Beatriz Moreno Castillo has presented her master thesis “The Wellbeing of Foreign Language Teachers: An Exploratory Study”
The aim of this study is to research the wellbeing of secondary school foreign language teachers, examining the factors and processes which affect it and how it can be enhanced. The teaching profession is claimed to be remarkably demanding with plenty of responsibilities and challenges on the part of teachers. This is the reason why most studies have traditionally focused on analysing the negative effects of teacher burnout and stress. Nevertheless, in the last few years, there has been a shift of paradigm and teacher wellbeing has started to gain prominence and be widely researched.
This alternative line of research arose as a result of the upsurge of positive psychology; a new psychology branch focused on the examination and promotion of human wellbeing. In the words of Seligman (2011: 13): “Wellbeing is not just the absence of stress, but is a series of positive states, traits and ways of being that lead to a person thriving and ﬂourishing in their environment”. Therefore, in the educational field, the focus is not on remediating stress or burnout in teachers, but on the identification of factors influencing and enhancing teacher wellbeing, such as teacher strengths, happiness, satisfaction, dynamism and optimal functioning. A high sense of professional wellbeing will help teachers to ‘flourish’ in their jobs and improve the quality of education.
This dissertation comprises two main parts, which are interrelated. The first part consists of a theoretical framework with five subsections. The first three subsections provide an overview of the literature on teacher burnout, teacher wellbeing, and foreign language teacher wellbeing and burnout. In the fourth section, the uniqueness of the foreign language learning and teaching processes is depicted and analysed. The fifth section is focused on analysing some of the necessary factors for the professional and ongoing development of FL teachers, and how these factors can enhance their wellbeing. The second part presents the implementation, analysis and conclusions of a research study conducted with secondary foreign language teachers working at a secondary school in Granada. The results of this study help us to better understand FL teachers’ current situations; comprehend their experiences, feelings and beliefs; the keys for their sense of wellbeing and how it can be enhanced.