The Preparation of Highly Motivated and Professionally Competent Teachers in Initial Teacher Education

From Section:
Theories & Approaches
Hong Kong
May. 15, 2015

Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, Vol. 41, No. 2, 128-144, 2015
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study examines the relationship between different types of teaching motivation and (1) various facets of professional competence and (2) planned engagement in future teaching.

The context of the study is the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) Programme in the Hong Kong Institute of Education.
One hundred and thirty-two student teachers of a postgraduate diploma in education programme participated in the quantitative survey of whom seven were interviewed.


The findings show the positive association between ‘intrinsic–altruistic motivation constellation’ and selected facets of professional competence.
Two major professional orientations of the ‘intrinsic–altruistic motivation constellation’ were identified: (1) student-centred orientation and (2) subject-centred orientation.
Student teachers who appreciate teaching because of the variety of interesting tasks it involves are also the ones who perceive themselves as competent in teachers’ broadened and deepened roles and responsibilities. Taken together, the quantitative findings highlight the value of looking at the ‘intrinsic–altruistic motivation constellation’.

In addition, three types of professional development aspirations are identified: ‘classroom engaged careerists’, ‘highly engaged persisters’ and ‘pessimists’.
The distinction between ‘classroom engaged careerists’, ‘highly engaged persisters’ and ‘pessimists’ points to the importance of examining how student teachers’ expectations, goals and plans might be shaped by the objective conditions of the teaching job market. As illustrated in the three cases of ‘pessimists’, a stringent job market may shape student teachers’ choice of fallback career that go together with the ‘intrinsic–altruistic motivation constellation’.


The findings have significant implications for teacher education.
First, teacher educators need to be aware that student teachers bear different motivation constellations, and there may be a mix of student teachers with student-centred and subject-centred orientations among those with ‘intrinsic–altruistic motivation constellation’.
Second, the differentiation between ‘classroom engaged careerists’ and ‘highly engaged persisters’ provides a useful insight for school management. Fostering supportive conditions for ‘classroom engaged careerists’ to work effectively with, and make a difference to, the lives of children or adolescents with whom they are in daily contact in classrooms will help sustain their enthusiasm in teaching, whereas creating career advancement opportunities for ‘highly engaged persisters’ keep those talents in the education field.
Finally, there is a need to provide support to ‘pessimists’ in the face of the stringent job market. These student teachers may need support in career counselling, such that they may come to a decision related to their future engagement in teaching well before they graduate.

Updated: Nov. 13, 2019
Initial teacher education | Student motivation | Student teachers | Teacher competencies | Teacher persistence