Construct Validation of the Staff Morale Questionnaire – The Singapore Scene

Date01 January 1991
Published date01 January 1991
AuthorRuth Y.L. Wong
Subject MatterEducation
Staff Morale
Construct Validation of the
Staff Morale Questionnaire
The Singapore Scene
Ruth Y.L. Wong
Institute of
Teaching has often been considered a "marginal profession" because it does
not enjoy the privileges normally accorded to professionals. Lamentably, society
regards teachers as respectable but not respected; as necessary but not
essential; as general craftsmen but not professionals; as those who can't do,
but simply teach.
In the face of such a social reality which accords teaching low status, the
self-image of teachers is lowered, their sense of power is decreased, and this
in turn lowers their level of competence in wider circles of social interaction.
Despite the amount of time and the authorised power that teachers have
in the classroom, they have been unable to present an acceptable image of their
value to society. This is partly because society devalues the skills and
competencies teachers have to offer; teachers are made responsible for things
beyond their control, from being babysitters (invigilating students) to serving
workers (checking out the family background of
students). In most
schools teachers are treated as interchangeable parts. Regardless of their
different talents and experiences, they are given identical instructional roles,
responsibilities and prestige. This lack of differentiation is brought about by
the fact that educational organisations are excessively barren and flat
there are few chances of
Thus teaching loses its challenge, and
fails to attract the sharpest and most searching minds among the young.
Indeed, the teaching profession seems imperilled. The rising expectation
parents have of
the strict emphasis on covering the syllabus, and the
increasing obsession with examination results, lead to an erosion of
challenge and idealism of teaching. Today teaching is no longer a distinctive
occupation. Lortie[l] described the teacher's social position as "special but
shadowed", and lamented that teaching
not been accorded the respectability
that it rightfully deserves.
The Scene in Singapore
Singapore is short of teachers, especially graduate teachers. In trying to find
out why the teaching profession is not attracting enough people, and why
teachers resign from the profession, teacher morale becomes a pertinent and
for research. The
Report on the Ministry
that 18 per cent of the 140 teachers interviewed had low morale, 52 per cent
average morale, and 30 per cent high morale. However, the problem may be
more serious than those figures reveal. In that report, poor communication
Journal of Educational
Administration, Vol 29 No 1. 1991.
pp 71-80 © MCB University

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