Why teaching career? An exploratory study of career entry motivations of Indian preservice teachers

Year: 2018

Author: George, Sindu

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The FIT-Choice Scale (Watt & Richardson, 2007) was designed and validated to compare measures of teacher motivations internationally. Grounded in Expectancy-Value Theory (Eccles et al., 1983; Eccles, 2005, 2009), recent work has established that initial teaching career choice motivations can be reliably measured. A focus of recent literature concerns who enters teacher training programs and why examined from a psychological perspective (e.g., Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education Special Issue, 2012).
Teacher motivations are studied in a range of contexts to compare and contrast the impact of salient cultural features. A cross-cultural examination of teaching motivations found similar teaching motivations in samples from Australia, Germany, the United States, and Norway (Watt et al., 2012). In Australia, the highest-rated entry motivations for teachers included perceptions of suited abilities, interest and enjoyment of teaching, positive prior teaching and learning experiences, and altruistic factors (making a social contribution, enhancing social equity, and work with youth; Richardson & Watt, 2006). U.S. pre-service teachers reported higher motivations in social utility values, teaching abilities, intrinsic career value, and prior teaching and learning experiences, while teachers in China reported higher fallback career motivations (Lin, Shi, Wang, Zhang, & Hui, 2012).
Few studies have investigated the entry motivations of teachers in the Indian context. Preliminary findings from my study conducted in 2016-17 using the FIT-Choice Scale found Indian participants (N = 522) rated highest on prior teaching and learning experiences, followed by intrinsic career values, and altruistic factors (making social contribution, enhance social equity, work with children)—similar to Australia and the U.S.—and lowest on time for family and fallback career. While no gender differences were found in the Australian sample, there were significant gender differences identified among Indian participants. Males rated fallback career and social dissuasion higher, further emphasising the impact of culture on career choice motivations. The study was conducted during a period of significant teacher education programme reform in India in terms of the duration, design, and curriculum adding to the significance of findings on preservice teachers’ entry motivations.