Managing stress in schools: Teachers coping with special education children

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Abstract

Teaching is one of the most stressful professions worldwide. This study aimed to explore how teachers cope with teaching - in regular classes - special education children who get some assistance through special integration programs in their schools but no additional assistance in their regular classes. More specifically, I examined coping strategies in two cultural groups of teachers - Jews and Arabs. Furthermore, I investigated how the different coping strategies explain stress reactions of state anxiety and state anger in the two cultures in the background of this special situation. Six hundred and thirty-four Jewish and Arab teachers (80% Jews) completed self-report questionnaires, including Cope, state anxiety and state anger in their free time during the period of November 2010 to January 2011. Significant differences were revealed among Jewish and Arab teachers in usage of coping strategies. Although both Jews and Arabs used mostly "problem solving" strategies, Jewish teachers used these strategies more compared to their Jewish counter-parts, while Arab teachers used more "emotional coping" and "disengagement" strategies. The relationships between the different coping strategies and stress reactions were mostly in the same direction for both groups. However, the strengths of the relationships were significantly different. The obtained variance of anxiety and anger by coping strategies was greater among Jewish teachers than among their Arabs counterparts. The results are discussed in relationship to the Stress and Coping Theory of Lazarus and Folkman. Emphasis is placed on the uniqueness of each culture and how each culture translates interaction with stressful situations into coping strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal on Disability and Human Development
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016

Keywords

  • coping
  • cultural groups
  • special education children
  • teachers

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