete Arbeitsatmosphäre bietet.

Resumen

Motivación de docentes en el mundo en desarrollo: Conocimientos obtenidos a partir de una investigación con docentes del idioma inglés en Omán – Según algunos comentaristas, las metas fijadas por la comunidad internacional para llevar la educación a todos los niños de los países en desarrollo están amenazadas por una crisis de motivación de los docentes. Para poder enfrentarla, deben entenderse los desafíos para la motivación de docentes en esos contextos, tanto desde una perspectiva teórica como desde una comparativa. Así, se requiere un análisis de los cambios que se han producido, ante todo en países cuyos sistemas educativos evolucionaron rápidamente en las últimas décadas. Los estudios de caso sobre el comportamiento de docentes motivados en tales contextos nacionales podrían ser de relevancia para reformadores educativos. Apoyándose en los principios de la teoría de la autodeterminación (SDT), este artículo comienza con una descripción más general de la naturaleza de la crisis motivacional de los docentes en el mundo en desarrollo. Más adelante, se enfoca en el Sultanato de Omán, realzando los recientes desarrollos históricos que tuvieron lugar en ese país. Una vez definido el escenario, el autor considera en qué medida se han tenido en cuenta las influencias negativas del entorno sobre la motivación docente en Omán, y luego busca evidencias de motivación intrínseca en estudios de caso de docentes omaníes del idioma inglés. Volviendo a contemplar el mundo en desarrollo de una forma más general, las conclusiones se centran en el modo de satisfacer las necesidades psicológicas de los docentes –de competencia, autonomía y pertenencia– mediante políticas educativas que reduzcan las influencias negativas sobre la motivación docente y provean, a la vez, oportunidades de desarrollo profesional inspiradoras y entornos de trabajo marcados por el respeto. Open image in new window Open image in new window

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Languages and Area StudiesUniversity of PortsmouthPortsmouth, HampshireUK

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