10 SES 13 C, Teacher Motivations, Preparation and Pedagogical Knowledge
The importance of training competent and knowledgeable future teachers has become evident in many countries not least because of the impact of various societal and technological changes (e.g. globalisation, digitalisation). Furthermore, quality of teachers is often associated with the quality of students’ learning and the whole education system (Hattie 2009; Sahlberg 2011). Therefore, teachers are expected to possess adequate professional skills and knowledge. The construction of such skills and knowledge during teacher training programmes relate—amongst others—to students’ career choice motivations (König & Rothland, 2012). In addition, career choice motivations among prospective teachers remain relatively stable over time (Roness & Smith, 2010) and may therefore also predict learning and development during later career stages. Thus, the question on what premises young adults then make the decision to become teachers becomes quite central.
This study aimed to explore Finnish and German undergraduate students’ motivations for choosing teaching as a career by utilising FIT-Choice (Factors Influencing Teaching Choice) Scale (Watt & Richardson 2007, 2012). This scale provides a valid and reliable framework for exploring motivations for choosing teaching as a career. So far, FIT-Choice Scale is mainly utilised in single country contexts (e.g. König & Rothland, 2012; Fokkens-Bruinsma & Canrinus, 2012; Kılınç et al. 2012; Hennessy & Lynch, 2016) but less from the comparative perspective (Watts & Richardson 2012; Lin, et al., 2012). However, the comparative perspective is crucial, since the social basis of a teaching profession is created through behavioural and cultural patterns, specific artefacts, and their connection to certain social and institutional practices (see, e.g. Sarja et al., 2017).
The career choice motivations of teachers are closely linked to professional learning, satisfaction and a sense of fulfilment as well as an essential premise for motivation and enthusiasm in the teaching profession (e.g. Hennessy & Lynch, 2016; König & Rothland, 2012; Watt & Richardson, 2012). Previous studies seem to suggest that the motivations for becoming a teacher typically relate to extrinsic, intrinsic, and altruistic reasons where the two latter ones are dominating.
These motivations can be summed up as follows (Papanastasiou & Papanastasiou, 1997; Roness & Smith, 2010; Manuel & Hughes, 2006):
- extrinsic motivations cover aspects of the job which are not inherent in the work itself, such as long holidays, level of pay, and status;
- intrinsic motivations cover aspects of the job activity itself, such as the activity of teaching children, and an interest in using their subject matter knowledge and expertise;
- altruistic motivations deal with seeing teaching as a socially worthwhile and important job, a desire to help children succeed, and a desire to help society improve.
Hence, the aim of the study is to explore Finnish and German undergraduate students’ motivations and perceptions for choosing teaching as a career. The students will represent various teacher education programmes (i.e., preparing primary, secondary, and upper secondary school teachers). The research question is as follows:
- Can the FIT-Choice factor structure be replicated in a Finnish sample?
- How do Finnish and German students in teacher education differ in terms of their motivations and perceptions to become a teacher?
Instrument. In line with our theoretical conceptualisation, we will use the FIT-Choice Scale to measure the primary motivations for choosing teaching as as career as well as the perceptions about teaching. The main components of the model are self-reports on individual ability related to teaching, individual values, professional beliefs, anticipated advantages, salary, external influences, and prior experiences. Additionally, demographic information was gathered. The data was collected via online-questionnaires comprising 54 items. In the German part an already validated instrument (see Watt et al., 2012) was used. No Finnish version of the FIT-Choice existed. That is why the authors of this study translated the scale into Finnish and culturally adapted it. Participants. The Finnish participants (NF = 217) were drawn from a pool of second and third year teacher training students enrolled in a research-intensive university. The German sample (NG = 196) comprises students in their second year of teacher education at a research-intensive university. Analyses. A multi-group confirmatory factor analysis (MGCFA) approach was used to analyse the data. In a first step, it was tested whether the theoretical measurement model fits the data of each sample separately. This test allows to formulate an answer to the first research question. In a second step, it was tested whether measurement invariance can be assumed between the Finnish and the German sample. This is a necessary condition to compare motivations and perceptions across both samples. In a third step, a latent mean analysis was tested to answer the second research question.
Based on the estimated CFAs, the theoretical FIT-Choice structure could be replicated both for the Finnish and the German sample. However, a few single items exhibited insufficient psychometric properties and had to be removed from any further analysis. Unfortunately, strict scalar measurement invariance could not be established. However, further tests indicated that partial scalar invariance is tenable. Based on these results the latent mean analysis could be estimated and interpreted. On average, German students tend to choose teaching as a career more often because of extrinsic motivations. They are also seem more often influenced by significant other (e.g., peers, family) in regard to career choices than their Finnish counterparts. The study provides new information of students’ motivations for choosing teaching as a career in two very different contexts. Teaching as a profession is highly valued within the Finnish society and teacher training programmes are one of the most popular ones among all university programmes in Finland. The case is opposite in Germany, where choosing teaching as a career is often considered to be the last resort. Thus, this study will give new insight to support policy making in both target countries and also universities’ informed decision making regarding teacher training. A theoretical contribution of the study is that it will further validate the FIT-Choice instrument in a new country (Finland) from a comparative perspective.
Fokkens-Bruinsma, M. & Canrinus, E. T. 2012. The factors influencing teaching (FIT)-choice scale in a Dutch teacher education program. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 40(3), 249–269. Hennessy, J. & Lynch, R. 2016. “I Chose to become a teacher because”. Exploring the factors influencing teaching choice amongst pre-service teachers in Ireland. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 45(2), 106–125. Kılınç, A., Watt, H. M. G. & Richardson, P.W. 2012. Factors Influencing Teaching Choice in Turkey. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 40(3), 199–226. König, J. & Rothland, M. 2012. Motivations for choosing teaching as a career: effects on general pedagogical knowledge during initial teacher education. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 40(3), 289–315. Lin, E., Shi, Q., Wang, J., Zhang, S. & Hui, L. 2012. Initial motivations for teaching: comparison between preservice teachers in the United States and China. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 40(3), 227–248. Manuel, J., & Hughes, J. (2006). ‘It has always been my dream’: Exploring pre‐service teachers’ motivations for choosing to teach. Teacher Development, 10(1), 5–24. Papanastasiou, C., & Papanastasiou, E. (1997). Factors that influence students to become teachers. Educational Research and Evaluation, 3(4), 305–16. Roness, D., & Smit, K. (2010). Stability in motivation during teacher education. Journal of Education for Teaching, 36(2), 169–185. Sarja, A., Nyman, T., Ito, H. & Jaatinen, R. 2017. The foreign language teaching profession in Finnish and Japanese society – a sociocultural comparison. Pedagogy, Culture & Society 25 (2), 225–241. Watt, H.M.G., & Richardson, P.W. (2007). Motivational factors influencing teaching as a career choice: Development and validation of the FIT-Choice scale. Journal of Experimental Education, 75, 167–202. Watt, H.M.G., & Richardson, P.W. (2012). An introduction to teaching motivations in different countries: Comparisons using the FIT-Choice scale. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 40(3), 185–197.
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