PhD Pappa Sotiria

77000 €

Teacher Educators’ Occupational Stress in Finnish Universities: Exploring connections to professional identity and English-medium instruction

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Kaksivuotinen

Universities have responded to the changing nature of higher education by offering undergraduate and postgraduate study programmes in English, known as English-mediated instruction (EMI) programmes. EMI means that university teaching staff have to teach students through a language that is foreign or additional to their native language. Amidst a professional climate of increasing work demands on research, teaching and supervisory tasks, university teachers’ – and teacher educators’, in particular – experience of occupational stress has been little explored. Yet, international literature shows anxiety and stress to be prevalent among teachers regardless of education level. Teacher educators may experience EMI as a source of stress, because EMI complicates performing teaching duties, especially in the absence of professional training addressing the changes in pedagogy, ideology, and identity taking place in an EMI context. This postdoctoral research project explores the occupational stress of research and teaching staff in Finnish universities offering teacher education programmes. Primarily, this project seeks to understand teacher educators’ reported levels of occupational stress in their work. Secondarily, it seeks to understand how a sense of well-being at work, or lack thereof, influences teacher educators’ perception of themselves as professionals and affects their work in EMI. This interdisciplinary project combines the fields of psychology, educational sciences, and applied linguistics. Moreover, it introduces a mixed-method approach and uses complementary data collected via questionnaires, interviews, self-reports, lecture observations, and physiological measurements. The project aims to help teacher educators and university staff training personnel, and to highlight the needs EMI raises for a stronger sense of integrity and professionalization through a foreign or additional language.