‘I really like teaching, but…’ A mixed methods study exploring pre-service teachers’ motivations for choosing teaching as a career

Wang, Wenting (2019) ‘I really like teaching, but…’ A mixed methods study exploring pre-service teachers’ motivations for choosing teaching as a career. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3356430


In the context of ongoing concerns and current needs to further strengthen teacher quality and encourage highly motivated and committed teachers into teaching in Scotland (Donaldson 2010; Scottish Government, 2016, 2018), this study explores motivational factors influencing Scottish student teachers choosing teaching as a career choice. In doing so, this research also seeks to compare the career motivation of those choosing teaching as a first career and those who change career path to enter teaching. Watt and Richardson’s FIT-Choice model (2007), underpinned by expectancy-value theory, is chosen as the theoretical foundation to guide the investigation of the study.
Following an explanatory sequential mixed methods approach, this study employs two research instruments: an online questionnaire based upon a standardised inventory called ‘FIT-Choice scale’ (Watt and Richardson, 2007) completed by 92 students who were in first year MEduc and PGDE programmes at the University of Glasgow in Scotland; and, followed-up with face-to-face semi-structured interviews with a subset of the sample (n = 11). The questionnaire and interview data were analysed using SPSS and NVivo software respectively. Questionnaire results show the trends and general motivation patterns of Scottish student teachers’ motivations to teach; and, interview results not only offer supplementary explanations and clarification in understanding questionnaire results, but also reveal personal stories about their decision to teach. Interpretations and conclusions were drawn from both the questionnaire and interview results.

This study found that pre-service teachers’ motivations for pursuing a teaching career are often multi-dimensional, contextualised and individualised. Participants exhibited a complex combination of different forms of motivational factors; these motivations interacted with participants’ perceptions, expectations, and attitude towards teaching as a career. There were subtle differences in motivations for becoming teachers between those choosing teaching as a first or, subsequent career. Many participants’ decision to teach was made in the context of being aware of both positive and challenging aspects of the profession. Interestingly, in light of interview data, respondents tend to rely on perceived intrinsic rewards of teaching (e.g. feelings of enjoyment and fulfilment) to resist any negative thoughts or remarks about teaching as a career. Therefore, conclusions drawn from the analysis suggests that participants’ seemingly high motivation for teaching is likely to involve the feature of weighing or balancing the perceived positive and negative images of teaching.

Overall, this mixed methods study contributes to knowledge by offering insights into 1) student teachers’ generic motivations patterns for teaching in the Scottish context; 2) an under-explored group comparison of career motivations of those who choose teaching as an initial or subsequent career; and, 3) how these motives link to student teachers’ perceptions, values, expectations, and attitudes towards teaching as a career; and, contribute to the development of their identity as a teacher. Arguably, understanding these issues have important practical implications for recruiting and retaining teachers; and, for helping future teachers fulfil their articulated professional goals and sustain their morale and enthusiasm for teaching.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Pre-service teacher, motivation, perception, teaching profession, teaching choice.
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education > UGIEC / SCRE
Supervisor's Name: Elliot, Dr. Dely and Houston, Dr. Muir
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Miss Wenting Wang
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-72474
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2019 12:46
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2022 10:00
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.72474
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/72474

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