Tobephobia: Fear of Failure Experienced by Educators

By Prakash Singh and Tulsi Morar.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Tobephobia is defined as the fear of failure in education. This study is a continuation of the exploratory studies on the manifestation of fear in education that is, Tobephobia (TBP). The primary purpose of this study was to establish how TBP, caused by professional incompetence, affects teachers in South African schools. The qualitative research method was used for this study. Educators being the participants were required to provide their responses to the open-ended questions in writing. Teachers admitted that their greatest fear is lacking the knowledge to teach their subjects as required in the new curriculum. They admitted that working in a fearful situation places a high rate of stress and anxiety on them. Being Tobephobic, they spend most of their time worrying about their fear of being incompetent and are therefore too frightened to carry out their normal duties. Teachers expressed their need to have formal training and be certified as curriculum specialists by higher education institutions. Simply having workshops on an ad hoc basis, as pointed out by the educators, on the National Curriculum Statement is not addressing the seriousness of skills shortage within the teaching community and this has created untold tension, stress, anxiety and consequently fear in them.

Keywords: Tobephobia, Tobephobic Educators, Fear in Education, Professional Incompetence

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp.93-106. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.191MB).

Prof. Prakash Singh

Professor of Education, Centre for Research, Technology & Innovation, Faculty of Education, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Prakash Singh is a professor of advanced studies in education. He is in the Research, Technology and Innovation Unit of the Faculty of Education at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. His field of specialization is educational leadership, fear management and curriculum development. He has published widely in accredited journals and presented numerous papers at national and international conferences. He is also a member of several national and international organisations and currently serves as an executive committee member of the Standard Generating Body of the South African Qualifications Authority in South Africa. He is the recipient of a Senior Fulbright Researcher’s grant. His current research focus is on the emotional intelligence of educational leaders and the management of fear in the educational milieu.

Dr. Tulsi Morar

Off-Campus Manager, Faculty of Education, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Dr. Tulsi Morar studied at Dower College for his Teacher’s Diploma. He completed his BA at UPE, BCom at Vista, BEd at Rhodes, MEd at Leeds and DEd in Mathematics Education at Curtin University, Perth. Dr. Morar is committed to Continued Professional Teacher Development of the previously disadvantaged communities. Dr. Morar served as a committee member of the Eastern Cape branch of the Open Society Foundation from 1996 to 1999, as secretary of the Port Elizabeth branch of the Association of Mathematics Educators of South Africa (AMESA) from 1998 to 2003. He is currently treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the Primary Mathematics Project (PMP) and on the editorial board of the Pythagoras Journal, an AMESA journal. Dr. Morar has presented a number of papers at International conferences. He has presented at American Education Research Association and at the International Conference in Mathematics Education (ICME). Dr. Morar is currently the Off-Campus Manager in the Faculty of Education at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.


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