Chapter 7. Motivations for teaching and relationship to general pedagogical knowledge

Johannes König
University of Cologne, Germany

This chapter reports about research on the relationship between teaching motivations and the general pedagogical knowledge (GPK) of teachers. It focuses on two studies that have been carried out so far to specifically investigate pre-service teachers’ GPK as an outcome of teaching motivations. The presentation will give input to discuss the following questions: What conceptual frameworks have been used to consider the relationship between motivations for teaching and GPK? What do the empirical findings show to explicate the relationship? What could be recommended for future research? The two studies focused on in this presentation have a longitudinal design investigating teaching motivations. To capture GPK, the paper-pencil test developed in the Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M) is used. Teaching motivations are measured using the Factors Influencing Teaching as a Career Choice (FIT-Choice) scale inventory. Implications for future research are discussed.

  

Introduction

Results from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) have challenged empirical educational research asking how the quality of both teachers and teacher education could be improved, due to the empirical evidence that teachers influence outcomes such as student achievement (Hattie, 2009). There is thus a growing body of research related to teacher competence. Following the concept of “competence” as, for instance, outlined by Weinert (2001) in general and specified for the teaching profession by Bromme (1992; 2001), focus is directed to the mastering of professional tasks and reaching important objectives of the teaching profession.

Models of professional competence of teachers postulate both cognitive and affective-motivational elements as relevant for successful mastery of professional tasks (Baumert and Kunter, 2006). Teacher knowledge is regarded as a multidimensional construct, consisting of content knowledge (CK), pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), and general pedagogical knowledge (GPK). Affective-motivational elements are considered to contain various constructs such as teaching motivation, beliefs or self-efficacy.

On a general level, hypotheses about interrelationships exist, for example in the field of motivational psychology, that highly intrinsically motivated people generally outperform less intrinsically motivated people, whereas extrinsic motivation is usually associated with poorer performance and educational outcomes (Baker, 2004). However, very few studies have specifically investigated the interrelationships between relevant cognitive and motivational elements of professional teacher competence (König and Rothland, 2012, 2013).

The aim of this chapter is to report about research on the relationship between motivations for teaching and general pedagogical knowledge (GPK) of teachers. It focuses on two studies that have been carried out so far to specifically investigate pre-service teachers’ GPK as an outcome of teaching motivations (König and Rothland, 2012; König et al., 2013). This chapter will give input to discuss the following questions:

  • Which conceptual frameworks have been used to consider the relationship between motivations for teaching and GPK (e.g. what hypotheses are used)?

  • What do the empirical findings show to explicate the relationship (e.g. to what extent and how are motivation and knowledge connected)?

  • What could be recommended for future research and what implications should be discussed?

The structure of this chapter is as follows: First, the test used in both studies to measure pre-service teachers’ GPK will be outlined, and a summary of relevant empirical findings about that instrument will be given. Second, the framework developed by Watt and Richardson (2007) used in both studies to investigate teaching motivations will be presented. Third, the two studies on the relationship between motivations for teaching and GPK will be presented. While the first study is related to a pre-service teacher sample from one university in Germany, the second study’s data derives from a larger study that has been conducted in three German-speaking countries (Austria, Germany and Switzerland), thus allowing us to include an international-comparative perspective. In the final part, findings are summarised and implications for future research and educational policy are discussed.

General pedagogical knowledge (GPK)

In both studies, student teachers’ general pedagogical knowledge is measured by a paper-and-pencil test instrument (König et al., 2011) that was developed in the “Teacher Education and Development Study – Learning to Teach Mathematics” (TEDS-M) (Tatto et al., 2008; see also Chapter 5 by Blömeke in this volume), therefore this measurement instrument is outlined first.

Conceptual framework - defining GPK

To account for a reliable and valid cognitive measure in the domain of general pedagogy, a paper-and-pencil test measuring general pedagogical knowledge (GPK) of teachers was developed in TEDS-M carried out under the supervision of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) in 2008. TEDS-M is a comparative study of teacher education and was the first international large-scale assessment of pre-service teachers that worked with representative samples. The TEDS-M target population was defined as mathematics teachers for elementary and middle schools in their final year of teacher education, and a central component of TEDS-M was to measure their professional knowledge (Tatto et al., 2012). Cognitive abilities were categorised into three facets: content knowledge (CK), pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), and general pedagogical knowledge (GPK; see, for details, König et al., 2011), which due to reasons of feasibility was examined in only three countries: Germany, Chinese Taipei, and the United States.

The theoretical framework of GPK developed in the context of TEDS-M is structured in a task-based way and related to generic dimensions of teaching quality. Four content-related dimensions of GPK are considered highly relevant allowing teachers to prepare, structure and evaluate lessons (“structure”), to motivate and support students as well as manage the classroom (“motivation/classroom management”), to deal with heterogeneous learning groups in the classroom (“adaptivity”) and to assess students (“assessment”). Additionally, three dimensions of cognitive processes describing the cognitive demands on teachers when dealing with such generic classroom situations were defined based on Anderson and Krathwohl (2001): to retrieve information from long-term memory in order to describe the classroom situation; to understand or analyse a concept, a specific term or a phenomenon outlined; and to generate strategies for how they would solve the problem posed (for more details, see König et al., 2011). Generic dimensions of teaching quality and cognitive demands make up a 4 x 3 matrix which serves as a heuristic for the development of the GPK paper-and-pencil test items (see Figure 7.1).

Figure 7.1. Test design matrix used to measure GPK in TEDS-M
picture

Source: König et al. (2011) “General pedagogical knowledge of future middle school teachers. On the complex ecology of teacher education in the United States, Germany, and Taiwan”, Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 62, pp. 188–201.

Item examples

Two item examples (see Figures 7.2 and 7.3) illustrate the GPK test and the heuristic used to conceptualise GPK (see Figure 7.1). The first item measures knowledge about “motivating” students. Future teachers have to recall basic terminology of achievement motivation (“intrinsic motivation” and “extrinsic motivation”) and they are asked to analyse five statements against the background of this distinction. Statement C represents an example of “intrinsic motivation” whereas A, B, D and E are examples of “extrinsic motivation”.

Figure 7.2. Item example for GPK about “motivation” and “analyse”
picture

Source: König et al., (2011), “General pedagogical knowledge of future middle school teachers. On the complex ecology of teacher education in the United States, Germany, and Taiwan”, Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 62, pp. 188–201

Figure 7.3. Item example for GPK about “structure” and “generate”
picture

Source: König et al., (2011), “General pedagogical knowledge of future middle school teachers. On the complex ecology of teacher education in the United States, Germany, and Taiwan”, Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 62, pp. 188–201

The second item example (see Figure 7.3) is an open-response item. Here, future teachers are asked to support another future teacher and evaluate their lesson. This is a typical challenge during a peer-led teacher education practicum, but practicing teachers are also regularly required to analyse and reflect on their own as well as their colleagues’ lessons. The item measures knowledge of “structuring” lessons. The predominant cognitive process is to “generate” fruitful questions.

For the open-response items, coding rubrics were used. The coding manual developed in TEDS-M is both theoretically and data-based. The codes are intended to be low-inferent, i.e. every response was coded with the least possible amount of inferences by the raters (see for details König et al., 2011). Besides reliable coding schemes, scoring strategies for complex open-response items such as the one shown in Figure 7.4 were used. Illustrating this with the test item shown in Figure 7.4, codes were scored as appropriate if they addressed four criteria: “context” of the lesson (e.g. prior knowledge of students), “input” (e.g. objectives of the lesson), “process” (e.g. teaching methods used), and “output” of the lesson (e.g. student achievement). The extract of an original answer given by a future teacher from the United States in the TEDS-M survey (see Figure 7.4) is a good example for these four criteria (for more details, see König, 2010; 2011).

Figure 7.4. United States’ future teacher’s response to item example 2 in TEDS-M
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Source: König et al., (2011), “General pedagogical knowledge of future middle school teachers. On the complex ecology of teacher education in the United States, Germany, and Taiwan”, Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 62, pp. 188–201

Findings

In TEDS-M 2008, the GPK test was applied in three countries – Germany, Chinese Taipei and the United States. The measurement instrument was validated through expert reviews and confirmatory approaches based on large-scale data from these countries (see for details König et al., 2011; König and Blömeke, 2012).

Since TEDS-M, several follow-up studies have been carried out to apply the GPK paper-and-pencil test again using various samples of pre-service and in-service teachers in Germany, but also in other countries (such as Austria). These studies report good psychometric properties of the GPK test. In accordance with assumptions of the acquisition of teacher expertise, in-service teachers outperform pre-service teachers who are at the end of their initial teacher education (König et al., 2014), and in turn, pre-service teachers at the end of their initial teacher education outperform future teachers just entering initial teacher education (König, 2013).

Another study examined whether higher GPK test scores are associated with higher quality of instruction (König and Pflanzl, 2016). Findings clearly show there is a systematic relationship between teachers’ GPK and aspects concerning the quality of their instruction. The higher a teacher scores in the GPK test, the better he or she is rated by his or her students regarding the instructional quality aspects of teaching methods/teacher clarity, effective classroom management and teacher-student relationships. Correlations are positive, statistically significant and of medium effect size.

To sum up, findings provided by TEDS-M and further studies show that GPK as measured by the TEDS-M test is a relevant construct both for teaching and teacher education. The test provides a measure of knowledge that pre-service teachers acquire during initial teacher education (König, 2013). Also, further evidence shows that this knowledge is a significant factor for instructional quality. Teachers’ GPK therefore can be considered both a dependent variable when the outcome of teacher education programmes is considered and an independent variable when variation in instructional quality is to be explained.

Teaching motivations

The career choice motivation of prospective teachers is considered a significant factor in the admission, progression, and graduation from a teacher education programme as well as an essential premise for motivation and enthusiasm in the teaching profession. Considering pre-service teachers’ motivation is particularly relevant for at least two reasons. Firstly, teaching motivations are described as an important mandatory component of professional teachers. The modelling and empirical analysis of teacher competence therefore involves motivational components, including career choice motivation (cf. Kunter et al., 2008). Secondly, in recent years, worldwide teacher shortages have given rise to studies on motivation for choosing teaching as a career, which is particularly important when explaining why teacher education graduates do not enter the profession or drop out after a short period of time (cf., e.g. Thomson et al., 2012).

Fit-Choice: Factors influencing teaching as a career choice

Founded on expectancy-value theory and the international state of research on future teachers’ motivations for choosing teaching as a career, Watt and Richardson (2007) developed and empirically examined a model with several factors that specifically influence future teachers’ decisions to become a teacher (see Figure 7.5). The main components of the model are self-reports on individual ability related to teaching, individual values, professional beliefs, anticipated advantages, salary, external influences and prior experiences. This model of empirically tested factors provides the basis for its operationalisation into the Fit-Choice scale.

Figure 7.5. Framework specified for choosing teaching as a career
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Source: Watt, H.M.G. and P.W. Richardson (2007), “Motivational factors influencing teaching as a career choice: Development and validation of the FIT-Choice scale”, Journal of Experimental Education, Vol. 75, pp. 151.

The Fit-Choice scale supports research that aims to generate international findings concerning future teachers’ motivations, using a valid and internationally validated instrument that can be linked and systematically contribute to the international discourse (see the APJTE’s [Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education] Special Issue in 2012, Vol. 40, No. 3).

Fit-Choice scale inventory

In the following studies, 52 items of the German translation of the FIT-Choice scale inventory documented by Watt et al. (2014) are applied in order to measure motivation for teaching, perceptions about teaching, and social dissuasion and satisfaction with choice (for a German translation see König and Rothland, 2012). Eleven motivational factors are measured by a total of 34 items that future teachers surveyed had to respond to after the introductory sentence, “I chose to become a teacher because…”. Item response options ranged from 1 (“not at all important”) to 7 (“extremely important”). Four factors of future teachers’ - perceptions about teaching were measured by 13 items with response options from 1 (“not at all”) to 7 (“extremely”) after the introductory sentence, “Do you think . . .”. The factor measuring social dissuasion was operationalised by three items, whereas the factor asking future teachers about their satisfaction with career choice was operationalised by two items with response option from 1 (“not at all”) to 7 (“extremely”) (for details see Richardson and Watt, 2006; Watt and Richardson, 2007; Watt and Richardson, 2012). Findings from confirmatory factor analysis and results on scale reliability provide evidence for the structure of the Fit-Choice scales (Watt et al., 2012; König and Rothland, 2012; König et al., 2013).

Figure 7.6. Item examples of the FIT-Choice scale inventory
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Source: König, J. and M. Rothland (2012), “Motivations for Choosing Teaching as a Career: Effects on General Pedagogical Knowledge during Initial Teacher Education”, Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 40/3, pp. 291–317.

Studies on motivations for teaching and relationship to general pedagogical knowledge

In the following, two studies will be presented that link the measurement of teachers’ GPK via the TEDS-M assessment instrument with the FIT-Choice scale inventory. Whereas the first study by König and Rothland (2012) examines the possible effects that FIT-Choice motivational factors have on the acquisition of GPK of pre-service teachers during initial teacher education, the second study examines the way in which achievement motivation and goal orientations will mediate between motivations for choosing teaching as a career and GPK by König and Rothland (2013).

Study I: GPK as a motivational outcome

In the field of motivational psychology it is well known that highly intrinsically motivated students generally outperform less intrinsically motivated students, whereas extrinsic motivation is usually associated with poorer performance and educational outcomes (Baker, 2004).

Previous studies have contributed evidence that has strengthened this hypothesis (Brouwer and ten Brinke, 1995; Brühwiler, 2001; Mayr, 2009). For example, in a study conducted by Brouwer and ten Brinke (1995), intrinsically motivated pre-service teachers reported higher pedagogical competence than their less intrinsically motivated peers. This difference was even mirrored by teacher educators’ ratings, who reported higher learning gains for intrinsically motivated future teachers than for predominantly extrinsically motivated future teachers.

However, to what extent future teachers’ motivation for choosing teaching correlates with their pedagogical knowledge, and whether it has any influence on knowledge growth during pre-service teacher education, remains an unanswered research question. This is mainly due to research deficits regarding the standardised measurement of GPK (see for details König et al., 2011) as well as the measurement of motivations (Rothland, 2011).

While future teachers’ teaching motivations are likely to be mainly related to the point of time when entering teacher education, it is highly important to examine the extent to which such motivations have an influence on central outcomes of teacher education. For example, future teachers with relatively strong intrinsic teaching motivations, such as being interested in working with children, might make use of teacher education opportunities to learn to a greater extent than their peers who are more motivated by extrinsic factors, such as teachers’ salary. This might lead to differential learning developments of future teachers during initial teacher education, and result in differences in teacher education outcomes such as professional knowledge.

Thus the aim of this study was to investigate possible effects that FIT-Choice motivational factors would have on the acquisition of GPK of pre-service teachers during initial teacher education. The sample consists of student teachers from the University of Erfurt, Germany. Their GPK was measured on two occasions during the academic year 2009/2010 (with an interval of about nine months between t1 and t2). Achievement estimates at the first occasion of measurement were linearly transformed to a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 20, and achievement estimates at the second occasion of measurement were transformed using the same formula, so that estimates could be directly compared. Looking at the descriptive statistics, a large learning gain could be observed. The first measurement (t1) recorded a mean value for future teachers to be 100.0 (SD = 20.0), while on the second occasion of measurement (t2) the mean was nearly one standard deviation higher (M = 117.8, SD = 18.8) indicating a large learning gain within that academic year.

Looking at the bivariate correlations between the FIT-Choice scale and GPK, we generally saw that motivations and knowledge were not very closely connected (see Table 7.1). The clearest correlations were between the highest motivation “work with children” and knowledge, on both occasions of measurement. Especially with r = .28 at t1, we considered it substantial. Interestingly, the subscales “perceived teaching ability” and “intrinsic value” seemed to be increasingly correlated with knowledge, since both were significantly correlated at t2 but not at t1. Moreover, the two extrinsic motivations “job security” and “salary”, as well as the motivation of selecting a teaching career as “fallback”, were negatively correlated with knowledge at t1: Future teachers who were extrinsically motivated and regarded teaching as a fallback career, were outperformed by their fellow future teachers who were less extrinsically motivated and agreed less with the fallback subscale. However, it was most interesting to observe that the job security motivation showed a significant effect on the learning gain between the two occasions of measurement, whereas the other scales did not.

Table 7.1. Bivariate Correlations between FIT-Choice Scales and GPK

n = 130

t1

t2

Difference (t2 – t1)

Motivations for teaching

1. Perceived teaching abilities

.15

.17*

.02

2. Intrinsic value

.11

.19*

.07

3. Fallback

-.17*

-.12

.11

4. Job security

-.21*

-.04

.18*

5. Time for family

-.03

-.06

-.02

6. Shape future of children/adolescents

-.05

.08

.13

7. Enhance social equity

-.16

-.02

.14

8. Make social contribution

-.05

.11

.15

9. Work with children/adolescents

.28*

.23*

-.07

10. Prior teaching and learning experiences

-.16

-.09

.07

11. Social influences

-.11

.05

.15

Perceptions about teaching

1. Expert career

-.03

.08

.11

2. High demand

-.06

.07

.13

3. Social status

-.05

.07

.12

4. Salary

-.20*

-.12

.08

5. Social dissuasion

-.02

.04

.05

6. Satisfaction

-.06

.03

.08

* p < .05

Source: König, J. and M. Rothland (2012), “Motivations for Choosing Teaching as a Career: Effects on General Pedagogical Knowledge during Initial Teacher Education”, Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 40/3, pp. 291–317.

Study II: a mediation model to describe GPK as a motivational outcome

To better understand the connection between knowledge and motivation, the effects of the FIT-Choice motivational factors on GPK were investigated in Study II using a mediation model in which achievement motivation and goal orientations mediate between motivations for choosing teaching as a career and GPK.

We started this study with the conception that the acquisition of professional knowledge in initial teacher education is influenced by numerous factors (Reynolds and Walberg, 1993) and that learning and achievement motivation are central factors that predict attainment (Schiefele and Urhahne, 2000). When the relationship between motivation and knowledge was questioned, our rationale behind this was to distinguish between direct and indirect motivational effects. Direct effects are exemplified by learning behaviour such as time on task. Indirect effects are mediated by educational decisions such as selecting an educational programme or course (Schiefele, 2009). So motivations for choosing teaching as a career can be considered as having indirect motivational effects on attainment during initial teacher education. For example pre-service teachers acquire teacher professional knowledge during training because that knowledge acquisition is linked with immediate and long-term consequences. Not acquiring the knowledge that is required by a teacher education programme means a pre-service teacher will not pass their exam and thus will not become a teacher. But this leads us to question whether there are other motivational factors that have direct effects on teachers’ professional knowledge.

Following classic achievement motivation theory, activity in achievement settings may be oriented towards the attainment of success or the avoidance of failure. The hope for success is related to a person‘s striving for successful performance through ambitious goals and the willingness to reach such goals through effort and persistence, whereas, by contrast, fear of failure is related to a person’s feeling of shame towards his or her failure thus also leading to his or her avoidance of performance situations (Brunstein and Heckhausen, 2006). In Figure 7.7, item examples of the Achievement Motive Scale (AMS) are provided to illustrate aspects of the two motives. The AMS is an instrument measuring the hope for success and the fear of failure that is also used in our study and thus in the following analysis.

Figure 7.7. Item examples of the Achievement Motive Scale (AMS) measuring the two motives “hope for success” and “fear of failure”
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In addition, researchers have identified goal orientations related to learning, effort, and improvement such as learning goals (Dweck and Legett, 1988; 256), describing the learner’s goal “to increase (. . .)[his or her] competence” when doing an academic task. And they have identified goal orientations related to performance goals (Andermann et al., 2002). According to Elliot and Harackiewicz (1996), performance goals can be differentiated into performance-approach goals and performance-avoidance goals. “Approach-type performance goals involve the goal of demonstrating one’s competence relative to others; individuals with these goals are interested in demonstrating their ability relative to others. In contrast, avoidance-type performance goals involve the goal of avoiding looking incompetent at a task” (Andermann et al., 2002: 200). Although there are more differentiations of terms used to describe goal orientations (see Andermann et al., 2002, for further details), learning goals, performance-approach goals, and performance-avoidance goals make up a trichotomous framework (Elliot and Church, 1997; Spinath, 2009). They are frequently used, and therefore applied in our study. Again, to illustrate aspects of the three goals, item examples are provided in Figure 7.8 of SELLMO-ST1 , a German measurement instrument we use in our study to analyse future teachers’ goal orientations.

Figure 7.8. Item examples of the SELLMO-ST measuring the three goal orientations
picture

Elliot and colleagues have developed a framework that integrates classic achievement motivation with the goal orientation concept (Elliot, 1997; Elliot and Church, 1997). In their hierarchical motivation model, goal orientations are described as concrete representations of classic achievement motivation (Elliot and Church, 1997) and are regarded as cognitive manifestations of achievement motivation (cf. Robbins et al., 2004). Thus the motives “hope for success” and “fear of failure” represent higher order motivational constructs, whereas achievement goals represent midlevel motivational surrogates. One might assume that learning goal orientation should be predicted by the achievement “hope for success” motive and performance avoidances by the “fear of failure” motive (Spinath, 2009). Hope for success and fear of failure can be regarded as distal influential factors that generally influence relevant goals and, moreover, indirectly impact achievement-relevant outcomes (Brunstein and Heckhausen, 2010). However, it remains an open question how achievement motivation, goal orientation and academic attainment can be related to other motivational constructs such as teaching motivation.

Following these concepts, we assumed in our research model that at least a selection of pre-service teachers’ motivations for choosing teaching as a career have an influence on achievement motivation and goal orientation, which in turn predict professional knowledge and its acquisition during initial teacher education. As a selection, we chose two teaching motivation scales that seemed to be relevant: intrinsic value and choosing teaching as fallback career.

Figure 7.9 shows a corresponding research model, with which we hypothesised positive (+) and negative effects (–). We assumed that pre-service teachers who choose teaching mainly as a fallback career and report little intrinsic value will have lower GPK (Hypothesis 1), whereby we also assumed these teaching motivations would not have a direct effect on pre-service teachers’ attainment. They are regarded as distal motivational factors that in turn influence motivational factors that are proximal to learning outcomes such as professional knowledge that is trained and acquired during teacher education.

Figure 7.9. Hypothesised effects between teaching motivation, achievement motivation, goal orientation, and teacher knowledge
picture

Abbreviations:

teaching motivations: intrinsic value (IV), fallback (FB);

achievement motivation: hope for success (HS), fear of failure (FF);

goal orientation: learning goal (LG), performance approach (PAp), performance avoidance (PAv).

Following the hierarchical model by Elliot and Church (1997), achievement motivation and goal orientations will mediate between motivations for choosing teaching as a career and GPK. We assume that the learning goal orientation has a particularly positive, direct effect on GPK (cf. Fasching et al., 2010), while it can be predicted directly by the hope for success motive, as well as indirectly by the intrinsic value teaching motivation (Hypothesis 2). Similarly, we assumed that choosing teaching as a fallback career would have a negative effect on a future teacher’s motivation to succeed, therefore we marked this with a negative path related to the hope for success and a positive path related to the fear of failure achievement motivation. However, since there might also be future teachers who, although having chosen teaching as a fallback career, may be motivated to succeed, we assume only slight negative effects on the achievement motivation of hope for success. Since research studies show learning goal orientation is not influenced by fear of failure and in turn performance avoidance is not influenced by hope for success (see Elliot and Church, 1997; Spinath et al. 2002), these correlations seemed obsolete to mark in the model.

In this study we used a much larger sample of 6 601 pre-service teachers who started teacher education in winter term 2011, from 31 universities/teacher training colleges in the German-speaking countries (Austria, Germany, Switzerland). They represent a population of nearly 50,000 pre-service teachers at the beginning of their teacher education (see for details König et al., 2013).2 As outlined before, in addition to the FIT-Choice scale (Watt and Richardson, 2007) and the TEDS-M GPK test, we measured general achievement motivation with the AMS (Gjesme and Nygard, 1970, see item examples in Figure 7.7) and goal orientation related to university studies by the SELLMO-ST (Spinath et al., 2002, see item examples in Figure 7.8). We expected similar findings for samples from the three German-speaking countries due to similar cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

As the findings from a correlational analysis with a good model fit (χ2/df = 2.22, CFI = .923, RMSEA = .024, SRMR = .039) show, at the start of teacher education, motivations for choosing teaching as a career and GPK were only loosely inter-correlated (see Table 7.2). However, the directions of correlations were as expected by Hypothesis 1: Future teachers’ motivation to choose teaching as a fallback career is negatively correlated, whereas intrinsic value and perceived teaching abilities is positively correlated with their GPK. This correlation pattern is clearly visible in the Austrian and the German sample, but comparatively vague in the Swiss sample. Moreover, in Austria and Germany, inter-correlations are statistically significant (p < .05), however they are relatively low (≤ .15).

Table 7.2. Intercorrelations between motivational variables and general pedagogical knowledge

General Pedagogical Knowledge (GPK)

Germany

Austria

Switzerland

Teaching motivations (FIT-Choice)

1. Perceived teaching abilities

.07**

.14**

-.04

2. Intrinsic value

.06*

.15**

-.08

3. Fallback

-.08*

-.14*

.03

4. Job security

-.01

-.06

.04

5. Time for family

.00

-.03

.04

6. Shape future

.05#

-.01

.01

7. Enhance social equity

-.02

.02

-.06

8. Make social contribution

.03

.02

-.06

9. Work with children/adolescents

.05*

.05

-.01

10. Prior teaching and learning experiences

.01

-.05

-.02

11. Social influences

.04

-.06

-.08

Achievement Motive Scale (AMS)

13. Hope of success

.05

.12*

-.01

14. Fear of failure

-.01

-.10*

-.08

Goal Orientation (SELLMO-ST)

15. Learning goals

.13***

.15**

.10#

16. Performance-approach goals

.04

-.03

.05

17. Performance-avoidance goals

-.02

-.10*

-.05

*** p < .001, ** p < .01, * p < .05, # p < .1.

Findings from path analysis show that assumptions outlined by Hypothesis 2 were generally supported. As can be seen in Figure 7.10, for the Austrian and the German sample, the learning goal orientation functions as a mediator between the achievement hope for success motive (which is predicted by intrinsic value teaching motivation) and pre-service teachers’ GPK. For the Swiss sample, performance-approach and performance-avoidance orientations function as a mediator between the achievement motive fear of failure (which is predicted by the motivation to choose teaching as a fallback). A possible explanation could be that in Switzerland, different cultural connotations are associated with the teaching profession with the consequence that those who decide to enter a teacher education program already have specific goal orientations that differ from those pre-service teachers have in Austria or Germany. To conclude, for each of the three countries, goal orientations have a mediating function. By contrast, path coefficients measuring direct effects of teaching motivation on GPK are not statistically significant (see additional dotted lines in Figure 7.11).

Figure 7.10. Teaching motivation effects on GPK, mediated by achievement motivation and goal orientation
without direct path coefficients
picture

Note: Results from path analysis (χ2/df = 2.53, CFI = .915, RMSEA = .026, SRMR = .046) for Austria/Germany/Switzerland; bold coefficients: * p ≤ .05; italic coefficients: p ≤ .10; dotted line: all coefficients are p > .10; Abbreviations: IV – Intrinsic Value, FB – Fallback; HS – hope of success; FF – fear of failure; LG – learning goals; PAp – performance-approach goals; PAv – performance-avoidance goals.

Figure 7.11. Teaching motivation effects on GPK, mediated by achievement motivation and goal orientation (with direct path coefficients)
picture

Note: Results from path analysis (χ2/df = 2.54, CFI = .915, RMSEA = .026, SRMR = .046) for Austria/Germany/Switzerland; bold coefficients: * p ≤ .05; italic coefficients: p ≤ .10; dotted line: all coefficients are p > .10; Abbreviations: IV – Intrinsic Value, FB – Fallback; HS – hope of success; FF – fear of failure; LG – learning goals; PAp – performance-approach goals; PAv – performance-avoidance goals.

Discussion

Findings on GPK as measured via the TEDS-M instrument contribute to the theoretical and empirical research base in the area of teacher knowledge. As a core variable of teaching and teacher education, findings show GPK is relevant for providing high quality opportunities to learn for students (König and Pflanzl, submitted).

Moreover, findings have policy implications for initial teacher education and professional development. As teaching motivations influence student teachers’ knowledge acquisition during initial teacher education, obviously there are ways to address future teachers’ development.

Findings from the study presented here contribute to the discourse insofar as in Germany (Rothland, 2011) and also internationally (Farkas, Johnson and Foleno, 2000; Wadsworth, 2001) the impression that only those who choose teaching as a career because of intrinsic or altruistic motivations may become a “good teacher”, whereas pragmatic motivations are less appreciated. Compared with other professions where job security, a comfortable salary, or arranging time for family are ordinary needs that are widely accepted in society, future teachers’ possible motivations are often evaluated differently. The findings from the first study presented here lead to the conclusion that future teachers in Germany also make use of these extrinsic motivations. Therefore, one may recommend that the current highly normative debate should be extended by pragmatic views on motivations that future teachers actually have.

With the comparative research of the second study, international research with the FIT-Choice scale was extended to the context of German-speaking countries. The study gives insight into the predictive validity of the FIT-Choice scale when related to other motivational constructs as well as GPK, and – for the first time – supports the hierarchical motivational model developed by Elliot (1997) among samples of future teachers. Especially with regards to study II, our continuing longitudinal work will enable examining growth in GPK as a motivational outcome, which should be more heavily influenced by motivation factors, than GPK at entry to teacher education.

Currently we have collected an additional set of data on a second occasion allowing us to continue our work. First findings show there is a large learning gain of future teachers’ GPK in the course of their first two years of initial teacher education not only in Germany, but also in Austria (König and Klemenz, 2015). In addition to TEDS-M findings on GPK from an international-comparative perspective built on samples of pre-service teachers from Germany, Chinese Taipei, and the United States, and (König et al., 2011), findings from our longitudinal analyses allow important insights into the effectiveness of initial teacher education in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. How such knowledge growth depends on teaching motivations is still an issue to be examined. Empirical findings will be available in the near future (see König and Rothland, forthcoming).

Recommendations for future research

Teacher competence is a multidimensional construct. If teacher knowledge is examined, teaching motivations, but also other psychological constructs such as teacher beliefs (compare König, 2012) should be taken into account. Also, little is known about the actual effects of teaching motivations or the interplay of knowledge and motivation for providing high opportunities to learn to students and student achievement. Compared with the broad normative discourse about the “good” teacher, what a teacher should know, be able to do and be motivated for, it seems that future research should seriously account for an examination of the relationship between motivation and teaching.

Implication of policy

Motivations for teaching result in participation in a teacher education programme, therefore they can be regarded as a “first step in becoming a teacher” (Sinclair, 2008: 81), and they are most important at the start of teacher training. Teaching motivations are essential when looking at those who choose teaching as a career (Rothland, 2011). Career choice motivation of prospective teachers is supposed to be a significant factor not only in the admission to, but also in the progression through a teacher education programmes (König and Rothland, 2012). As future teachers proceed through these teacher education programme, their teaching motivations may change. While pursuing their career paths, future teachers may subsequently be distanced from some of their previous motivations (König et al., 2016) and possibly other motivations may come into the foreground.

The closer future teachers get to professional life, the more important ordinary working conditions such as salary, time for family and job security might be for them, especially as they age during their years spent in teacher education programmes, and thus start to incorporate other developmental tasks such as raising a family. Here it remains an open though very important research question as to whether extrinsic motivations might slightly replace previous intrinsic ones. As a consequence, currently it is very difficult to decide which teaching motivations or specific constellation of teaching motivations should be possessed by a beginning pre-service teacher. For example, research studies such as our study I, in which extrinsic motivations fostered GPK growth, do not come to the clear conclusion that intrinsic teaching motivations of beginning pre-service teachers are always better for their professional development than extrinsic motivations (see also Wilhelm, Dewhurst-Savellis and Parker, 2000). In the case of our study I, extrinsic motivation of having a secure job and therefore motivating people to become a teacher can be considered a superior goal of future teachers. Pursuing this goal during initial teacher education leads them to acquire professional knowledge.

Although initial teacher education perhaps mainly intends to foster academic achievement such as pedagogical knowledge (König, 2013), it also intends that those who have already decided to enter initial teacher education do not give up their motivation for the teaching profession. This is, at least, true when looking at teaching motivations that contribute to the general idea of a “good” teacher: Hardly anyone favors a teacher who is not very motivated to work with children or adolescents, who does not like teaching in general, or teaching his/her subjects. These intrinsic teaching motivations and altruistic or social motivations are believed to be important both to enter and graduate from initial teacher education (Brookhart and Freeman, 1992), and there is empirical evidence that they can be important for the professional development of teachers. But it is still an open question as to how to foster “good” teaching motivations during initial teacher education and how to keep teacher candidates who have the potential to become highly qualified teachers.

In Germany, there is evidence from student teacher surveys that student teachers often criticise initial teacher education for the missing link between theory and practice (Hascher, 2011). In TEDS-M, there was no country such as Germany in which future teachers reported extremely little coherence of their initial teacher education (Hsieh et al., 2011), and it is unclear whether these finding are associated with the right levers to increase the quality of initial teacher education in order to attract young people to the teaching profession. Again, future research should work on such issues. Our research on these questions (see König et al., 2016) shows that in-school opportunities to learn are an important element during initial teacher education that may lead to changes of teaching motivations.

Deciding what the teaching motivations of beginning future teachers should be is also difficult, since these motivations may only partly (or even not at all) influence academic achievement during initial teacher education, whereas other motivations such as achievement motives and goal orientations come to the forefront as findings from our study II show. Therefore, when discussing the vocation-related motivation of teachers, their achievement motivations related to academic expectations in teacher education should also be taken into account. This is especially important when the acquisition of teacher knowledge is focused on and related to specific motivations that lead to the successful acquisition of professional knowledge in the academic setting, such as in university or teacher training college. Findings from our study II have clearly shown that, as hypothesised, learning and achievement motivation are proximal measures for GPK, whereas teaching motivations are a more general construct to predict future teachers’ GPK (see, for longitudinal analyses, also König and Rothland, forthcoming).

Regarding pedagogical knowledge as assessed in our studies, one may say that pre-service teachers might have attained GPK even before entering teacher education, for example, following Lortie’s notion of the “apprenticeship of observation” (Lortie, 1975: 61) as a result of their socialisation as a student in school they attended for many years. As early as the beginning of initial teacher education in the German-speaking countries (Austria, Germany and Switzerland), we see substantial variation of pedagogical knowledge among those who have decided to become a teacher, which means that some of the beginning pre-service teachers perform well in the GPK test, whereas others do not.

From further analysis we know that such knowledge is associated with pedagogical experience gained before entering initial teacher education, e.g. by giving private lessons, working with children, or even working at school as a teaching assistant (König, Tachtsoglou and Seifert, 2012; König et al., 2013). Then, for example, it is interesting to see that there is a substantial group of beginning teachers who report (and think) they have good teaching abilities, but who have never worked with children (i.e. have never given a private lesson, never babysat etc.). Again, it is difficult to judge which learning experiences beginning teachers should have when entering initial teacher education. However, such cognitive heterogeneity at the start of initial teacher education implies – similarly to the setting at schools – that initial teacher education and possibly professional development of teachers should account for the diversity pre-service and in-service teachers bring with them into the institutional setting of teacher training (König and Herzmann, 2011).

Finally, in a time of globalisation, when the discourse on teacher education and the definition of what pre-service teachers have to know and be able to do are no longer limited to institutional, regional or national boundaries (OECD, 2005, 2009; Schleicher, 2011; Townsend and Bates, 2007), it seems to be essential to clarify such problems from a comparative perspective. As with TEDS-M or the study II presented here, one can recognise the added value of such comparisons. Future research on teaching and teacher education should master such challenges in order to bring about new insights into the relationship between motivation and knowledge of teachers.

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Notes

← 1. SELLMO-ST is an Abbreviation for „Skalen zur Erfassung der Lern- und LeistungsMOtivation “which has been translated with „Learning and Achievement Motivation Scales”. The ST only stands for one type of scale. More precisely it indicates the time allocation for the test: ST = 8 minutes and 33 item numbers versus S = 8 minutes and 31 item numbers.

← 2. The data derives from the project “Development of Teaching Motivations and the Acquisition of Pedagogical Knowledge during Initial Teacher Education” (Entwicklung von berufsspezifischer Motivation und pädagogischem Wissen in der Lehrerausbildung, EMW), which is a longitudinal and comparative study in the German-speaking countries led by Prof. Dr. Johannes König (University of Cologne, Germany) and Prof. Dr. Martin Rothland (University Siegen, Germany) and funded by Rhein-Energie Foundation (W-13-2-003 and W-15-2-003).