Motivations for Choosing Teaching as a Career: An International Comparison Using the FIT-Choice Scale

Published: 
Aug. 01, 2012

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 28, No. 6 ( August 2012), p. 791-805.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This investigation had two major aims:
1. to examine the utility and validity of the FIT-Choice scale (Watt & Richardson, 2007) for measuring teaching motivations within and across samples and settings;
2. to explore differences in motivations and perceptions related to the teaching profession across the different samples, as first indications of differences among Australian, U.S., German, and Norwegian samples.

Methodology
The authors used the FIT-Choice (Factors Influencing Teaching Choice) scale.
This scale was initially developed and validated in the Australian context; our study applied it across international samples from Australia, the United States, Germany, and Norway.

The participants were primary/elementary and secondary teacher education students from several countries: 1438 students were from Australia; 511 from U.S.; 210 from Germany and 131 from Norway.

Discussion

The findings reveal that the FIT-Choice scale displayed good construct validity and reliability across diverse samples.
Some factors, job transferability and teaching as a fallback career, were not relevant in all settings, pointing to cultural and professional particularities.

Furthermore, the sample comparisons revealed that motivations for teaching were more similar than they were different across these samples.
The highest rated motivations for the choice of a teaching career were consistently intrinsic value, perceived teaching ability, the desire to make a social contribution, to work with children/adolescents, and having had positive prior teaching and learning experiences.

However, the desire for job security, to enhance social equity, and for choosing teaching because of its provision for family time were rated consistently lower across the four settings. Of particular interest to us is the fact that time for family was rated relatively low, although it has frequently been cited as one of the most influential factors to attract people into teaching.
 

In addition, perceptions about the teaching profession tended to reflect country differences. Prospective teachers’ perceptions of teaching salaries across three settings reflected the differences in salary rewards.
The same was true in relation to perceptions of the social status of teachers and the teaching profession.
These task return perceptions exhibited positive relationships with participants’ satisfaction with the choice of a teaching career in the Australian and U.S. samples, but interestingly showed no significant relationships in the German sample.

Reference
H.M.G. Watt, P.W. Richardson. "Motivational factors influencing teaching as a career choice: development and validation of the FIT-Choice scale", Journal of Experimental Education, 75 (2007), pp. 167–202.

Updated: Nov. 05, 2014
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