Type of Document Dissertation Author Pop, Margareta Maria Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-04072008-124838 Title "Teaching in the Eyes of Beholders": Preservice Teachers' Reasons for Teaching and their Beliefs about Teaching Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Jeannine E. Turner Committee Chair Alysia Roehrig Committee Member John Keller Committee Member Stacey Rutledge Committee Member Keywords
- Teacher Education
Date of Defense 2007-11-05 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe purpose of the present study was to investigate Preservice Teachersí (PT) reasons for teaching and their beliefs about teaching. Specific reasons of PTs for entering the teaching career, and typologies (clusters) of PTs based on their reasons for teaching were investigated. Further, across the clusters of PTs, their beliefs about teaching were examined, in the context of PTsí understanding of their goals to become teachers.
Mixed methods were used for data collection: survey and interviews. Participants were undergraduate students enrolled in the EDF 4210 Educational Psychology and EDF 4430 Classroom Assessment courses for the Spring semester 2007. The study was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, 215 participants completed a survey about PTsí demographic data, PTsí reasons for teaching and their beliefs about teaching. An initial quantitative analysis of participantsí responses for the Reasons for Teaching Questionnaire (RTQ) was made using factor analysis and cluster analysis to establish groups/clusters of individuals displaying similar patterns regarding their reasons for teaching. For the second phase of the study, a selected number of participants (n=25) from the three clusters were recruited for an in-depth interview. The purpose of the interviews was to explore more deeply PTsí understanding of their goal to become a teacher, as well as similarities and differences across the clusters.
Overall, the study results indicated a variety of reasons for teaching and beliefs about teaching expressed by PTs in their survey and interview responses. Survey results indicated six main categories of reasons (i.e., factors) as influential to PTsí career choices. These were reasons related to PTsí identity issues, reasons related to PTsí subject matter, reasons related to PTsí meaningful relationships, reasons related to the teaching job benefits, reasons related to PTsí holistic views of profession and reasons related to job opportunities through teaching. Three different clusters of PTs were obtained by conducting a cluster analysis, and specific reasons were found to be relevant for each cluster as related to their teaching career choices. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and post hoc tests, conducted to further explore the differences across clusters of PTs regarding their beliefs about schooling and beliefs about the teaching career, showed significant differences across the three clusters of PTs. The interview results provided more support to understanding the interplay among PTsí motivation and beliefs about teaching in the context of their understanding of the teaching goal development. A grounded theory model was developed to represent PTsí understanding of their teaching goal development as related to four major categories: Motivators, Beliefs, Context, and Strategies.
Results from this study showed that PTsí understanding of their goal development was related to different types (or combination) of motivators for teaching, specific beliefs about the teaching career, all these applied to a specific context (i.e., past school experiences, emotions etc). How PTs perceived themselves as teachers, and how they perceived teaching represented a major influence in their career choices. Research from this area can bring a significant contribution to understanding PTsí beliefs in connection with their reasons for teaching as related to their attitudes toward teaching and their future professional practices. From this perspective, the issue of teacher education quality programs can be addressed, and stress the importance of studying PTsí views of teaching as related to their future instructional practices. Findings from such research may also bring a contribution to understanding motivational aspects for continuing teaching and job satisfaction, and indirectly may provide support to understanding various teacher attrition issues.
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