Teachers’ Values: An International Study of What Sustains a Fulfilling Life in Education

Jonathan M Barnes


The recruitment and retention ‘crises’ in US and UK teaching have major and negative implications for the future of education. This pilot study uses extended conversations with Asian and African teaching staff to examine the role of values in helping teachers sustain positive contributions to children’s lives and world. In five elementary schools, the researcher asked: What is the role of personal values in recruiting, retaining, sustaining and building the creative capacity of teachers? The study found that a close alignment of institutional and individual values generated strong positive impacts on teacher fulfillment and resilience. It further suggests that by using their own autobiographical ‘values-stories’, teachers could advance personal values and build their capacity to contribute. The article proposes implications for all education departments, universities and schools seeking to address declining rates of teacher recruitment and retention. Recommendations include greater attention to the values that bring individuals to education, a steer towards using values-stories across the curriculum and a focus on ‘Big Issues’ in Initial Teacher Education.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/jets.v7i5.4151


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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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