Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

In-Depth Analysis of How Prospective Social Studies Teachers Make Sense of Their Career Choice Decisions

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

In-Depth Analysis of How Prospective Social Studies Teachers Make Sense of Their Career Choice Decisions

Article excerpt

The teaching profession, in many countries around the world, is often viewed as a secure harbor for those who wish to make a career choice. The choosing of this profession comes about for a number of reasons. For instance, during destabilizing economic crises, the income of the teaching profession remains relatively reasonable almost all of the time. Research studies (e.g., Behymer & Cockriel, 1988; Çermik, Do?an, & ?ahin, 2010; Kniveton, 2004; Maree, Hislop-Esterhuizen, Swanepoel, & van der Linde, 2009) point out that people's career choice often depends on financial reasons and therefore economic pressures usually divert career choices away from their genuine interests or talents. This obviously results in a shortage of motivated and high quality applicants coming into the education program as a career, and as Yong (1995) stated, with a meager commitment to the chosen profession for the long term. From the career choice perspective, however, the teaching profession is among the most vulnerable to extrinsic and material factors.

Extrinsic and Material Reasons

Findings of the previous research consistently point out that extrinsic factors play an important role in the career preferences of those who choose the teaching profession (Azman, 2013; Bastick, 2000; Boz & Boz, 2008; Çermik et al., 2010; Papanastasiou & Papanastasiou, 1997, 1998; Saban, 2003; Yong, 1995). Extrinsic reasons cover "aspects of the job which are not inherent in the work itself " (Kyriacou & Coulthard, 2000, p. 117). Studies disclose that multiple extrinsic factors play a role in choosing teaching as a career. Among these are pleasing salaries (Papanastasiou & Papanastasiou, 1997), a desire to have a steady income (Saban, 2003), swift employment after graduation (Papanastasiou & Papanastasiou, 1998; Saban, 2003), long summer vacations (Kyriacou, Hultgren, & Stephens, 1999), job security (Johnston, McKeown, & McEwen, 1999), the possibility of having extra time for family and kids (Watt & Richardson, 2007), the prestige of the teaching profession in society (Bastick, 2000), and the encouragement from other people such as parents, teachers, relatives, or friends (Rodzevi?i?t?, 2008; Sinclair, 2008). There are several other extrinsic reasons, such as being in high school orienting a person towards the teaching profession (Boz & Boz, 2008), having good teachers as positive role models (Çermik, Do?an, & ?ahin, 2011), teaching provides good social security, a teaching degree is easier to obtain compared to some other fields, lacking any other choice, and being evaluated unfairly when entering a university (Çermik et al., 2010).

Previous studies (e.g., Bastick, 2000; Papanastasiou & Papanastasiou, 1997, 1998) also reveal that in some ways these extrinsic factors relate to the social, cultural and in particular the economic conditions of a society. That is to say, the extrinsic factors play a bigger role than the intrinsic or altruistic factors in the career choices of people in currently developing societies where the economy is often not stable. In developed societies with a more stable economic system, however, the intrinsic and altruistic factors play a more salient role in career choice decisions while the force of the extrinsic factors fades away to some extent. For instance, Bastick (2000) found that the extrinsic factors are the most influential on the career choice decisions of Jamaican prospective teachers, and Bastick interpreted this finding as being in line with the circumstances in currently developing societies. The study also revealed that extrinsic factors were followed by altruistic and intrinsic factors. In their comparative study, Papanastasiou and Papanastasiou (1997) attempted to investigate the factors influencing students to become a teacher by studying students at Pennsylvania State University and the University of Cyprus who are majoring in elementary education. Findings of the study pointed out that the factor called "internal motives" was the strongest element influencing students at Penn State University who are majoring in elementary education. …

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