10 SES 07 D, Language and Teacher Education
The teacher shortage is currently a global phenomenon (Heinz, 2015); many countries worldwide have reported the urgent need to prepare qualified teachers to step into the teaching profession (Gao, 2010; Lee & Yuan, 2014; Low, Ng, Hui, & Cai, 2017; Shih, 2016; Sinclair, 2008; Watt & Richardson, 2008). The shortage of teachers has proliferated with signs of difficulty in attracting new students into teacher education from the resignation of qualified mid-career teachers and the retirement of senior teachers (Sinclair, 2008). This crisis impacts the quality of student learning (Sinclair, 2008). As a result, the teacher shortage is a pressing concern for many researchers around the world.
Similar to other countries, Thailand has suffered from a teacher shortage, especially English teachers; newspaper headlines and government statistics have reported the inadequacy of English teachers every year and there seems to be no sign of an accurate solution to resolve this crisis. The shortage of English teachers drives many researchers to question the roles of teacher education in preparing prospective teachers to enter the teaching profession (Gao & Trent, 2009; Lee & Yuan, 2014). After spending many years in teacher education, why do students decide not to enter the teaching profession? Does teacher education support pre-service teachers’ motivation to enter the teaching profession? These questions were used to frame this inquiry.
With attempts to demystify the teacher shortage, prior research has used motivation to choose teacher education as a conceptual framework to understand prospective teachers’ desire to enter the teaching profession. Motivation is defined as a reason driving prospective teachers to enroll in teacher education as a stepping stone to becoming a teacher (Lee & Yuan, 2014). This line of research grows rapidly to examine teachers in general, but limited research has focused on English teachers (Shih, 2016). English teachers are valuable to emphasize because they have distinctive characteristics. Borg (2006) argued that English is the only subject where effective instruction requires teachers to use a medium of instruction that is foreign to students. This study attempts to investigate the motivation to choose teacher education as a stepping stone to becoming English teachers and to explore motivation change in teacher education. The next section presents the conceptual framework of this study.
By using the concept of tensions as a conceptual frame, this study was guided by the following research question: What motivates pre-service teachers to choose teacher education as a stepping stone to become English teachers?
This study employed a cross-sectional research design; ten students from each year (Year 1 – 5) were purposefully selected for the interviews. Three series of interviews were implemented. In the first interview, I asked the participants to answer four open-ended questions: 1) Why did you decide to enroll in teacher education? 2) Why English education? 3) What is your experience in teacher education? 4) Would it be different if you had not taken teacher education? Then, I transcribed and analyzed the first interviews. In the second interview, I asked the participants to narrate specific details of the events mentioned in the first round. For example, one participant mentioned that she decided to enter teacher education because she was born in a family of teachers. In the second interview, I asked her to retell this story in detail. The guided question in the second interview was: Can you tell me more about this event? In the last interview, I asked the participants to reflect upon the meaning they had gained after the first two interviews. The guided question in this last round was: Given what you have said about your decision to study teacher education, please explain your motivation to choose teaching English as a career choice? To analyze the data, I used the zoom model, developed by Pamphilon (1999). The zoom model generates themes from coding, reflecting, and categorizing. According to Pamphilon (1999), the zoom model consists of four levels of analysis. For the macro-zoom level, I analyzed the interviews by focusing on sociocultural contexts that shaped the stories. In the meso-zoom level, I examined repetitive patterns of stories across the interviews. In the micro-zoom level, I explored specific details of narratives, such as pauses or key phrases. Finally, in the interactional-zoom level, I reflected upon my subjectivity that might influence the data analysis (Pamphilon, 1999). It should be noted that the four levels are not linear but interactive. When I encountered contradictions in the analysis, I either zoomed in or out to scrutinize the data. After each level, I wrote memos to record my hunches to supplement the analysis for emergent themes. This interactive analysis method allowed me to capture the multilayered motivation to choose teacher education. To enhance the trustworthiness of the data, the findings were sent back to some participants for member check.
Five themes of motivations to choose teacher education emerged, ranging from high to low frequency as follows: family influence, love of English, dream profession, enjoyment of teaching, and dual benefits of becoming an English teacher. To filter these themes into the tripartite conventional framework (Kyriacou & Kobori, 1998), the only consistent theme is ‘enjoyment of teaching’, which is an intrinsic motivation. The other themes are beyond the framework. The findings revealed that the motivations to choose teacher education are multilayered and interconnected. In order to represent the multilayered and interconnected quality
Bruinsma, M., & Jansen, E. P. W. A. (2010). Is the motivation to become a teacher related to pre-service teachers’ intentions to remain in the profession? European Journal of Teacher Education, 33(2), 185–200. Gao, X. (2010). To be or not to be: Shifting motivations in Chinese secondary school English teachers’ career narratives. Teacher Development, 14(3), 321–334. Gao, X., & Trent, J. (2009). Understanding mainland Chinese students’ motivations for choosing teacher education programmes in Hong Kong. Journal of Education for Teaching, 35(2), 145–159. Hayes, D. (2008). Becoming a teacher of English in Thailand. Language Teaching Research, 12, 471–494. Heinz, M. (2015). Why choose teaching? An international review of empirical studies exploring student teachers’ career motivations and levels of commitment to teaching. Educational Research and Evaluation, 21(3), 258–297. Kyriacou, C., & Kobori, M. (1998). Motivation to learn and teach English in Slovenia. Educational Studies, 24(3), 345–351. Lee, I., & Yuan, R. (2014). Motivation change of pre-service English teachers: A Hong Kong study. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 27(1), 89–106. Low, E. L., Ng, P. T., Hui, C., & Cai, L. (2017). Teaching as a career choice: Triggers and drivers. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 42(2), 28–46. Moses, I., Berry, A., Saab, N., & Admiraal, W. (2017). Who wants to become a teacher? Typology of student-teachers’ commitment to teaching. Journal of Education for Teaching, 43(4), 444–457. Prabjandee, D. (2014). Journey to becoming a Thai English teacher: A new perspective on investigating teacher shortage. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 60(3). Rampa, S. H. (2014). Passion for teaching: A perspective for South African teachers. Africa Education Review, 11(3), 386–404. Roness, D., & Smith, K. (2010). Stability in motivation during teacher education. Journal of Education for Teaching, 36(2), 169–185. Shih, C.-M. (2016). Why do they want to become English teachers: A case study of Taiwanese EFL teachers. Perspectives in Education, 34(3), 43–55. Sinclair, C. (2008). Initial and changing student teacher motivation and commitment to teaching. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 36(2), 79–104. Watt, H. M. G., & Richardson, P. W. (2008). Motivations, perceptions, and aspirations concerning teaching as a career for different types of beginning teachers. Learning and Instruction, 18(5), 408–428.
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