Divided by discipline? Contrasting motivations, perceptions, and background characteristics of beginning Australian English and Mathematics teachers

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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 (NTI = 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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Perspectives on Teacher Motivation
EditorsHelen M. G. Watt, Paul W. Richardson, Kari Smith
Place of PublicationCambridge UK
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781316225202
ISBN (Print)9781107104983, 9781107512221
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sep 2017


  • Career motivation
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Beginning teachers

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