Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 2
  • Print publication year: 2017
  • Online publication date: September 2017

Chapter 12 - Divided by Discipline?



The motivational profiles, perceptions about teaching, and background demographic characteristics of beginning English and Mathematics teachers were compared within an Australian sample, from the start of their teacher education studies (NT1 = 325; 213 English) until early career teaching (NT2 = 132; 89 English). Beginning Mathematics teachers tended to be older, to study through graduate-entry mode, were less likely to have chosen teaching as their first career, and more likely to have parents who worked in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. Relative to beginning English teachers, there was a higher proportion from non-English speaking and less advantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. Preservice English teachers tended to have parents who worked in education, were more highly motivated to enhance social equity, less motivated to teach as a “fallback” career, and regarded teaching as more demanding. From initial teacher education until early career teaching, the only significant change was that perceptions of teaching demand increased for beginning English and Mathematics teachers; overall, there were more similarities than differences between the motivations and perceptions of beginning English and Mathematics teachers.

Ainley, J., Kos, J. & Nicholas, M. (2008). Participation in Science, Mathematics and Technology in Australian Education (ACER Research Monographs). Melbourne: ACER. Available at
Andrews, P. & Hatch, G. (2002). Initial motivations of serving teachers of secondary mathematics. Evaluation and Research in Education, 14(4), 185201.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2002). Australian Social Trends. Available at (accessed May 2003).
Australian Industry Group (2013). Lifting our Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Skills. Available at (accessed 2 October 2014).
Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (2013). Initial Teacher Education Data Report. Melbourne: AITSL. Available at (accessed 13 March 2016).
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control. New York: W.H. Freeman.
Bridgeman, B. & Wendler, C. (1991). Gender differences in predictors of college mathematics performance and in college mathematics course grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 275–84.
Brookhart, S. M. & Freeman, D. J. (1992). Characteristics of entering teacher candidates. Review of Educational Research, 62(1), 3760 (
Denzler, S. & Wolter, S. C. (2009). Sorting into teacher education: how the institutional setting matters. Cambridge Journal of Education, 39(4), 423–41.
Department of Education and Training Victoria (2013). English as an Additional Language in Victorian Government Schools 2013. Canberra: Victorian State Government. Available at (accessed 13 March 2016).
Donald, J. G. (2002). Learning to Think: Disciplinary Perspectives. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Dow, K. L. (2003). Australia’s Teachers: Australia’s Future. Advancing Innovation, Science, Technology and Mathematics. Main Report. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.
Eccles (Parsons), J., Adler, T. F., Futterman, R., Goff, S. B., Kaczala, C. M. et al. (1983). Expectancies, values, and academic behaviors. In Spence, J. T. (ed.), Achievement and Achievement Motives (pp. 75146). San Francisco: W.H. Freeman.
Eccles, J. S., Wigfield, A., Harold, R. D. & Blumenfeld, P. (1993). Age and gender differences in children’s self-talk and task perceptions during elementary school. Child Development, 64, 830–47.
Ellis, V. (2003). The love that dare not speak its name? The constitution of the English subject and beginning teachers’ motivations to teach it. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 2(1), 314.
Fantilli, R. D. & McDougall, D. E. (2009). A study of novice teachers: challenges and supports in the first years. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(6), 814–25. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2009.02.021
Fredricks, J. A. & Eccles, J. S. (2002). Children’s competence and value beliefs from childhood through adolescence: growth trajectories in two male-sex-types domains. Developmental Psychology, 38, 519–33.
Guarino, C. M., Santibañez, L. & Daley, G. A. (2006). Teacher recruitment and retention: a review of the recent empirical literature. Review of Educational Research, 76(2), 173208.
Hammond, M. (2002). Why teach? A case study investigating the decision to train to teach ICT. Journal of Education for Teaching, 28(2), 135–48.
Harris, K.-L., Jensz, F. & Baldwin, G. (2005). Who’s Teaching Science? Meeting the Demand for Qualified Science Teachers in Australian Secondary Schools. Melbourne: Centre for the Study of Higher Education.
Heller, K. A. & Parsons, J. E. (1981). Sex differences in teachers’ evaluative feedback and students’ expectancies for success in mathematics. Child Development, 52, 1015–19.
Horn, I. S. (2005). Learning on the job: a situated account of teacher learning in high school mathematics departments. Cognition and Instruction, 23(2), 207–36.
Kılınç, A., Watt, H. M. G. & Richardson, P. W. (2012). Factors influencing teaching choice in Turkey. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 40(3), 199226.
Kleickmann, T., Richter, D., Kunter, M., Elsner, J., Besser, M. et al. (2013). Teachers’ content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge the role of structural differences in teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 64(1), 90106.
Leder, G. & Forgasz, H. (1992). Gender: a critical variable in mathematics education. In Atweh, B. & Watson, J. (eds.), Research in Mathematics Education in Australasia 1988–1991 (pp. 6795). University of Technology, Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia.
Lips, H. M. (1992). Gender- and science-related attitudes as predictors of college students’ academic choices. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 40(1), 6281.
Ma, X. & Johnson, W. (2008). Mathematics as the critical filter: curricular effects on gendered career choices. In Watt, H. M. G. & Eccles, J. S. (eds.), Explaining Gendered Occupational Outcomes: Examining Individual and Social Explanations through School and Beyond (pp. 5583). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Manuel, J. & Brindley, S. (2005). The call to teach: identifying pre-service teachers’ motivations, expectations and key experiences during initial teacher education in Australia and the United Kingdom. English in Australia, 144(Summer), 3849.
McKenzie, P., Rowley, G., Weldon, P. & Murphy, M. (2011). Staff in Australia’s Schools 2010: Main Report. Canberra: DEEWR.
Meece, J. L., Wigfield, A. & Eccles, J. S. (1990). Predictors of math anxiety and its consequences for young adolescents’ course enrollment intentions and performances in mathematics. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 6070.
National Committee for the Mathematical Sciences of the Australian Academy of Science (2006). Mathematics and Statistics: Critical Skills for Australia’s Future. The National Strategic Review of Mathematical Sciences Research in Australia. Canberra: Australian Academy of Science.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2005). Teachers Matter: Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers. Paris: OECD.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2008). Education at a Glance 2008. Paris: OECD.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2011). Education at a Glance 2011. Paris: OECD.
Pigge, F. L. & Marso, R. N. (1992). A longitudinal comparison of the academic, affective, and personal characteristics of persisters and nonpersisters in teacher preparation. Journal of Experimental Education, 61, 1926.
Richardson, P. W. & Watt, H. M. G. (2014). Why people choose teaching as a career: an expectancy-value approach to understanding teacher motivation. In Richardson, P. W., Karabenick, S. A. & Watt, H. M. G. (eds.), Teacher Motivation: Theory and Practice (pp. 319). New York: Routledge.
Richardson, P. W. & Watt, H. M. G. (2006). Who chooses teaching and why? Profiling characteristics and motivations across three Australian universities. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 34(1), 2756.
Santoro, N. & Allard, A. (2005). (Re)examining identities: working with diversity in the pre-service teaching experience. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21, 863–73.
Schleicher, A. (2012). Preparing Teachers and Developing School Leaders for the 21st Century: Lessons from Around the World. Paris: OECD. Available at
Stewart, M. & Perrin, R. (1989). A comparison of physics undergraduates’ and PGCE students’ attitudes to a career in teaching, Physics Education, 24(5), 252 –3.
Sturman, A. (1985). Immigrants, education and the transition to work. Paper prepared for the National Advisory and Coordinating Committee on Multicultural Education, Canberra.
Suryani, A. (2014). Indonesian teacher education students’ motivations for choosing a teaching career and a career plan. PhD thesis, Monash University.
US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (1998). O*NET: The Occupational Information Network. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.
Van Driel, J. H. & Berry, A. (2012). Teacher professional development focusing on pedagogical content knowledge. Educational Researcher, 41(1), 2628.
Watt, H. M. G. (2006). The role of motivation in gendered educational and occupational trajectories related to math. In Watt, H. M. G. & Eccles, J. S. (eds.), Understanding Women’s Choice of Mathematics and Science Related Careers: Longitudinal Studies from Four Countries. Educational Research and Evaluation, 12(4), 305–322.
Watt, H. M. G. (2008). What motivates females and males to pursue sex-stereotyped careers? In Watt, H. M. G. & Eccles, J. S. (eds.), Gender and Occupational Outcomes: Longitudinal Assessments of Individual, Social, and Cultural Influences. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Watt, H. M. G. & Richardson, P. W. (2007). Motivational factors influencing teaching as a career choice: development and validation of the FIT-Choice scale. Journal of Experimental Education, 75(3), 167202.
Watt, H. M. G. & Richardson, P. W. (2008). Motivations, perceptions, and aspirations concerning teaching as a career for different types of beginning teachers. Learning and Instruction, 18, 408–28.
Watt, H. M. G. & Richardson, P. W. (2010). ‘When the rubber hits the road’: changing motivations for teacher subtypes in the first five years of teaching. Paper presented at the AERA Annual Meeting, Denver, 30 April–4 May.
Watt, H. M. G., Richardson, P. W. & Devos, C. (2013). (How) Does gender matter in the choice of a STEM teaching career and later teaching behaviours? International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology, 5(3), 187206.
Weldon, P. R. (2015). The teacher workforce in Australia: supply, demand and data issues. Policy Insights, 2. Available at (accessed 13 March 2016).
Weldon, P., McMillan, J., Rowley, G. & McKenzie, P. (2014). Profiles of Teachers in Selected Curriculum Areas: Further Analyses of the Staff in Australia’s Schools 2013 Survey. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Education. Available at
Wigfield, A. & Eccles, J. S. (2000). Expectancy-value theory of achievement motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 6881.