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ERIC Number: ED547182
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 130
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-2995-4
What Motivates Science Teachers to Teach in Urban Settings? A Mixed Method Approach
Alhashem, Fatimah
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Arizona State University
The high rate of teacher turnover in the United States has prompted a number of studies into why teachers leave as well as why they stay. The present study aims to add to that knowledge specifically regarding why teachers choose to stay at urban schools. Several reasons teachers in general choose to stay have been identified in previous studies including faith in their students, continuing hope and sense of responsibility, and love among others. The importance of such a study is the possibility of designing programs that reinforce teacher success through understanding the personal and professional reasons teachers choose to stay. Getting teachers to stay is important to the nation's goal of providing equity in science education to all children. Important to this research is an understanding of motivational theories. Already a challenge in the over-busy modern world, the ability to self-motivate and motivate others is of particular importance to teachers in urban schools as well as teachers struggling against restrictive budgets. Studies have shown teachers extrinsically motivated will need external rewards to encourage them while teachers who are intrinsically motivated will have their own internal reasons such as satisfaction in contributing to the future, self-actualization, or the joy of accomplishment. Some studies have suggested that teachers who decide to remain teaching tend to be intrinsic motivators. Unfortunately, the environment in most Western country educational systems presents a challenge to achieving these intrinsic goals. As a result, self-determination theory should play a significant role in shaping educational programs. The following study examined the perspectives of secondary school science teachers, specifically regarding why they opted to remain within the classroom in urban districts. It was conducted utilizing interviews and surveys of teachers working within urban school districts in Arizona and California. The sample consisted of 94 science teachers. More than half of the participants were White females and 36 percent of them had been teaching for more than 15 years. Participation in the study was based on self-selected volunteerism. Survey questions were based on self-determination theory and used Likert scale responses. Follow-up audiotaped interview requested information regarding identity and their social interaction within the urban settings. The survey responses were analyzed using SPSS for descriptive statistics, one-way ANOVA, and linear regression. The results of this study provide insight on what works to motivate science teachers to continue teaching in less than ideal school settings and with such high bureaucratic impediments as standardized testing and school rating systems. It demonstrates that science teachers do seem to be intrinsically motivated and suggests some areas in which this motivation can be fostered. Such results could help in the development of teacher support groups, professional development programs, or other programs designed to assist teachers struggling to deal with the specific problems and needs of inner city school students. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona; California