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THE IMAGE OF PEDAGOGUES AS A REFLECTION OF PROFESSION’S PRESTIGE IN CURRENT MEDIA: THE CONTEXT OF PEDAGOGUES’ OPINIONS

I. Bilbokaitė-Skiauterienė, R. Bilbokaitė

Šiauliai University (LITHUANIA)
In 2018, an extraordinary initiative has taken place in Lithuania: an idea for Lithuania that brought together Lithuanian media, business and society was announced. One of the three ideas targeted for implementation is the following: a teacher is a prestigious profession to be reached until 2025. This goal is to be implemented at the national level, having introduced reorganisation of teacher training and professional growth, wages and school funding by providing conditions for pedagogues to freely and creatively work and apply new methods. However, the data of the research studies conducted in Lithuania reveal that pedagogue’s profession is assessed negatively by common society, it has lost respect and trust demonstrated towards the profession (Bilbokaitė, 2017). Still, teacher’s prestige should be linked to the publicly shared understanding that the fundamental of the state lies on young people who are educated by the most important individuals in the area of education, pedagogues.

Relevance of the theme are based on the lack of analogous scientific research both in Lithuania and abroad dealing with one of the key sources of formation of public opinion, i.e. media reports on the relevant topic arousing discussions among school community members, politicians, scientists, public activists. All this would provide preconditions for formation of pedagogue’s prestige, training of professional specialists and improvement of education of the future generation.

The aim of the research is to reveal the image of pedagogues as a reflection of prestige of the profession displayed in current media in the aspect of pedagogues’ opinions.

The research was conducted in January-March 2018, analysing the articles published over the latter year in media of Lithuania; the content of the articles had to contain the notional units “pedagogue, a prestigious speciality”, “pedagogue’s image”, “profession of a teacher”. The research data analysis employed the content analysis method which enabled revealing how pedagogues themselves valued the striving to turn pedagogue’s profession to a prestigious one.

The research results revealed that the image of pedagogues had changed from a sturdy, strict, honest professional to a poor specialist who is disrespected neither by pupils nor parents over several decades. This proves the changing role of a pedagogue in society. Even though present day media emphasise the relation between pedagogue’s prestige and low wages, however, pedagogues themselves critically assess other aspects, such as inability of politicians to act. Pedagogues express mistrust in educational reforms to be implemented by politicians, which caused by vital demographical changes in our country resulting in unclear prospects of the future of pedagogues’ work, encouraged migration of specialists.

Pedagogues emphasise that school audit must be conducted; as a result, incompetent pedagogues who foster formation of a negative public image of school should be let go. They should be substituted by extraordinary, young pedagogues who will gradually gain the authority awarded by school community and society. The need for the change of the teaching system is observed, emphasising integrated education by creating a safe environment, providing conditions for pedagogues’ careers, improving curricula; the need to restructure the system of pedagogue education by reducing the gap between curricula and examination programmes is underlined.