Professional Socialization in Teaching - Training Colleges in the Arab Education System in Israel

Jamal Abu-Hussain

American Journal of Educational Research

Professional Socialization in Teaching - Training Colleges in the Arab Education System in Israel

Jamal Abu-Hussain

Al-Qasemi Academic, Israel

Abstract

This pioneering study constitutes initial research on the topic of professional socialization in the teacher education process in teacher training colleges within the Arab education system in Israel. In recent years, criticism related to education has focused, among other things, on the process of teachers’ education and training. This process, it seems, neither realizes its objectives nor meets the needs and expectations of 21st-century education systems. The State of Israel has adopted a policy of conservation and control. Accordingly, the Arab education system and teacher training institutions are used as a tool to promote conservation and control, rather than as a lever for social, economic and political change. Whether we perceive Education as a conservative force or a way to create social change. Either way, the teacher training process plays a crucial role in initiating necessary changes, particularly because teaching in the Arab education system is still based on three principles: learning means listening; to teach is to speak; knowledge is an object. The variables derived from the theoretical and research literature about teachers’ professional socialization are: professional commitment, value orientation, and professional attitudes. According to the recently studies the general hypothesis is, changes should occur among these variables as a result of the professional socialization process. The current study is cross-sectional in nature. The research population included 153 subjects: 35 teachers and 118 teacher trainees in different stages of their training. The data were collected by use of questionnaires, and processed through SPSS. Statistically, the results show that no changes in variables occurred as a result of the training process and some of the variables were even decreased. As a result of this study, several questions surfaced for review and research. Dealing with these questions is expected to promote the professional socialization process within the context of teacher training colleges, in general, and teacher training colleges in the Arab education system, in particular. In addition, the study findings will contribute to a better understanding of teachers’ professionalization process and teacher training in general.

Cite this article:

  • Jamal Abu-Hussain. Professional Socialization in Teaching - Training Colleges in the Arab Education System in Israel. American Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 3, No. 11, 2015, pp 1469-1475. http://pubs.sciepub.com/education/3/11/18
  • Abu-Hussain, Jamal. "Professional Socialization in Teaching - Training Colleges in the Arab Education System in Israel." American Journal of Educational Research 3.11 (2015): 1469-1475.
  • Abu-Hussain, J. (2015). Professional Socialization in Teaching - Training Colleges in the Arab Education System in Israel. American Journal of Educational Research, 3(11), 1469-1475.
  • Abu-Hussain, Jamal. "Professional Socialization in Teaching - Training Colleges in the Arab Education System in Israel." American Journal of Educational Research 3, no. 11 (2015): 1469-1475.

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1. Theoretical Background

The theoretical discussion in this research will relate to professional socialization within the teacher training framework, the process during which the individual acquires knowledge and skills and internalizes the norms, values and attitudes of the profession. This leads to the ability to adopt the status of the profession and the functional conduct related to this status [1].

The research literature on the subject of teacher education is currently engaged in a critique of the traditional technological approach [2]. Satisfaction with the teacher education process, the status of teachers in society, and the status of the teaching hierarchy of professionalism have been perceived as problematic in recent years by society as a whole, and the Israeli educational system, in particular. This situation has led to many years of intense discussion and research on teacher education, in an attempt to design alternative teacher training programs, accompanied by many curricular reforms.

The research literature offers many definitions for the term "profession". Despite the differences, several key features appear in most of these definitions, including the idea that profession is : knowledge-based; based on a long training period; related to a developed code of ethics; responsible for the dissemination of professional standards; enables individual autonomy of professional action and the operation of a professional group; geared towards client/service, and a sense of accountability and commitment; receives official recognition from "others" [3, 4, 5]. On principle, there is no practical teaching method that meets all the criteria of professionalism, according to the research literature, and it would appear that this is an impossible task for the most part [6], mainly because of the gap between the actual situation and any ideal model of a profession.

An examination of teaching from a structural point of view according to the opportunities for such achievements during the career, it appears that there are missing features that assures strong commitment to the profession. Different studies in Israel and the World found relatively low levels of commitment, whether among the students or teachers at the beginning of their professional career [1, 2].

In different studies, two value orientations surfaced, extrinsic and intrinsic [2, 5]. They found that the students are characterized through intrinsic rather than extrinsic orientation according to their apparent motives for selecting teaching.

Today, many teacher education programs exist, ranging from programs about entry conditions, through the curriculum, the nature of practical experience, the training period and place of training, and to the type of license and degree graduates receive. Hargreaves and Shulman present completely polarized opinions about these multi-track programs and curricula [3, 4].

Hargreaves analyzes four periods in the development of teaching professionalization. The last period is the post-professional or post-modern period, which features the same tension and contradiction between standardization procedures which increasingly affect teachers’ autonomy, on the one hand, and the demand for creativity, openness and increasing connections with the community and learners, on the other [4]. Teachers need to adapt to changes in skills, the use of new technologies, as well as reforms in teaching patterns, and learn to adapt them for more personalized instruction [7].

Hargreaves perceives teacher education during this period as preparing teachers to work in communities to promote educational purposes [4]. Schulman sharply criticized the multiple tracks available in teacher education programs, stating that "Teacher education does not exist". In his opinion, without institutionalized professional training in academic institutions, under strict conditions of the types of knowledge required of teachers and meeting strict uniform standards of knowledge and teaching skills - teacher education will not be relevant [3].

The perception of the teacher as professional knowledge and as an expert has appeared as a central motif in the recent research literature on teacher education [5]. Criticism of teacher education suggests that no infrastructure has been used in the development of knowledge and skills needed to bring teachers to the necessary levels of expertise. This is mainly due to the fact that very little emphasis has been placed on theoretical foundation and practice or if such knowledge is discussed, it is isolated and does not contribute to a better understanding of the practice. Various studies emphasize the weakness of the professional socialization of teaching, and point out the various deficiencies in this process [8, 9].

For the purpose of understanding the professional socialization process of teaching in the Arab training institutes, there is a need to discuss the Arab education system, in general, and the teacher education system, in particular. This is in order to be able to analyze the professional socialization process in the socio-cultural context.

Many social and political changes are occurring in Arab society in Israel. Two parallel, and perhaps even contradictory, processes have resulted in various conflicts at different levels of Arab society. On one level, Arab society is marked by relations determined by a traditional clan mechanism. On another, parallel, level, Arab society is undergoing significant changes caused by accelerated modernization processes [10]. The shift to new financial and occupational areas has gradually undermined traditional institutions and the Arab education system has not been immune to these processes [11, 12].

The Arab education system in Israel is an integral part of the general education system. For the most part, it is run by Jewish administrators and defined as an education system for Arabs, rather than an Arab education system. Local decisions made by low-level Arab functionaries are usually technical in nature, while the more fundamental decisions are not determined by Arab officials, despite the national and cultural distinctiveness of Arab citizens in Israel. This situation has prevented Arabs in Israel from controlling their own educational objectives or shaping and directing the Arab education system according to the collective interests of the Arab public. In addition, it has hindered all meaningful intervention by Arab inspectors, principals and educators in making fundamental decisions for the system [12].

Arab teachers have conflicting expectations. On the one hand, they are subject to strict regulation, and are expected to stay away from political involvement so as not to be fired. On the other hand, the community expects them to be educational leaders. These pressures have made the Arab teacher's status as an educational leader nearly impossible [13, 14].

Arab manpower is at the tail end of the labor force in Israel. The reason for this is the fact that many jobs are closed to Arabs, due to so-called “security reasons” or conditions that relate to the military services. Therefore, most Arabs who want to study in higher education institutions choose the teaching profession, from a lack of choice [14].

The educational objectives of the Arab education system are not clear, and the preferred identity of this system’s graduates has not been defined. Any possible attempts to define these objectives simply serve to reinforce their ambiguity. Hence, the system operates without any real long-term vision [13].

This situation imposes a generally ambiguous climate on the system of teacher education, which also proceeds without defined objectives. It follows that the objectives of the Arab education system’s authorities are also not clear to the majority of individuals employed in Arab schools and institutions of higher education.

Arab teachers are not properly trained to meet the needs of Arab students. Approximately 46% of Arab students study at three Arab colleges; in different tracks for Arabs in Jewish colleges; while the rest (54%) study at Jewish colleges and universities.

For years, Arab teachers of education in colleges throughout Israel have promoted and maintained an educational approach that serves to detach teacher trainees from their individual, social and political experience. The national and cultural uniqueness of Arab teacher trainees is muted, muffled and excluded from the pedagogical and political discourse about Arabs’ teacher training [12]. This disconnection takes place, among other things, by emphasizing technical and disciplinary studies, at the expense of education and pedagogy studies focused on critical thinking [15, 16].

Despite the complex reality described above, and despite the skepticism of researchers towards the importance of the professional socialization of teaching [2, 3, 4], the theoretical and research literature continues to emphasize the importance of professional socialization to the teaching profession, and is divided in regard to the efficiency of the process and the changes occurring within it [17].

This study focuses on one important aspect of the process of internalizing a professional subculture within teacher training colleges and education programs. The variables in this subculture related to the socialization process, and which the current study discusses are: professional commitment, value orientation (motives for choosing the teaching profession) and professional attitudes.

In relation to the general research and theoretical background, the general research question of this study is: “To what extent does professional socialization exist among teachers, teacher trainees and graduates (novice teachers) in the different teacher training colleges in the Arab education system in Israel?” This question is particularly relevant in an education system that functions within a community that is undergoing diverse modernization processes. In addition, the Arab education system suffers from the difficulties of being a minority controlled by the Jewish majority, which relates to it as a foreign entity [12, 13, 14, 18].

2. Methods

2.1. The Research Hypotheses

Professional socialization within the teacher education process in teacher training colleges in the Arab education system in Israel occurs by internalizing a professional sub-culture if:

1. readiness for a long-range career in teaching increases.

2. candidates’ motives are strengthened in relation to chosing teaching as a professional career.

2.2. Variables
2.2.1. Dependent Variables

A. Professional commitment to a long-term career in teaching

The commitment to teaching variable in this study is operatively defined as the readiness to commit to a long-term career in teaching.

B. Professional values in teaching

This study’s value orientation focuses on professional selectivity because we work with students of education, who are at the beginning of their teacher training process. Thus, for the purposes of this study, we operatively define professional values as values that express one’s motives for choosing a certain profession. We focus on the following two groups of motives: Motives with an internal orientation, and motives with an external orientation.


2.2.2. Independent Variables

The independent variable is the training stage; all study participants were in the process of training to be teachers. As for the graduates, they represent a separate group. This independent variable may be examined in a periodical research study or by studying students training to be teachers at various cross-sectional stages. Based on studies that found no significant differences between methods [19], I chose to conduct research on students (teacher trainees) at various cross-sectional stages. Operatively, I chose four stages: three stages are parallel to the three study years in colleges of education; the fourth stage relates to the graduates (novice teachers in their first year of actual teaching).

2.3. Study Population

The study population was comprised of students studying at teacher training colleges in the Arab education system in Israel, as well as all graduates who had one year of teaching experience: a total of four groups. In the 2013-2014 academic year, there were 650 first-year students, 620 second-year students, 600 third-year students, and 580 graduates from colleges of education in the Arab education system in Israel. Of the 580 graduates, 220 were defined in this research as novice teachers.

The sample is random and was stratified into four subgroups.

The sub-groups in the sample will be according to the 2013-2014 school year.

Year I- 40 participants; Year II – 40 participants; Year III – 40 participants; novice teachers - 40 participants; Total- 160 participants.

Thus, a total of 153 subjects participated in the study; 35 novice teachers and 118 students (teacher trainees). Five novice teachers did not return the questionnaires; two student questionnaires were excluded as they lacked relevant information (not all items had been completed).

2.4. Research Tools

In order to construct research tools for this study, I used research tools and techniques previously used in the field:

Part – A: relates to background data on the study population

Part – B: relates to the research’s first hypothesis.

To examine this hypothesis, each participant will be given five concepts relating to readiness to commit to teaching; s/he will be requested to choose one of the five concepts [20].

Part – C: relates to the second hypothesis, which deals with the value orientation directing the study participant’s choice of profession [20]. Our aim was to examine the intrinsic orientation and extrinsic orientation motivating the selection of teaching as a profession. The questionnaire’s motives analysis results were as follows: intrinsic orientation – Cronbach’s alpha=0.78; extrinsic orientation, Cronbach’s alpha=0.62.

For the graduates (novice teachers), we distributed a questionnaire aimed at obtaining feedback on the teacher training process. The researcher prepared the questionnaire. The sources that determined the questionnaire contents were training teachers, pedagogic instructors, and college graduates. After different tests, the final form of the questionnaire included the following items: The first section included basic data about the graduates; in the second section, the graduates were asked to grade their responses on a scale from 1 - 4 (1=”Never” and 4=”Most frequently”). Sample items included: “To what extent did the training period in college help you in developing, improving and providing you with characteristics that feature professionalism?”; “To what extent do agree that each one of these characteristics feature teaching?” The questionnaire included the following topics: decision making, taking responsibility, professional development, cooperation, teaching as a mission, and persistence. The validity of the questionnaire was (Alpha=0.76).

2.5. Research Process

The study sampling was random. The novice teachers and students were asked to fill out the questionnaires independently and accurately, and to express their personal opinion in writing. They were informed that the questionnaires were anonymous, and that the received information would be used solely for research purposes. The data were collected a month prior to the end of the 2013-14 academic years. The researcher distributed the questionnaires to the students and novice teachers. Data were collected in May 2014. Data was processed by the SPSS program.

3. Results

Readiness for a long-range career in teaching goes up/down as his study subjects advance along the stage of their teacher training process.

Table 1. Frequency distribution in numbers and percent’s of the reasons for continuing to work in the profession (professional commitment)

From the distribution of the subjects, a low level of commitment is obvious. Only 13.1% of the study subjects considered teaching as a profession for life, and about one-fourth perceived it as a job they would hold for a long period of time. A slight decline may even be observed in the number of subjects who perceived teaching as a life profession, especially among second-year students of education. A remarkable number of novice teachers (42%) stated that they would continue teaching until they found another alternative. Only 15.4% of the novice teachers perceived teaching as a life profession. Among the students, most first-year (51.4%) and second-year (39.5%) teacher trainees were undecided. In addition, 30% of these two groups stated that they planned to teach until they found another alternative. Among third-year students, about one-fourth selected “for a limited time”; another one-fourth selected “until they find another alternative”; about 20% indicated “for a long time period”; and 23% were “undecided”.

In an attempt to obtain the best results out of these data, the commitment variable was broken down into three categories according to the following details: “Lifelong profession” constitutes a strong commitment; “For a long time-period” constitutes an average commitment; and the other categories constitute a low commitment. Accordingly, the distribution of the responses in numbers and percents was examined for every group in the research. Table 2 describes the distribution of the responses by year of study or teacher.

Table 2. Level of commitment to teaching by research group

Table 2 shows that as a result of the reduction of the response’s categories of the commitment variable to three levels, no significant difference appears between the different groups (χ² = 5.4, P n. s.). The percent of those with low commitment to teaching is high for all groups and almost did not change through the training period.

According to Table 1 and Table 2, no significant correlation was found to exist between readiness to continue teaching and stage of training.

In the training setting, the students’ value orientation underwent a change – showing an increase in intrinsic orientation - expressed by the selection of teaching as a profession. In an attempt to find any type of developmental effect regarding relation to teaching as a profession, all of the statistical data in which we made comparisons between novice teachers and teacher trainees were of the trend analysis type.

In this type of statistical analysis, the general differences between groups are tested. In addition, the effect type is also examined: “Is there a linear, quadratic or cubic effect?” Because four groups participated in the study, each group was a year ahead of the previous group; thus, the desired comparison is in the change of attitude over time. The question is: “What type of attitude change occurs?” or “What is the extent of the change?” The change trend from one stage of training to another (1st, 2nd, 3rd-year students and graduates) could be represented by a steadily increasing or decreasing slope. There is also a possibility of a non-monotonous change; for example, a rise, a decline and another rise. The trend analysis examines the nature of the attitude change; namely, whether it is really true that as students advance in their teacher training, their attitudes change in a proportionate manner. Alternatively, there may be some points at which the change in attitude undergoes a sharp increase or decline. Linear effect is relevant to a monotonous change. Quadratic effect is relevant to a change at one point along the years represented by a sharp change. A cubic effect includes two points in time with a change in the trend. Table 3 presents the means of the six motives for each one of the four groups and the variability existing among them.

Table 3. Means, standard deviations and ANOVA results (F values) of reasons for choosing teaching as a profession, between (teacher trainees) and novice teachers

The scale (0-4) 0 = "no influence"; 4 = "a very strong influence"

There is a significant difference among the variables “Love to work with children”, “Financial gain”, “Profession with many opportunities” and “Profession as a goal”. In the trend analysis, a significant quadratic effect relevant to the first variable was observed [F(1, 149)=15.8, P<.001]. The same trend was found for the second variable , but it was not cubic [F(1, 149)=9.2, P<.01]. For the third variable, the analysis showed a significant cubic effect [F(1,49)=4.4, P<.05]. In relation to the fourth variable, a significant linear effect appeared [F(1,49)=10.1, P<.01]. The data indicated a decline in the first and fourth variables which, according to Horowitz and Zack (1978), express an intrinsic orientation. The data also present a rise relevant to the second and third variables, which express extrinsic orientation in the advanced stages of training. The situation is reversed among novice teachers. Variability among the study subjects’ responses regarding these variables exists. The following table presents the findings:

Table 4. Variability in the study subjects’ responses regarding the readiness to continue working in the teaching profession among the four groups Year in College

In order to examine the variability factor in the study subjects’ responses regarding motives for choosing teaching in the four groups, we conducted multiple comparisons between each pair of groups (see Table 5 below).

Table 5. Multiple Comparisons between each pair of groups regarding motives for choosing teaching in the four groups (procedure using Turkey’s Method HSD)

Table 2-Table 5 indicate that:

1. Regarding the “readiness to continue working in the teaching profession” variable, the variability is very high and no change takes place over the course of the training.

2. Regarding the “value orientation”, the variability in intrinsic motivation is higher than extrinsic motivation. In fact, an increase was observed in extrinsic motivation and the variability remained high throughout the training period.

4. Discussion

Study findings show that the professional socialization process that occurs among teacher trainees in colleges of education in the Arab education system in Israel is inadequate, and does not meet general expectations.

It was found that the willingness and professional commitment of teacher trainees to perceive teaching as a long-term career did not increase. In addition, a decline in "long-term commitment" to teaching (“teaching profession for life”) was observed. Moreover, first-year trainees’ commitment levels were low (64.9%); this commitment remained low throughout the training period and even experienced a steep decline during the training period.

This finding can be explained by the fact that the majority of applicants to the teaching profession in Arab society in Israel do not choose this profession from among many alternatives, but out of necessity [14]. The educational training does not help trainees develop professional concepts and, in many cases, the training adversely affects trainees.

An analysis of the findings of the graduates’ questionnaires shows that the student training process at colleges of education in the Arab education system does not actually contribute to strengthening the characteristics of professional socialization. Numerous studies conducted among different societies emphasize the weakness of the professional socialization of teaching, and point out the various deficiencies of this process [8, 9].

Among novice teachers, the situation is even worse because the Arab education system functions in a highly conservative society, a condition which causes further decrease in novice teachers, who tend to be conservative anyway.

The training process only seems to strengthen existing features, rather than provide and develop new professional behaviors. In addition, it is important to mention the Ministry of Education's policy towards the Arab education system, which may be defined as a form of “systematic control” [13-18][13] that strengthens already-existing conservatism, dependency and narrowness. The most significant finding is that a high level of professional commitment is an important feature in the professional subculture, and is a prerequisite for the development of professional responsibility among teachers.

The findings point to a weakening of internal motivation and a strengthening of external motivation during the training process. However, this trend is reversed among novice teachers, although external motivation remains strong.

The findings indicate that the initial data of the trainees are similar to data at the end of the training process, and in many cases the situation worsens.

The main role of the teacher education system should be to create and foster knowledge, skills and unique techniques for teaching. In addition, it should provide ways in which to implement theoretical and practical content in different teaching situations. Training programs must deal with the conservative positions of teacher trainees, which may hinder the fostering of appropriate attitudes and norms suitable to a professional progressive culture.

It is also necessary to strengthen and emphasize the emotional aspects of the different contents of the training process in real teaching situations. Teacher trainees must be instructed about relevant moral dilemmas and learn how to deal with them. Moreover, diverse teacher training content must be conveyed to trainees - on both a cognitive and emotional level. This may contribute to changing their attitudes, norms and behavior.

Teacher educators should have critical, in-depth discussions on practical experience in the field. These discussions must be maintained during the year through face-to-face meetings between trainees and their teachers as well as pedagogical trainers. In these meetings, problems raised by trainees about teaching, and the reality they experience in practical training in schools, should be discussed. In addition, it is important to strengthen the link between the theoretical and practical knowledge provided to trainees.

It is imperative to begin building better teacher training programs in colleges of education in the Arab education system, so that graduates will be able to function more effectively, adapt to the technological reality of the 21st century and, as educators, become influential agents of change in society.

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