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Supporting data for “Adaptability of Secondary School Teachers in Mainland China: Examining Types, Antecedents, and Mechanisms of Influence”.

posted on 2024-04-05, 08:14 authored by Mingyao SunMingyao Sun

Teacher adaptability has been established as crucial not only for advancing students’ academic and broader achievements but also for enhancing teachers’ professional performance and psychological well-being. While current studies have investigated the behavioural adaptability of classroom teaching (adaptive teaching), significant gaps remain in our comprehensive understanding of teacher adaptability. There is a pressing need for a more systematic investigation of teacher adaptability’s aspects and dimensions. Moreover, research on the antecedents of teacher adaptability is still in its formative stages, with a focus required on stimuli, additional antecedents, and the mechanisms of influence.

The tripartite model of adaptability, encompassing cognitive, behavioural, and emotional dimensions, was employed to scrutinise teachers’ various types of adaptability across different workplace settings. The activity theory served as the conceptual framework for investigating the antecedents and interconnections of teacher adaptability. A multiple case study design involving thirteen teachers from three secondary schools in mainland China was adopted. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, non-participant observations, and documents. Thematic and nexus analysis methods were applied to analyse the data.

This study revealed that teachers adapted their classroom teaching and interactions within their workplace. In terms of classroom teaching adaptability, teachers adapted their teacher knowledge and classroom teaching behaviour; these were cognitive and behavioural adaptability, which were not always synchronised. Teachers adapted teacher knowledge primarily through expansion type and teaching behaviour through student-centred type. Regarding interaction adaptability, teachers exhibited almost synchronised cognitive-behavioural adaptability. Problem-solving, avoidance, and balance types were identified. Teachers’ emotional adaptability was prevalent throughout the classroom teaching and interactions, with a predominance of cognitive reappraisal and modification types.

This study systematically examined the stimuli provoking teacher adaptability from educational environments, curriculum and teaching, and others’ behaviour and perspectives. These stimuli principally challenged teachers’ abilities and beliefs, intensified interpersonal tensions, escalated workloads, and amplified negative emotions, thereby instigating adaptability responses. Despite the diversity of these stimuli, they consistently led to the adaptability of classroom teaching and emotion. Concerning additional antecedents, subjective-level factors such as personality, cognitive factors, beliefs, and previous working experience emerged as significant antecedents, exerting a synergistic influence alongside community-, instrument-, and rule-level factors. Moreover, power suppression within the school hindered teacher adaptability or precipitated an avoidance response.

This study identified three principal influencing mechanisms of teacher adaptability in the novice stage: personality-driven, encouragement-driven, and mixed-driven. These mechanisms endured primarily within the novice career period. Within these mechanisms, the dimensions of cognitive, behavioural, and emotional adaptability usually operate independently. Furthermore, among experienced teachers, mechanisms including experience-driven, self-learning-driven, and rule-constrained were observed. These tended to be more enduring and continuous with positive emotions. And the three dimensions of adaptability exerted a mutual influence. All six influence mechanisms impacted classroom teaching and interactions.