Teachers' motivation to teach: a review through the lens of motivational theories

Helen M.G. Watt, Paul W. Richardson

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The field of teacher motivation has burgeoned in the last 15 years. Although the study of teacher motivation itself is not new, until then, researchers had not drawn upon motivation theories in a concentrated way to develop theoretically grounded programmes of research to address questions concerning the nature, development and influence of teachers' motivations. Theories, constructs and concepts from the well-established literature concerning students' motivations to learn were adapted and translated to the study of teachers' motivations to teach. Transposing the theoretical concepts highlighted the potentials, challenges and boundaries in their application to the domain of teaching, both conceptually and methodologically. We overview each of the major motivation theories (expectancy-value, achievement goal, and self-determination) that have recently been reinterpreted in relation to teachers. In this endeavour, motivation researchers have asked first what kinds of motivations are relevant for teachers; second, whether and how we can measure them and third, whether and how they matter for teachers and teaching. We will present empirical findings from our own work grounded in expectancy-value theory (the "FIT-Choice" research programme; www.fitchoice.org) and from the work of colleagues whose research is underpinned by other theoretical lenses. We conclude with implications and suggestions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMotivation and Emotion in Learning and Teaching across Educational Contexts
Subtitle of host publicationTheoretical and Methodological Perspectives and Empirical Insights
EditorsGerda Hagenauer, Rebecca Lazarides, Hanna Järvenoja
Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781003303473
ISBN (Print)9781032301099, 9781032301105
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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