University of Leicester
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Managing challenging teachers

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:44 authored by Eliezer. Yariv
Teachers' poor performance is estimated to prevail among 5-10 percent of the teaching force. Despite its damage to pupils and to schools' reputation it has been rarely studied. Two major empirical works (Bridges, 1986,1992 Wragg et al., 1999) described its antecedents and administrators' response. The current study examines, within the Israeli context, who are the poor perforating (referred as 'challenging') teachers How principals cope with their shortcomings and what is the hidden emotional dynamics within that dyad The theoretical framework follows the three-component model of attitude (Rosenberg & Ho viand, 1960 Eagly & Chaiken, 1998), which analyzes the findings according to its cognitive, behavior and affective components. The sample includes all the principals and 131 teachers who were working in 40 elementary schools in northern Israel In addition to a semi-structured interview with each principal, they also completed two questionnaires, one about a challenging teacher and one about an outstanding teacher. Having those two teachers and two additional teachers (marginal + outstanding) who filled similar questionnaires triangulated that information. Over seven percent of the teachers were identified as challenging, mostly these were veteran teachers who manifested either insensitiveness toward pupils or had low motivation- Relatively more of these teachers taught in deprived schools with inexperienced principals. The reasons for their difficulties were generally poor fit between personal characteristics and job demands. Half faced major life event changes, which deteriorated their performance. The principals of these teachers presented highly nurturing management style with little demanding of individual teachers. They evaluated the challenging teachers as performing below average they were emotionally ambivalent toward them and reduced support and increased their demands, in comparison to the outstanding teachers. Principals tended not to plan in advance, and coped with teachers' shortcomings more by overlooking and using soft measures than taking organizational measures and sanctions. Escalating the conflict damaged the principals-teacher relations and prevented finding a solution, while a planned and focused intervention, which included colleague teachers' assistance proved to be highly effective.


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University of Leicester

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  • Doctoral

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  • PhD



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