2014 | 68 | 1/2 | 55-68
Article title

Latvijas skolotāja vizuālais tēls eiropas skolēnu perspektīvā

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The visual image of the teacher of latvia in the perspective of european pupils
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The aim of the article The visual image of the teacher of Latvia in the perspective of European pupils is to seek answers to the question what is the teacher’s visual image in the eyes of Latvia’s pupils in comparison with the teacher’s image in other European countries and what this image tells about the teacher’s profession. The visual image in our understanding means the reflection on the phenomenon that develops in the human consciousness as a result of former social experience in the form of sign system. The teacher’s image that is preserved in the collective consciousness of the society influences the prestige of the teacher’s profession. It is possible to study the teacher’s image using historical evidence, interviews and drawings as well as mass media as sources. The participants of the study carried out by the authors in the academic year 2011/2012 were 100 15 years old pupils of Latvia who in their descriptions and drawings tried to answer the question “What does a typical teacher look like?” The answers of Latvia’s respondents were compared with answers that were received from a study with identical methodology in the European Union and its candidate countries— England, Serbia, Slovenia, Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. The number of respondents taken together in all countries was 749. The following components describing the teacher’s visual image were analyzed: gender, age, outer appearance (height, hairdo, clothes, accessories), verbal communication (description of the voice, tone), non-verbal communication (mimics, body language, movements in the room). The teacher’s visual image in Latvia was analyzed in the context of the social description of the profession and the cultural and historical context as well as taking into account the age peculiarities of the respondents. The results of the study revealed that the teacher’s visual image is closely connected with the teacher’s personal features and professional qualities. Although the question was explicitly defined the respondents not only described what the teacher was like but also what the teacher should be like. The respondents’ opinion in all countries participating in the study was surprisingly similar. The teacher’s image polarized in two extremes: 1) teacher as the bearer of power who can be both an intellectual professional and a dictator and 2) teacher as a friend and a motherly/fatherly adviser. The first version dominates in the answers of Latvia’s respondents. The visual image of a typical teacher is simple, inconspicuous and it is assessed positively as a useful model of intellectual achievement for the youth. When compared with the teacher’s image in the historical evidence the modern teacher has become more dynamic. However, the teacher is not depicted as a happy creature: overload and the society expectations for an ideal teacher builds up discomfort in teachers. The story about the teacher’s image largely is also the story about the respondents themselves — pupils: the prominently significant place of the teacher in their life and their own experience
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