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Final Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
SYM-08: Motivations, Beliefs and Practices of Preservice Teachers
Time: Wednesday, 29/Aug/2012: 9:00am - 10:30am
Session Chair: Marold Wosnitza, RWTHUniversity Aachen
Discussant: Julianne Turner, University of Notre Dame
Organizer: Caroline Mansfield, Murdoch University
Organizer: Simone Volet, Murdoch University
Organizer: Helen Watt, Monash University
Organizer: Paul W. Richardson, Monash University
Location: 311

Session Abstract

Preservice teachers have become important participants in research regarding teacher and classroom motivation. As individuals embarking on a teacher career, researchers have been interested in their motivations for teaching, their beliefs about motivation in classrooms and how beliefs develop through experiences in teacher education and professional practice. This symposium brings together research from these fields, in two countries and using quantitative and qualitative methods. The first paper explores whether and how secondary and primary/elementary preservice teachers’ motivations for teaching differ, and consequences for their subsequent professional engagement and career development aspirations. The second paper focuses on preservice teachers beliefs about classroom motivation and reports findings from an intervention designed to influence their beliefs about classroom motivation beyond what typically occurs in teacher education programs. The final paper presents a comparative case study of two preservice teachers showing how beliefs and practices related to motivation are co-constructed through teacher education experiences. By bringing together these three papers, the symposium addresses aspects of preservice teachers’ motivation and beliefs about classroom motivation as they move through various ‘spheres’ of becoming professional educators. This symposium will provide avenues for future thinking and research on preservice teachers’ different motivations for teaching and beliefs about classroom motivation.


Do secondary and primary preservice teachers’ motivations differ, and does it matter?

Helen Watt, Paul Richardson

Monash University, Australia

It has long been recognised that the reasons why people choose teaching as a career vary and that these relevant motivations are multidimensional. At the same time, it has been frequently anecdotally asserted that primary and secondary teachers have differing motivations. This paper set out to examine that question, and possible consequences for beginning teachers’ professional engagement. Using the Factors Influencing Teaching Choice (FIT-Choice; Watt & Richardson, 2007) framework, we compared influential motivations, perceptions of teaching, and career choice satisfaction among 1531 first-year preservice teachers (ns = 864 secondary, 667 primary) from three universities in Australia. Preservice primary teachers scored higher on intrinsic and altruistic social utility values, were more satisfied with their career choice, and regarded teaching as higher in social status and salary. In contrast, preservice secondary teachers were more likely to choose teaching as a fallback career, were more motivated by subject specialism interest, regarded teaching as requiring greater expertise, and had experienced greater social dissuasion. Despite clear differences in motivations and perceptions, in fact, most did not imply subsequent differences for longitudinal professional engagement and career development aspirations. Those that did imply targeted strategies for attracting and sustaining secondary vs. primary teachers, including Shape future of children/adolescents and Fallback motivations for secondary, and personal utility motivations Time for family and Job transferability for primary beginning teachers.

Preservice teachers’ developing beliefs about classroom motivation

Caroline Mansfield, Simone Volet

Murdoch University, Australia

Preservice teachers’ beliefs about classroom motivation, and how these beliefs may develop, is a relatively new aspect of enquiry in the field of motivation. Building on findings from a previous study, this paper presents findings from an empirical study involving an intervention designed to influence preservice teachers’ beliefs about classroom motivation beyond what typically occurs in teacher education programs. The intervention involved 53 volunteers who participated in three small group study seminars, which involved guided collaborative activities, reflections and exchange. Data were collected through matched pre and post questionnaires, individual reflections on each seminar and a final individual interview. Findings show that preservice teachers’ views about classroom motivation can be influenced through targeted interventions enabling in-depth reflection and examination of existing beliefs. Specifically, participants’ views of classroom motivation shifted from an emphasis on individual cognitions (such as feeling superior/enjoying competitiveness, appreciating the value of learning, feeling confident to succeed and having good relationships with teachers) to the importance of educational practices (such as activities promoting self-regulated social constructivist learning, activities allowing working with peers and activities making learning fun, provision of extrinsic rewards). These findings have implications for understanding how beliefs may be developed and how teacher educators provide opportunities for preservice teachers to engage in belief development regarding classroom motivation.

This I Believe: Novice teachers’ use of motivation filters in co-constructed worlds

Susan Elizabeth Cooper, Gavin Tierney, Susan Nolen

University of Washington, United States of America

In this paper we present a comparative case study of two novice teachers and their changing use of motivational filters (Nolen, Ward, Horn, Childers, Campbell & Mahna, 2009) to take up certain beliefs and practices related to student motivation. We analyzed how novice teachers’ beliefs about student motivation were co-constructed as they participated in the social worlds of teacher education and teaching. As these novices moved among the different contexts, practices were negotiated and motivation filters changed depending on the affordances and constraints of the social world. The data reported here come from a larger study of novice teachers (Horn, Nolen, Ward, & Campbell, 2008; Nolen, Ward & Horn, 2011; Nolen et al., 2009). For this analysis, we focus on the data from two novice mathematics teachers including11-12 observations and associated interviews across four years. These data include fieldnotes of interactions among novices, between novices and their instructors, supervisors, cooperating teachers, colleagues, and administrators, and observations of their work with students. Results demonstrate how a number of the components novices used in constructing their utility filters to evaluate potential practices also seemed to contribute to their interpretations of their students’ motivation. In particular, as their representation of good math teaching and its goals, their own motivations as learners, and their representations of students changed over time through interaction with others in their figured worlds, novices’ interpretations and beliefs about student motivation also changed.

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