Teacher Commitment

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Teachers play an important role in educating the future members of a society through their work in schools. Furthermore, teachers in institutions of higher education, in technical training colleges and in centres of lifelong learning and recurrent education play a critical part in advancing economic and technological development as well as sustaining the well-being of the societies they serve. Consequently, the factors influencing the levels of commitment of the teachers in schools and in the wider education systems must necessarily be the focus of an important field of research leading to the introduction of reform and change within classrooms and lecture theatres, schools, institutions and learning centres, and national systems of education. This chapter is not only concerned with the importance of teacher commitment at all levels of education, with conceptualizing teacher commitment and with the dimensions or different types of commitment, but also with the influences of leadership and working conditions on teacher commitment as well as with the development and maintenance of high levels of commitment among teachers. In addition to considering the effects of antecedent personal characteristics of teachers on their levels of commitment, this chapter also considers the effects of social groups, such as the body of teachers within a school or institution on the individual members of the group. Of particular importance are the effects of the operations of the teacher unions within the education systems of Western countries on the commitment of their members who work within schools and institutions.