Subjective Responsibility of Spanish University Teachers: A qualitative pilot study

  • Veronika Pečivová


Abstract: Teacher subjective responsibility is a prominent component of teachers’ professional identity. It has a great impact on teachers’ attitudes to various aspects and ethical questions relating to their profession and thus influences their performance.
Aims: The pilot study presented in this paper aimed to reveal the position of teacher subjective responsibility within the self-perceived identity of teachers and to find its relations to individual ingredients of teachers’ professional identity. The participants in our pilot study were four Spanish university teachers preparing future primary school teachers for their careers.
Methods: To gain a deeper insight into the teachers’ perception of their subjective responsibility we opted for a qualitative design and conducted semi-structured interviews. Having chosen a phenomenological approach, we concentrated on the participants’ understanding of their subjective responsibility and its effects. We focused on the teachers’ self-perception and inquired about the path that had led them to their profession and also about their teaching experience, searching for links connecting these to their subjective responsibility.
Results: The research results demonstrate that our participants do feel responsible for a number of issues and they also reveal a particularly strong connection between teacher subjective responsibility and their commitment. The inquiry also indicated that commitment, closely interconnected with subjective responsibility, comes with a price, affecting the personal lives of the participants.
Conclusions: Although our preliminary findings are limited because of the small number of participants and the strategy of a single interview, we believe that we have taken the first steps to understanding teacher subjective responsibility regarding its position within the broader context of teachers’ professional identity.
Keywords: teacher responsibility, teachers’ professional identity, university teachers, commitment, teachers’ professional ethics


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