Political attitudes and participation among high school teachers in Newfoundland

Arthur, Joseph Oliver (1984) Political attitudes and participation among high school teachers in Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Newfoundland teachers may be seen to occupy a distinctive and, potentially influential position in Newfoundland society. In spite of this potential central role, there is a traditional belief that teachers, like clergymen, are supposed to refrain from active political activities. In Newfoundland, where the educational system is denominationally controlled, teachers role might be expected to come under scrutiny not only from people in the community or government officials, but, also from members of the school board and clergymen. In the light of the above, this study attempted to learn; -- 1. The extent to which high school teachers participate in political activities compared with the general public in Newfoundland. -- 2. Teachers' perception of restrictions placed on their political activities and the extent to which this affects their participation rates. -- In measuring political participation, the study adopts a multidimensional conceptualization of political participation - voting, campaigning, particularized contacting and community activities. -- Data used for this study were primarily collected by a province-wide mail survey of 273 high school teachers administered in May and June 1983. The questionnaire focused on teacher participation and related attitudes. To validate the more quantitative survey findings, informal interviews were conducted and information was gathered from teachers in some Newfoundland towns across the province. -- Principal findings were that: -- 1. Newfoundland high school teachers participate more actively than the general public in voting, party and campaign work, and particularized contacting activities. When we compare their participation rate with that of the general public with university education, we find that teachers report higher levels of participation in most activities. -- 2. Considering the variations in teacher participation, male high school teachers and older teachers participate more than their counterparts. -- 3. Most teachers do not perceive serious objections to their participation in partisan political activity. Discussing controversial political issues in class and striking were seen as more likely to attract disapproval, especially from school boards, according to teachers. -- 4. The perception that a teacher's action might be objected to by school board members or people in the community does not inhibit participation. Rather, those who perceive serious objections to their actions tend to participate more. -- 6. While the perception of objections to a teacher's activity does not lower his participation rate, interest in politics or apathy has a great impact on teachers' participation. Teachers with low interest in politics participate less than those with high interest.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5798
Item ID: 5798
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 120-122a.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Political Science
Date: 1984
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Teachers--Newfoundland and Labrador--Political activity

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