Applying Self-Determination Theory To Understand The Motivation For Becoming A Physical Education Teacher

Jan. 07, 2009

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 25, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 190-197
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study explored the reasons people choose physical education teaching as a profession and investigated the relationship of these choices with motivation.
Specifically, this study aims to: (1) identify the social and psychological mediators behind student choices for becoming a physical education teacher; (2) explore the relationship of social factors and psychological mediators to motivation; (3) identify which factors are the strongest predictor for motivation; and (4) examine the motivational difference between gender, year levels, second teaching method, and course entry. A second teaching method refers to the alternative teaching disciplines other than physical education that a pre-service teacher is training in and includes English, health, information technology, mathematics, science, or society and environment


324 Physical education pre-service teachers completed the Academic Motivation Scale (AMS) and a measure of reasons for choosing physical education teaching.
158 (49.1%) male and 164 (50.9%) female respondents aged between 18 and 38 years (20.56 ± 2.2). When separated by year level, 99 (30.8%) were first year, 90 (28.0%) were second year, 72 (22.4%) were third year, and 60 (18.7%) were fourth year students. As a component of the BEPE degree these students were required to select a second teaching method from one of six options: English (n = 46; 14.6%), health (n = 91; 28.8%), information technology (n = 24; 7.6%), mathematics (n = 58; 18.4%), science (n = 58; 18.4%), and studies of society and environment (SOSE: n = 39; 12.3%).
The majority of students entered the course directly from high school (n = 193; 60.3%).
Other students had taken a 1 or 2-year gap since completing high school (n = 70; 12.9%), transferred from another university course (n = 23; 7.2%), or were mature age or career change students (n = 27; 8.4%) before entering the course. Seven students (2.2%) did not fit these categories.

Confident interpersonal service reasons were linked with intrinsic motivation; whereas sport and physical activity reasons were related to extrinsic motivation. Enrolling because teaching seemed easy was linked with amotivation. Motivation was similar for different course entry methods, however, females were more intrinsically motivated than males and third year students were lower in motivation than other year levels.

Updated: Jan. 15, 2009