10 SES 03 D, Research on Values, Beliefs & Understandings in Teacher Education
A perennial challenge in Australian education is the staffing of schools in rural, remote and hard to staff locations (Downes & Roberts, 2017). In addition, universities are under increasing pressure to address inequalities between opportunity and attainment in the capital cities and regional centres (Koziol, 2018). There is a recognition of the importance of attracting and retaining teachers who are suited for teaching (NSWCDE, 2017), with assurance of their classroom readiness (AITSL, 2015). Initiatives are aimed at attracting candidates with the ‘right’ motives for teaching particularly, for regional schools (Jenkins & Cornish, 2015). Compared with metropolitan locations teaching and living in regional contexts is different, with teachers facing considerable personal and professional challenges (i.e., isolation, fitting in, community expectations) (Downes & Roberts, 2017). Retaining teachers in regional areas is an issue for stakeholders and universities (White & Reid, 2008).
Teacher candidates choose teaching for a range of reasons: job security, status, social contribution, interest and lifestyle (Moran, et al., 2017). Yet, motivation for teaching may not necessarily indicate satisfaction or suitability; as a successful teacher needs to display the right motives and possess certain values (Bruinsma & Jansen, 2010). Understanding the relationship between the values and career motivation can help to address issues of satisfaction and suitability. Richardson and Watt’s (2010) research support this notion indicating, “a need to understand the core values and beliefs that attract people into teacher education…”(p. 195). Further, in order for teachers to thrive in regional locations, it is necessary to consider personal values and motivations (Durksen & Klassen , 2018).
Attracting and keeping quality teachers who want to work and live in regional areas enables opportunities for sustainable and equitable education across societal and geographical boundaries. It is suggested that local teachers play an important role in local communities (Jean et al., 2009), by building and maintaining social capital (Autti & Hyry-Beihammer, 2014), and providing influence on local identity (Smit, Hyry-Beihammer & Raggl, 2015).
For regional candidates the choice of teaching is influenced by personal connections, schooling experiences and a sense of identity (Hong, 2010). They have a strong personal desire to stay connected to their local community and see teaching as an opportunity for upward class mobility and social change (Kline & Walker-Bibbs, 2015). Regional teachers are known to value and are valued as they assume vital roles in local communities (Burton & Johnson, 2010).
This study was located along the coast of Australia, south of Sydney. Participants were from 5 campuses along the south coast of New South Wales–at distance of approximately 400 km, and some 5 hours travel by car. In Australia, 'regional' location is defined based upon a combination of size of population and distance from either capital city or major regional town.
The researcher draws on the ideas of social cognitive career theory, specifically Expectancy–value theory (Wigfield & Eccles, 2000) to enhance understanding on the relationship between motivation and values. This theory considers values to be “the centrality of teacher motivations integral to teachers’ goals, beliefs, perceptions, aspirations, and behaviours” (Richardson & Watt, p. 139, 2010). Expectancy-value theory can be viewed as having three major components: (1) psychological component (i.e., competency beliefs); (2) biological component (i.e., behavioural genetics); and (3) socialisation component (i.e., social, culture, context). Components are closely tied to a person’s values, motivations and interact with perceived expectancy of success. Values are grouped into four key value categories–interest, utility, attainment and cost.
- What is the relationship between the values regional candidate teachers brings into the profession and their career motivations?
Method A validated online survey instrument was adopted and modified from a study on The Effectiveness of Teacher Education (SETE)–Mayer, Allard, Bates, Doecke, Kline, & Kostogriz… (2012) to tracked the progression of teacher candidates. Overall, (n=111 out of 135) participants responded to Survey 1–collecting quantitative data on demographics and motivations including three open-ended questions on values related to teaching. Participants The study examined the relationship between values and career motivations of regional candidates entering a Master of Teaching Degree. The context was a multi-campus university geographically separated; five regional campuses, four of which had small populations (i.e., <25 students), the fifth campus was a larger coastal university city, several hours south of a major capital city. There was high unemployment and underemployment in the region (youth unemployment –18.4% ), well above the national average of 12% (BoSL March, 2018). The survey participants were made up 58% females compared to 42% of males, 4% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (AoTSI). The program included both primary and secondary (largest %) teachers. Quantitative data collection and analysis Quantitative demographic data were collected (e.g., age, gender…). Analysis of the data included descriptive statistics, factor analysis, correlations and a series of one-way ANOVAS, with the purpose of detecting differences between groups. Qualitative data collection and analysis Qualitative responses collected from 3 open-ended questions asked participants to identify the qualities, practices and attributes they believed they brought into teaching. •Teacher Qualities (TQ)–characteristics and behaviours that contribute to teacher effectiveness; •Professional Practices (PP)–skills in planning, preparation, instructional techniques and professional responsibilities; •Personal Attributes (PA)– dispositions, inherent traits, tacit knowledge. A form of content analysis compiled the most frequently used words from the comments through a form of visualisation (e.g., word clouds). Terms were then compiled to form common ideas for TQ, TP, PA, inductively developed and described as emerging themes (e.g., feedback, identity, modelling, relationship, emotional support,…). Common ideas were then grouped and labelled (Braun & Clarke, 2006) and aligned to Eccles (1983, 2009) value categories and appropriate data segments. Connecting quantitative and qualitative data The researcher looked for a convergence of the data sets involved aligning the value category to emerging themes, data segments and the most appropriate Factor in the 2 factor solution. Data triangulation converged quantitative to qualitative data and provided information on the relationship between values and motivations.
Results The main motivation for choosing teaching was aspirational e.g., wanting to make a difference A 2-factor solution:(F1) – pragmatic, (F2)–aspirational motivations. A positive correlation between gender and F2 with women more likely to study at a smaller campus. A significant mean difference between age and F2 on test scores, F(103, 2)= 277.82, MSE =0.003, p = .004, n2 =1,000. As age increases, F2 scores decreased–older candidates selecting F1 motivations. Qualitative data identified themes for each of : TQ, PP and PA, aligned to value categories (interest, utilities, attainment & cost). The total % of value category responses showed that F2 were predominate while, F1 had high responses rate for utilities–usefulness of career in achieving personal goals (see Figure 1). Figure 1. Relationship between candidates’ values and career motivations based on Eccles (1983, 2009) Value Categories. (The presentation will include the full set of results e.g., Fig.1) Conclusions Candidates values and motivations (F1 or F2) were influenced by interests (i.e., I want to make a difference) and immediate needs (i.e., I want to work in my local area). Motivations varied between aspirational to pragmatic influenced by gender, age, and social/economic environment. Female and AoTSI supported F2 motivations. Yet, as age increased participants selected more F1 motivations. The most frequently mentioned value category– interest value (n=157), then utility value (n=127). Implications If we are to attract the ‘best’ candidates in regional locations, develop, support and keep them, it is necessary to move beyond superficial acknowledgement of the value for teaching and begin to understanding the relationship between values and motivations of particular groups. Regional universities play an important role in supporting the careers of older women and AoTSI in local communities offering job satisfaction, financial security, and connections to local communities; a delicate balance of the practicalities–logistical and philosophical.
Autti, O. & Hyry-Beihammer, E.K. (2014). "School Closures in Rural Finnish Communities," Journal of Research in Rural Education, 29 (1). 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) Burton, M., & Johnson, A. S. (2010). "Where else would we teach?": Portraits of two teachers in the rural south. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(4), 376-386. Downes, N., & Roberts, P. (2017). Revisiting the schoolhouse: A literature review on staffing rural, remote and isolated schools in Australia 2004-2016. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 28(1), 31-54. Durksen, T. L., & Klassen, R. M. (2018). The development of a situational judgement test of personal attributes for quality teaching in rural and remote Australia. The Australian Educational Researcher, 45(2), 255-276. Hong, J. Y. (2010). Pre-service and beginning teachers’ professional identity and its relation to dropping out of the profession. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(8), 1530-1543. Kline, J., & Walker-Gibbs, B. (2015). Graduate teacher preparation for rural schools in Victoria and Queensland. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 40(3), 68. Mayer, D., Allard, A., Bates, R., Doecke, B., Kline, J., & Kostogriz, A…. (2012). Studying the effectiveness of teacher education, Curriculum Leadership, 10( 7),1. Moran, A., Kilpatrick, R., Abbott, L., Dallat, J., & Mc Lune, B. (2017). Training to teach: Motivating factors and implications or recruitment. Evaluation and Research in Education, 15(1), 17-32. Gordon, J., Halász, G., Krawczyk, M., Leney, T., Michel, A., Pepper, D., Putkiewicz, E. & Wiśniewski, J. (2009). Key competences in Europe: Opening doors for lifelong learners across the school curriculum and teacher education, (CASE), Warsaw. Richardson, P. W., & Watt, H, M.G. (2010). Current and future directions in teacher motivation research, the decade ahead ,16 (B), In Timothy C. Urdan, Stuart A. Karabenick (Ed.), Applications and contexts of motivation and achievement (advances in motivation and achievement (pp. 139-173), Emerald Group Publishing Limited: UK. Smit, R., Hyry-Beihammer, E.K. & Raggl, A. (2015). "Teaching and learning in small, rural schools in four European countries: Introduction and synthesis of mixed-/multi-age approaches", International Journal of Educational Research, 74, 97-103. Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J.S. (2000). Expectancy-value theory of achievement motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 68-81. White, S., & Reid, J. (2008). Placing teachers? sustaining rural schooling through place-consciousness in teacher education. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 23
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