Teachers' prestige in Spain: Probing the public's and the teachers' contrary views

Víctor Pérez-Díaz, Juan Carlos Rodríguez

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2 Scopus citations


We use the results of a public opinion survey we carried out in 2012 on a sample of the Spanish adult population to offer a plausible explanation of one of the main conundrums of primary and secondary school teachers' prestige, not only in Spain, i.e. that, contrary to public discourse and to teachers' perceptions, this prestige has not fallen in the last decades, but has remained middle to high. The estimates of teachers' prestige made by the public are the same (roughly, around 70 in a 0 to 100 scale) as those that were measured in the early 1990s. However, a clear majority of the public believes that teachers' prestige has fallen in the last decades, reiterating a cliché that is widespread in the Spanish public sphere, especially among teachers. We hypothesise that the perception of the falling prestige is much more a matter of a public space dominated by the media than of a public space that is more confined to everyday experiences and to the citizens' basic values. We support our hypothesis with pieces of empirical evidence related, on the one hand, to the association of that perception with media consumption variables in our survey, and, on the other, to media (negative) treatment of teachers' prestige. In our argument, we are also helped by a literature that is not usually dealt with in studies of teachers' prestige: that of media influence in the formation of public opinions regarding other people's opinions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-377
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Media
  • Occupational prestige
  • Public opinion
  • Public sphere
  • Teachers
  • Teachers' prestige


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