Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Place of Learning Quantum Theory in Physics Teacher Education: Motivational Elements Arising from the Context

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Place of Learning Quantum Theory in Physics Teacher Education: Motivational Elements Arising from the Context

Article excerpt

It is acknowledged that motivation is one of the most important affective elements that have an impact on learning, and it is 'a polymorphous concept containing attitudes, goals, and strategies" (Donald, 1999, p. 27). Schunk (1990) defines motivation as LLthe process whereby goal directed behavior is instigated and sustained." It is necessary for individuals to direct their own energy. When individuals are motivated to learn, they learn constantly because they are directing their energy through attention, concentration, and imagination (Wlodkowski, 1999, p. 8). Motivation has a positive impact on students' social and academic functioning (Paulsen & Feldman, 1999, p. 17; Wentzel & Wigfield, 2007), and it is also affected by some social factors such as teacher-student interaction (Fan, 2011), parenting (Fulton & Turner, 2008), culture (Salili, 1996), personal motives, thoughts, expectancies, and goals (Wlodkowski, 1999, p. 8).

Motivation has been widely studied in educational settings from the perspectives of both students and teachers at different levels. In particular, teacher motivation is a growing research area in recent years because previous research has revealed that teacher motivation plays an important role in student learning (Atkinson, 2000). The recent research on teacher motivation focuses on the career choices of pre-service teachers. For example, teacher candidates' motivations for pursuing a teaching career were investigated in different countries such as Croatia (Jugovic, Marusic, Ivanec, & Vidovic, 2012), Germany (König & Rothland, 2012), Australia (Watt & Richardson, 2007, 2008), and Hong Kong (Lam, 2012), as well as across cultures, such as in Oman and Canada (Klassen, Al-Dhafri, Hannok, & Betts, 2011). Some research has used Factors Influencing Teaching Choices (FIT-Choice) as the framework for examination of teacher motivation (Gokce, 2010; Jugovic et al., 2012; König & Rothland, 2012; Watt & Richardson, 2007, 2008). FIT-Choice is a project examining novice teachers' motivations for selecting teaching as a career (FIT-Choice, 2007; Watt & Richardson, 2007, 2008, 2012a, 2012b). With this project, teacher motivation was investigated across countries and the results were compared (Watt & Richardson, 2012a, 2012b) according to a scale that was developed based on the Expectancy-Value theory (Watt & Richardson, 2012a, 2012b). This theory is also used as the theoretical framework in the current study, which focuses on the investigation of specific motivational constructs emerging in the context of a quantum mechanics course. In addition, it aims to identify how these constructs influence each other and how pre-service physics teachers' motivation is shaped by them. Therefore, in order to investigate the influence of these factors, the researcher asked the following research questions based on the Expectancy-Value theory about motivation in the context of a physics course:

i. What are the motivational elements influencing pre-service physics teachers' motivation towards learning quantum theory?

ii. How do the motivational constructs indicating pre-service physics teachers' motivation towards learning quantum theory relate to each other?

The current study is significant in many aspects. First, most of the domain-specific studies about motivation have been conducted on elementary school children and adolescents (Wigfield, 1994). Second, a great majority of teacher motivation research lacks a clear theoretical framework (Jugovic et al., 2012). In addition, quantitative approaches to teacher motivation research have had some limitations, such as restrictions in defining teacher motivation and the risk of unexamined assumptions about teacher motivation (Klassen et al, 2011). Last, several physics educators have investigated how students understand the concepts of quantum theory (Bao, 1999; Çataloglu & Robinett, 2002; Didiç, Eryilmaz, & Erkoç, 2010, 2014; Gardner, 2002; Ireson, 2000; Ke, Monk, & Duschl, 2005; Mashhadi & Woolnough, 1999; Müller & Wiesner, 1999, 2002; Olsen, 2002; Özcan, Didiç, & Ta§ar, 2009; Sadaghiani, 2005; Singh, 2001; Singh, Belloni, & Christian, 2006; Styer, 1996; Wattanakasiwich, 2005). …

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