Motivation of Student Teachers in China and the UK

Abstract

The aim of this research study is to analyse similarities and differences of factors affecting the motivation of student teachers in China and the United Kingdom (UK). The investigation is guided by three objectives. They focus on finding out extrinsic and intrinsic factors influencing the motivation of student teachers in Chinese and UK education systems, establishing the extent that differences in education policies, culture, and economy between China and the UK affect teachers’ motivation levels and identify focus areas that explain differences in teachers’ motivation in both countries.

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The researcher met these objectives after reviewing 100 articles that discussed different aspects of teacher motivation, including theoretical and empirical foundations of motivation in the Chinese and UK education sector sectors. Published data were analyzed using the thematic technique and the findings revealed that the need to “help children succeed”, “safeguard their career interests” and “passion to work with children” were common motivators among UK and Chinese teachers.

However, differences in education, culture and economy affected how the professionals in both countries understand their underlying motives for teaching. Additionally, this research study demonstrates that Chinese teachers pay more attention to the stability of their salaries, while British teachers do not consider financial security as a core motivator for teaching. Overall, the evidence documented in this paper proves that extrinsic motivational factors have more influence on Chinese educators compared to British teachers.

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Dr. Lesley Randles for helping me to complete this research study. As a TESOL/Applied Linguistics teacher at the University of Liverpool, Mrs. Randles provided valuable guidance on how to develop a framework for carrying out the research investigation and gave regular feedback on the progress made at different stages of the study process. Therefore, the completion of this article is inseparable from her contribution and encouragement.

Introduction

Background of the Study

Due to a growing demand for education services around the world, countries have reported a shortage of teachers in their education sectors (Kyriacou and Kunc, 2007; Weiss, 1999). Particularly, China and the United Kingdom (UK) are facing serious problems in this regard because continuous improvements in education have increased student enrolment in their respective countries. Stated differently, an increase in learners has made it difficult for teachers to match the demand and supply of education services. Consequently, the number of “student teachers,” who substitute the roles of mainstream educators, has increased, while the overall percentage of confirmed teachers on pensionable and permanent contracts continues to decline (Banegas and del Pozo Beamud, 2020).

The decrease in the number of educators could be linked due to a low number of people enrolling in the teaching profession but the massive loss of professionals in the field has worsened the trend because many teachers leave their jobs in the first few years of work (Cochran-Smith et al., 2012). This situation has undermined the stability of education systems worldwide as countries grapple on how to keep their teachers motivated.

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The high attrition rate in the teaching profession means that school heads have to recruit teachers frequently, thereby forcing students to adapt to new teaching styles introduced by each new instructor who is recruited to replace another. This trend is counterproductive to a country’s overall health of the education system because high turnover rates are linked to poor educational outcomes, high cost of training and a slow pace of career development (Ingersoll and Smith, 2003; Smethem, 2007; Naslund and Ponomariov, 2019; Sorensen and Ladd, 2020; Redding and Henry, 2019). Not only do students and teachers need to invest a lot of time and energy to complete professional learning when there are high turnover rates; governments also need to provide help and support from a policy and resource perspective to enable learners adapt to the changes.

Research Problem

Various factors affect motivation levels among teachers. Relative to this assertion, Kaiser (1981) proposed that if teachers have more choice and decision-making power in the classroom, their motivation will increase. However, factors that impact motivation have been generalized without a specific focus on how culture, economies, and education policies impact student performance. Furthermore, there is little understanding on how these factors impact teacher performance in developing and developed nations. Relative to this assertion, Watt and Richardson (2008) claimed that in many developing countries, teacher motivation is more susceptible to external factors, as opposed to internal variables.

Watt and Richardson (2008) further believe that different social and cultural backgrounds may have different effects on teacher motivation. Sinclair (2008) also pointed out that teaching motivation is not only multidimensional but also hierarchical. It can be divided into two categories according to intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. This study seeks to demystify factors that impact motivation among student teachers in China and the UK from a contextual perspective.

Research Aim

The aim of this research study is to analyse similarities and differences of factors affecting the motivation of student teachers in China and the United Kingdom (UK)

Research Objectives

  1. To find out extrinsic and intrinsic factors influencing teachers’ motivation in Chinese and UK education systems
  2. To establish the extent that differences in education policies, culture and economy between China and the UK affect teachers’ motivation levels
  3. To identify focus areas that explain differences in teachers’ motivation in the Chinese and UK education systems

Research Questions

  1. To what extent do extrinsic and intrinsic factors influence teachers’ motivation in Chinese and UK education systems?
  2. To what extent do differences in education policies, culture and economy between China and the UK affect teachers’ motivation?
  3. What focus areas explain teachers’ motivation in UK and Chinese education systems?

Significance of the Study

Studying the common ground of teacher motivations in China and the UK can help find out the common reasons why teachers choose the profession. This act will help to streamline the education sector by attracting people who are talented and suitable for the profession. Additionally, strengthening related motivations among student teachers can help the education ministries of both countries to attract and retain talent.

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Literature Review

This chapter is a review of what other scholars have written about teacher motivation and its influencing factors. The main issues that will be mentioned in the section include the theoretical foundation underpinning teachers’ motivation, impact of culture, economies and education systems on motivation and the major issues driving Chinese and UK teachers to perform optimally. These key areas of discussion align with the three research objectives highlighted in the first chapter.

They are centered on finding out extrinsic and intrinsic factors influencing teachers’ motivation in Chinese and UK education systems, establishing the extent that differences in education policies, culture and economy between China and the UK affect teachers’ motivation levels and identifying focus areas that explain differences in teachers’ motivation in the Chinese and UK education systems.

Theoretical Foundation

Works of literature used to examine teacher motivation have been linked with theories investigating the same attribute in non-educational fields. For example, Herzberg’s motivator-hygiene theory and Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs theories stem from the human resource industry but have extensive relevance to the education sector (Amidkhonova, 2019; Blair and Shaver, 2019). For example, the job enrichment theory stems from Herzberg’s motivator-hygiene theory, which argues that employee motivation is subject to their environmental adaptation to hygienic factors in their workplace (Hanaysha and Hussain, 2018)). This theory was one of the first few to draw researchers’ attention to not only understanding factors that cause satisfaction, but also dissatisfaction among employees.

The job enrichment theory hails from this school of thought because it suggests that teachers’ motivation is the product of a blend of factors that are both satisfying and dissatisfying to them. Job satisfaction refers to intrinsic factors affecting teachers’ performance, such as their zeal to achieve more rewards and recognition in their careers. Comparatively, factors that cause job dissatisfaction refer to attributes that are out of the control of the teacher’s influence but still impact their performance, such as an institution’s work policies or the quality of work supervision in their workplace.

The job enrichment theory has often reflected the principles of the achievement goal theory, which has also been used to explain motivation among teachers in the education sector. It postulates that the drive teachers have towards success and achievement is mainly a function of intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors (Sabti et al., 2019). This statement shows the duality of motivation, which is advanced by proponents of the job enrichment and achievement goal theories (Dumont and Ready, 2020).

In other words, both sets of theories acknowledge positive and negative factors that influence teacher motivation. The achievement goal theory recognizes this duality by separating the influence of intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors with more emphasis being placed on intrinsic factors, such as a teacher’s willingness and determination to perform well at work, as the key drivers of motivation (Silveira et al., 2019). Proponents of the theory also acknowledge the impact of external factors, such as work pressures and departmental targets, on motivation (Borovay, et al., 2019; Borman, Grigg and Hanselman, 2016). The duality of motivation highlighted in the paper demonstrates that the goal achievement theory explains a teacher’s goals and factors that drive them towards achieving them.

The expectancy value theory has also been used to explain the motivation of teachers in the education sector with its proponents arguing that two factors drive motivation: expectation and value (Knoll, Matthes and Heiss, 2020). Expectation refers to the probability that an outcome can be realistically achieved and value is determined by how much a person desires the same outcome. These two attributes are considered the two main tenets that form motivation – a function of expectation and value (Lee, 2019). Therefore, high levels of enthusiasm are best achieved when a teacher’s attitude is driven by both high expectations of a preferred outcome and how badly the individuals involved desire it. Alternatively, the absence of either “expectation” or “value” in the motivation matrix means that the net value will be zero to symbolize a lack of motivation.

Similar to the goal achievement and job enrichment theories, the expectancy value theory also view expectation from two aspects. The first one is intrinsic in the sense that it considers a person’s belief in their ability to accomplish a specific task as being an important tenet of motivation (Safavian, 2019). This attribute of motivation is also referred to by some researchers as being a product of the perceived relationship between effort and performance (Svoboda et al., 2016).

Similar to the overall factors underpinning motivation, which have been highlighted in this analysis, this subcomponent of motivation, is regarded as “expectancy” (Safavian and Conley, 2016). The second aspect of motivation relates to the goal achievement theory, which focuses on a teacher’s belief about the association between a performed activity and the desired outcome.

Collectively, the above mentioned theories indicate that motivation can be understood from multiple perspectives but the common overriding premise underpinning all the theories is the existence of intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors affecting employee performance. Intrinsic factors are those that stem from a teacher’s belief in their ability to perform a set of tasks while extrinsic factors relate to aspects of performance that are out of their control. Several researchers have explained how these duality affects motivation levels in different countries and using various groups of teachers (Jenset, Klette and Hammerness, 2018).

The Concept of Teacher Motivation

In the past few decades, scholars have developed different meanings and definitions of “motivation”, which have caused confusion among users of information. Although there is no common understanding of the term, it is generally recognized that motivation reflects the direction and scale of human behavior. (Dörnyei and Ushioda, 2011). From a psychological perspective, motivation represents an emotion. It can arise and dissipate, as well as increase and decrease on short notice, thereby making it difficult to find the right balance to maximize productivity (Yu, Liu and Littlewood, 1996).

Williams and Burden (1997) categorize motivation into two parts: “initiation motivation” and “maintenance motivation.” The former can be understood as the thought and desire to achieve something, while the latter represents the constant effort to achieve something. According to this classification, Williams and Burden (1997) define motivation as the reason for starting to do something and the reason for continuing to do it.

On the basis described above, teacher motivation is well defined. It includes the reasons why people choose to be teachers and reasons why they continue to pursue education as a profession. Therefore, in this research study, motivation emerges as the combination of teachers’ decision to choose the education profession and continue advancing their career journey in it. Based on this definition, Dörnyei and Ushioda (2011) caution that motivation is an abstract concept that cannot be directly observed because it needs to be expressed by a series of concrete factors.

Reeve and Su (2014) add that the concept is closely related to a degree of psychological satisfaction, which manifests through the desire for teaching and the happiness experienced in the process. Therefore, teacher motivation can be understood as the benefits and satisfaction that the occupation brings to teachers. While motivation is explained as an abstract concept in this paper, it traces its roots to several theories that have explored reasons for varying levels of motivation in the workplace.

Link between Teacher Motivation, Student Attitudes and Workplace Environment

Over the years, the correlation between teacher and student motivation has been widely recognized by several researchers, including Bernaus and Gardner (2008) and Bernaus, Wilson, and Gardner (2009). In line with their observations, Neves de Jesus and Lens (2005) claimed that enhancing student motivation is one of the main reasons for underlying levels of teacher motivation. Hussain, Xuetong and Hussain (2020) also linked the concept of teacher motivation to employment satisfaction and found that working with children, professional effectiveness, and the simplicity and security of campus life are key driving factors impacting satisfaction and motivation.

It was established that by seeing the progress and growth of students, teachers would think that their behavior has a positive effect on the students, so they feel happy, because this reflects positively on their own values as well. Additionally, it is reported that Chinese students re confident about their professional skills, thereby enabling them to use such knowledge at will – a positive recognition of their professional ability.

The workplace environment was also identified as having an impact on teacher satisfaction and motivation levels. Particularly, Zhao (2008) noted that the campus environment does not pose a danger to teachers, thereby reinforcing the belief that teaching is a long-term and stable job. In other words, such an occupation does not commonly involve personnel transfers or have a high risk of unemployment. In addition, compared with other professions, teachers spend most of their time with their children and do not need to get along with adults. This kind of professional environment can avoid many complicated interpersonal relationships, allowing teachers to concentrate on their work and be less troubled by external factors.

Despite the stability brought by the teaching profession benefits, researchers still report high levels of dissatisfaction among teachers due to increasing stress levels, salary delays, missed holidays and vacations, low social status of their jobs in the society, bad behaviors among students and a lack of support from parents (Derrington and Martinez, 2019). Some reports also suggest that most teachers are dissatisfied due to an unfair teacher evaluation system and unimplemented educational reforms (Sun, Zhang and Li, 2020). In detail, the reports document that most teachers spend a lot of time and energy in writing teaching reports to fulfill their work obligations and meet deadlines set by respective departments. Consequently, their work is constantly being undermined by the fear of negative results, which may lead to several negative consequences, which may influence their salary and career prospects.

Lens and de Jesus (1999) took a deeper interest in understanding the role that workplace pressures put on teachers and found that, compared to other professions, teachers tend to be under greater pressure to perform. This kind of pressure makes them feel anxious and uneasy while low salaries breed discontentment with work. For example, Gyan and Ampomah (2016) notes that some teachers simply think that the rewards they get for their work are not proportional to the salary they get from it. Although the monthly fixed income guarantees a stable standard of living, many teachers still believe that current wages cannot meet their living expenses, such as material needs of buying a house or maintaining their regular car payments (Rispens, Jehn and Steinel, 2020). They often compare their wages with others, and this comparison can occur in different industries or even in the same sector.

Most teachers also consider their work “mental” and should be ranked higher than that of manual workers. On the contrary, there are manual workers in certain industries that get more generous salaries than they do. There is a sense of discontentment that happens when they understand this situation. In addition, teachers are also divided into smaller income groups whereby rural teachers also have opinions about the salary gap with urban teachers. The former believes that they have paid the same labor results as the latter but have not received equitable returns on their work, so they often criticize the unfairness within the teaching profession.

Students’ bad behaviors and the parents’ bad attitudes are the most common drivers of teacher dissatisfaction. Several researchers note that conflict among the three parties affects normal teaching duties (Keller et al., 2018; Kenny, Luck and Koerbel, 2020). The failure to address it could also lead to the complete loss of teachers’ initiative in teaching. Lack of parents’ support also frustrates most teachers as some reports indicate that most of them believe it is difficult to educate and manage the current crop of students because they are highly favored by their parents (Usadolo and Caldwel, 2016). Therefore, not only do they lack the motvation to learn, but also have many disciplinary problems with familial roots.

The difficulty faced by teachers in addressing this problem has been further compounded by the insistence on teacher-student evaluation reports by school heads. It has given students the power to give their teachers bad evaluations because they believe they have been treated “unfairly.” Therefore, teachers fear taking the right disciplinary action on students if it would affect their evaluation.

Cases of parents siding with students in disciplinary cases have also been extensively documented as another reason why teachers refrain from taking correct disciplinary measures (Poulou, Reddy and Dudek, 2019). Schools that have a poor communication policy or framework between teachers and parents also make their situation worse because both parties are unable to communicate effectively, thereby giving students a lot of power in distorting information. Additionally, some parents are busy with their careers and hardly pay attention to their children’s education problems and do not contact or cooperate with teachers. Poulou, Reddy and Dudek (2019) posit that some of them think that education is a primary responsibility of the teacher and the school. Therefore, they pay little attention to their children’s’ welfare and if their children do not perform well, it is the teacher’s fault.

Underlying Factors Influencing Decision to Enter Practice

Although a higher education has almost become a necessary condition for teachers to be enrolled in the service, people with low academic achievement are more likely to become teachers than their counterparts with high education. The strong yearning by families of people from lower academic achievement to get a respectable job, such as a teacher, may explain this paradox. This example shows that the motivation for a teacher to enter the profession may not only be influenced by his or her own literacy but also that of the family as well. Therefore, general welfare insufficiency and a lack of family education may make some people have a strong desire to make up for what they do not have, thereby enhancing their motivation to teach.

In addition to the indirect factors reflected in the above-mentioned background characteristics, Gallie et al. (2017) also compared differences between teachers and other professionals in choosing occupational factors influenced by a series of intuitive factors, such as the “chance to share knowledge” and “job satisfaction”. The researchers demonstrated that teacher groups are inclined to communicate and discuss existing knowledge with their counterparts because they value the practice of knowledge inheritance and hope to pass it on to others to help them succeed as well. In addition, “length of holidays” and a “chance to pursue interests in own subjects” also emerged as important drivers for motivation. Researchers have also shown that most teachers love their subjects and hope to advance their careers by undertaking own research.

In spite of the above-mentioned insights, Pieper et al. (2019) also found that English “non-teachers” are mostly motivated by wages, working conditions and promotion opportunities, while teachers attach more importance to these aspects only half as their aforementioned counterparts. Relative to the findings, there are fewer opportunities for promotion and salary increase in the teaching profession than in other fields. Indeed, many teachers have worked in the same position for several years, and the salary has not changed much over time. This situation proves that teachers seldom consider their own gains and losses when choosing a career but pay more attention to the contribution of work to others.

Differences in Views between Student and Practicing Teachers

Researchers have established that differences in views between “confirmed teachers” and “non-teachers” about motivation can also be used to analyze teacher satisfaction. The former generally supports three important concepts with the first one being that “teaching is rewarding” and the second alluding to the heaviness of the work involved. The third one points to the view that teaching is a rewarding career because choosing this profession can, not only fulfill the desire to help others, but also enable teachers to improve their social value. The presence of good career prospects in teaching is also a motivating factor for UK student teachers because they value teaching as a noble profession.

Researchers have also supported earlier mentioned views about the dwindling importance of salaries on teacher motivation because Rickman, Wang and Winters (2019) noted its minimal impact on “confirmed” and “unconfirmed” teachers’ motivation levels. This finding means that many teachers are aware of the low wages associated with their profession but do not consider it a distraction in their quest to excel in the career.

The financial compensation does not also hinder them from becoming teachers nor is it one of the factors that attract them to the education industry in the first place (Rosenbaum, More and Steane, 2016). However, marginal teachers have a higher sensitivity to wage discrepancies because they lack intrinsic motivating factors to encourage them to stay in the profession. Indeed, “non-teachers” have low levels of intrinsic motivation and pure material rewards are not enough to attract them, making it almost impossible to pursue a rewarding career.

The above-mentioned findings prove that intrinsic factors form a dominant force in affecting teachers’ motivation. Thus, as long as there is intrinsic motivation, it is possible to become a teacher. Consequently, researchers have established most “confirmed teachers” are motivated by spiritual factors than any other material consideration when determining professional performance. They are also firm in their ideas and hardly care about the rewards of external conditions, such as salary levels, on their overall performance. Comparatively, external factors have a greater impact on “marginal teachers”. They hold the belief that becoming a teacher is not a motivating factor on its own, but if they get adequate financial benefits, their enthusiasm increases, thereby increasing their odds of becoming teachers.

Summary

In the field of education, researchers pay far less attention to teachers than to students, which leads to the neglect of research on teaching motivation. Although there have been studies on teacher motivation in China and the United Kingdom separately in existing research, comparative reports on teacher motivation in different countries usually occur among Western countries. The lack of comparison of teacher motivation in Eastern and Western countries has resulted in almost no literature comparing teacher motivation in China and the United Kingdom.

Methodology

To recap, the aim of this research study was to analyse similarities and differences of factors affecting the motivation of student teachers in China and the United Kingdom (UK). The investigation was guided by three objectives. They focused on finding out extrinsic and intrinsic factors influencing the motivation of student teachers in Chinese and UK education systems, establishing the extent that differences in education policies, culture, and economy between China and the UK affected teachers’ motivation levels and identifying focus areas that explain differences in teachers’ motivation in both countries. This chapter highlights strategies adopted by the researcher to meet the above-mentioned objectives.

Research Approach

A good research needs to be based on sufficient data collection. Han and Yin (2016) mentioned the benefits of quantitative methods for studying teaching motivation. They claimed that teacher motivation is related to many variables. When evaluating teacher motivation, quantitative methods are better than qualitative methods. Gillham (2008) and McNabb (2015) further believes that when there are certain conjectures and judgments about the experimental results, a questionnaire can be used for quantitative research. However, in the context of this study, the mixed methods research approach was used to integrate qualitative and quantitative aspects of research in the investigation (Research Rundown, 2020). The technique was adopted because of the exploratory nature of the research topic.

Research Design

As highlighted in the first chapter of this document, the aim of this research study is to analyse similarities and differences of factors affecting the motivation of student teachers in China and the United Kingdom (UK). A case study approach was used to find experiments that sought to examine teacher motivation in the two education systems. The use of the case study approach in data collection is justified by the vastness of experiences documented by researchers about factors that influence teacher motivation (Daumiller and Janke, 2019). Therefore, there was need to have an industry-specific understanding of the research issue by using Chinese and UK student teachers a case study.

Alternatively, the case study approach was adopted in this review because it was not feasible to perform the research without a context of analysis – China and UK education systems. Therefore, the framework of discussion was the education sector and the details presented in this discussion related to motivational factors impacting teachers’ performance. The case study approach helped to provide rich and quality information relating to education professionals in both China and the UK because it was not possible to practically investigate the research phenomenon without this context of analysis. This advantage aligns with the views of Coe et al. (2017) and Stokes (2017) who say that the case study research design can provide rich data about a research issue. Therefore, it was appropriately used in this study to provide a context of analysis.

Data Collection

The literature search was conducted by using three keywords: “e-commerce,” “user loyalty” and “impact” to find peer-reviewed articles from four major databases: ABS journals The articles selected for review were published within the last five years (2015-2020). The goal of adopting this strategy was to make sure that the information obtained from the literature review was current and actionable. Therefore, articles that were published earlier than 2015 were omitted from the final selection.

The narrative review technique was adopted for purposes of comparative analysis instead of the systematic method because of the literature gap that will be filled in this study. Therefore, the information sought in the study was exploratory. The main strength of the narrative review is its broad representation of the main issues relating to the research topic (Sekaran and Bougie, 2016). Therefore, besides providing readers with what is known about a specific research issue, it provides new perspectives based on the strength and development of current knowledge through the identification of key research questions that will be highlighted at the end of the review process (Kara, 2015; Patten and Newhart, 2017). Due to the vast nature of research articles reviewed in this study, it was integral for the researcher to comprehend the scope and novelty of the research issues to be examined before embarking on the review. The goal was to provide indicative findings that would guide future research.

Data Analysis

The information described above was analysed using the thematic and coding method. This technique helps researcher to categorise information according to common themes, which are often linked to the research questions (Coe et al., 2017). This data analysis method mostly traces its roots to qualitative reasoning, but because the present study integrates both aspects of qualitative and quantitative discussions, it will be applicable to the broader context of data review (Coe et al., 2017) affecting motivational levels between Chinese and UK teachers. Unique themes that emerged in the study will be highlighted in the findings section.

Ethical Considerations in the Study

This last section of the methodology chapter details procedures and practices followed by the researcher in carrying out the investigation. Unlike primary research studies that involve human subjects, this secondary investigation was subject to a different set of ethical guidelines relating to the use of information from other authors. To avoid incidences of academic misconduct, all sources used in this study were properly cited, as proposed by Pelikan, Jeffery and Roelcke (2020). Furthermore, no articles requiring permission from the authors were included in the review. Stated differently, all the research data used in this study were obtained from freely available books and journals.

Findings and Discussion

This chapter highlights the findings derived from implementing the above-mentioned strategies. As highlighted in chapter three above, the findings were developed after extensively reviewing the literature on motivation in both China and the UK. To recap, the aim of this research study was to analyse similarities and differences of factors affecting the motivation of student teachers in China and the United Kingdom (UK).

Using the thematic and coding method, two key themes emerged from the investigation: UK-based studies and Chinese –based investigations. These two themes helped to answer the research questions, which focused on finding out extrinsic and intrinsic factors influencing the motivation of student teachers, establishing the extent that differences in education policies, culture, and economy affected teachers’ motivation levels and identifying focus areas that explain the same.

Findings

UK-based Studies

Reasons for teacher motivation have been widely explored in English-based studies, such as that authored by Kyriacou, Hultgren and Stephens (1999). They compared factors that motivated teachers in England and Norway to perform optimally and established that enjoying the subject they would teach, liking to work with children and the ability of teaching to enable them to use their talents were three drivers of motivation that strongly influenced their performance. These factors reflect the universality of core teaching beliefs between both sets of teachers (Guo and Guo, 2020).

However, the main difference between the Norwegian and British professionals was that former teachers paid more attention to “long holidays” and “social hours” of the teaching profession itself than British teachers did. Comparatively, British teachers focused a lot of their attention on “wanting to help children succeed,” “liking the activity of classroom teaching,” “hoping to help children succeed” and “liking classroom teaching activities” more than their Norwegian counterparts did. These differences in core motivational drivers show that British teachers have strong altruism because their primary motivation is to help children succeed and their actions align with the goal of maximizing the benefits they can bring to others.

Ferguson (2018) also noted that British and Norwegian teachers paid little attention to their salary payments and encouragement from others to perform better – the two attributes are all external motivators of workplace performance and not intrinsic ones. The proposed reason for the failure of material rewards to motivate the Norwegian and British teachers was their high levels of education and understanding of the role of money in improving educational outcomes. Stated differently, most of them are eager for spiritual and inner satisfaction, so they do not value salary as much as other professional groups do (Ning, Rind and Asad, 2020).

Additionally, choosing to perform their duties without external encouragement proves that both Norwegian and English teachers mainly consider their personal desires and internal motivations as primary drivers for making career decisions and excelling in them. However, additional data indicates that, assuming that internal motivation is greater than external motivation, teachers in the United Kingdom will be less motivated by external factors influencing their performance compared to their Norwegian counterparts. However, the evidence supporting this assertion is still underdeveloped.

Researchers have also investigated the main factors motivating teachers of Chinese descent working in the UK to perform well in their careers. For example, Ye and Edwards (2018) explored the experiences of Chinese teachers in UK Confucius Institutes by examining the main elements impacting their motivation to excel at work. The researchers found that that the professionals were mainly driven by the quest to improve their professional skills in the area of English-speaking and satisfy their curiosity about overseas life (Ye and Edwards, 2018). The researchers also pointed out that because the Chinese teachers were foreign, their motivations are likely to be significantly different from UK-born teachers.

The attention paid to foreign teachers by some authors highlight the gap in supply for teachers in the UK, which has been experienced over the years. In other words, most foreign teachers come to the UK to seek employment opportunities from educational institutions nearby, thereby creating a significantly percentage of foreign workface in the sector (Steinberg and Garrett, 2016). This trend proves that Chinese teachers have a strong sense of responsibility and altruism. In addition, some teachers consider responsibility and altruism as key drivers for advancing their personal careers development journeys, especially by pursuing English majors.

Relative to this assertion, Ning, Rind and Asad (2020) believe that most Chinese teachers are motivated by the ability to use their English teaching skills, learnt from overseas, to advance their careers. Therefore, they believe that going to an English-speaking country will not only help teachers who pursue English majors to have a better exposure to foreign languages ​​and cultures than if they practiced their professions in their localities. Therefore, it comes naturally to most Chinese teachers who have worked overseas to take pride in teaching or learning English in a country that speaks the language.

Hayes (2004) authored another UK-based study that explored motivations for teachers to enter the profession. The experiment took place in England and it included respondents who were students majoring in teaching. The article demonstrated that from the analysis of the basic personal situation, differences in gender, race, academic achievement, parental background and professional qualifications affected whether a person becomes a teacher, or not. Similar to many studies, such as those authored by Williams and Burden, 1997) Dizon-Ross et al. (2019) and Dunn (2016), Hayes (2004) also pointed out that students with a university major in education are far more likely to become teachers than students who are enrolled in other majors. This may be due to their love and interest in education or their strong desire to become teachers. motivation.

A different research study sought to find out the motivation for UK teachers to participate in learning activities compared to their Moroccan counterparts. The participants were 152 student teachers (83 persons in Morocco and 69 persons in the United Kingdom) who took part in a second language teacher training course. The results showed that the main motivators for UK teachers in learning were their liking for teaching certain subjects and their passion for education. Additionally, it was established that “helping children to succeed” also played a decisive role in helping them become teachers.

Finally, most British teachers mentioned the appeal of teaching activities and their long-term emphasis on professionalism as additional motivators for teaching. This research study also revealed that extrinsic factors did not play a significant role in motivating teachers to succeed. Particularly, other people’s encouragement and social evaluation of the teaching practice only accounted for 3% and 4% of the informants’ views, meaning that they did not have any substantial influence on the motivation of participants (Wang and Chen, 2016). This finding proves that the desire to be a teacher primarily comes from the participants’ own thinking rather than the persuasion of others.

It was also established that the relationship between teachers and students did not leave a positive impression on the UK participants because the concept of “teacher role model” is no highly valued by most British student teachers. Therefore, the behavior of former teachers is not related to the desire for students to become education professionals and does not constitute one of their motivations for staying in the career. Additionally, in terms of career prospects and returns, most British participants hoped to work sustainably in the teaching field (Ertel, 2020). They seldom thought about changing careers, and they did not care much about salary. These findings suggest that British student teachers are willing to “give their all,” and do not care much about gains and losses associated with their work because they value their peace of mind.

Comparatively, the evidence gathered from Moroccan teachers revealed the contrary because most of them said they were motivated to enroll in the field because it was a socially respected job and an important sector in societal development. This finding contradicted the main motivators seen to affect UK student teachers because the social value associated with teaching was an important motivator for their teaching (Huat, 2004).

Additionally, although UK teachers agreed with their Moroccan counterparts that working with children was also a significant motivator for teaching, less Moroccans believed in the strength of this motivator to influence their actions compared to their British counterparts. Similarly, both sets of teachers argued that having a role model influences them into choosing teaching as a profession but more Moroccan informants felt strongly about this fact compared to their UK counterparts.

The findings also showed that few British student teachers use their professional work as a tool to venture into other careers but in Morocco, more respondents believed that their practice was “a springboard” into other careers. This outcome proves that they did not choose to become teachers purely for the passion of it but rather for the hope that they would leave the profession for something better.

According to the above analysis, it can be assumed that British and Moroccan teachers have different views on professional development. Concisely, Moroccan teachers are more affected by social evaluation than their British colleagues, while their teaching motives are more mixed and complex because of this fact. Comparatively, British teachers are more respectful of personal ideas, have simpler motivations, and are more internally driven to perform their work compared to their Moroccan counterparts. This statement means that most UK teachers are intrinsically driven to perform their duties, while Moroccan professionals are extrinsically driven.

Studies that have explored teachers’ motivation have also been focused on explaining differences in motivation during enrolment and after training.

This investigation is informed by the fact that, although the number of student teachers is increasing, the population of trained teachers is gradually decreasing (Muwonge et al., 2019). Indeed, a large number of student teachers have left the profession without being posted to any school and a significant number of them are experiencing difficulties staying in the teaching industry after obtaining the qualifications. Regardless of these challenges, Pitzer and Skinner (2017) established that a passion for teaching and the liking for children were key motivators for British teachers to perform well in their work. A keen analysis of these two factors suggests that one of them embodies intrinsic motivation and the other altruism.

Researchers have also affirmed that they first consider their partners when planning their future careers. Therefore, due to the love for children, they also regard teaching as a good profession and nurture the idea of ​​becoming teachers. In addition, the teachers’ understanding of subject factors also emerged as another key motivator for their work performance. Here, it can be seen that despite being in the training stage, the student teachers are already confident about their professional skills and believe that they have enough knowledge for teaching.

This finding adds to existing evidence, which shows that most British teachers are motivated by intrinsic factors to perform. Muñoz and Mas (2018) further add that most student teachers have preferences for the ages of the kind of children they would lie to teach. This statement means that their decision to become teachers is according to their own ideas of learning. It is worth mentioning that the impact of salary level on students and teachers has aroused the curiosity of researchers as well but “social working hours” and “long holidays” were more valued and consequently had a bigger effect on participants’ motivation.

Another UK-based study authored by Zheng et al. (2019) suggests that teachers can only work effectively when they are motivated because this concept is important to the performance of individuals and organizations. Using a combination of quantitative research and qualitative research, the researchers sought to find out positive and negative factors that affected motivation by sampling the views of primary school teachers in the UK. The results showed that leaders, race and demographic factors influenced teacher motivation. The results also drew a link between student and teacher motivation by demonstrating that negative factors influencing students’ attitudes also had a similar effect on teacher motivation.

Four main factors were also identified as having an impact on motivation. The first one was good behavior from students, such as their interest in the course, self-motivation to learn and upright character. Sugino (2010) pointed out that most of these motivational factors are related to the behavior and attitude of students. The second aspect of motivation identified by the researchers included a sense of accomplishment, which is reflected upon the completion of a pleasant job or task. Thirdly, colleague support was also identified to have an impact on motivation because good interpersonal relationships ensure that teachers work in a relaxed and harmonious atmosphere. Other studies, such as that of Mani (2002), which identified working environment and colleagues as primary motivators for teacher motivation, have also supported this aspect of motivation. Indeed, if teachers encounter teaching difficulties, they can encourage and help each other in teaching environment.

The progress of children’s performance was also identified as one of the greatest affirmation of teaching results, which is also a way for educators to recognize their own value in a country’s educational system. On the contrary, teaching motivation is offset by special factors related to a teacher’s internal drive and external workplace environment. Kızıltepe (2008) states that an unmotivated teacher is one who was previously motivated but has since started to lose interest for some reason.

When the teaching motivation is lost, they give up their profession and leave the field. The negative factors associated with the diminished level of motivation are mainly concentrated in “long hours of work and heavy workload” coupled with “children’s bad behavior and lack of interest” in learning. Solving these two issues can inspire educators and lead to high levels of teacher retention, thereby reducing turnover rate.

Consistent with almost all studies that have a UK focus, this study also demonstrates that internal factors generally have greater influence on teachers’ motivation levels compared to external factors. However, the unique results of this experiment show that internal motivation has a greater impact on teachers’ entry and persistence in teaching behavior. The influence of external factors makes it easier for teachers to lose motivation. In addition, motivational factors and negative factors are similar among groups of teachers with different backgrounds. Overall, the most distinguishing feature about these findings is the introduction of children’s behaviors and attitudes as part of the reasons for increased or decreased teachers’ motivation.

Chinese-based Studies

Li et al. (2012) also investigated factors that influenced Chinese teachers to enter the teaching profession and issues that enabled them to continue engaging in the profession. The researchers also compared the motivational factors affecting Chinese teachers, vis-a-vis their counterparts from around the world. Conducted in Jilin Province in Northeast China, the study established that the desire to become a teacher ranked first among factors affecting teacher motivation, while the second one was the attractiveness of salaries (Li et al., 2012). The first driver is intrinsic while the second one is extrinsic, meaning that intrinsic factors had the greatest impact on motivation. Unlike other studies, the experimental results did not show the influence of altruism on teaching motivation.

About half of the 107 participants who took part in the investigation entered the teaching profession because it was part of their long-term plans (Li et al., 2012). They may have developed such expectations from their student days and insisted on their ideas throughout their adult life. At the same time, half of the participants said that when choosing a career, they considered salary as a main motivator. This reason may be due to the generally good remuneration that Chinese teachers receive, compared to their counterparts from around the world. The researchers also investigated the role of family influence in motivating teachers to enter the profession, but there was insufficient evidence to indicate that the social unit had any meaningful impact on the decision-making processes of the professionals to perform well at work.

Overall, Chinese teachers enter the profession because of the combined influence of internal and external reasons on their decision to teach and their influence on them is almost the same. However, the accumulation of many bad experiences in the teaching process continuously reduces their motivation levels, which explains why teachers leave the industry soon after recruitment. This outcome means that external factors, which are easier to control and change than internal factors, should be improved to make their experiences better.

In another study involving ten students and teachers recruited from different provinces in China, Zhang, Wu and Zhu (2020) sought to find out the motivation for teachers to participate in the profession and their reasons for staying in it. The results of the analysis showed that the biggest intrinsic motivator was the idea of ​​teaching because of their professional interest. Some students and teachers also said that they liked their major and wanted to share it with others, so they chose to become teachers. Other students and teachers thought that by becoming teachers, they could continue to study their favorite majors. Thus, the love of the profession was the most powerful motivation displayed by the participants for taking part in teaching. In line with this observation, the respondents pointed out that, past teachers were “model professionals” and they had an impact on them by inspiring them to engage in the profession.

Results on external factors affecting motivation among the Chinese respondents also showed that financial gains significantly affected teacher performance (Han, 2019). Indeed, participants with poor family financial status said that the free tuition and monthly allowance provided in their course plans attracted them to the profession and played a significant role in encouraging them to stay in it. At first, they were worried and distressed that they could not afford to pay, but the planned financial compensation for the teaching profession solved this problem. After having their concerns addressed, these participants readily decided to become teachers.

Another sample of students from wealthy families, which was also consulted in the study, did not pay attention to financial gains as a motivator. Instead, they claimed that they were mainly chasing the dream of “becoming a teacher”. Therefore, they held the belief that economic encouragement only helps them to complete their jobs but was not a primary reason for taking part in teaching. However, after choosing to join the teaching program, the participants underwent training, which changed their motivations over time.

Some students and teachers reported that they did not have the opportunity to receive a good professional education in the past, resulting in limited professional performance. However, with the development of the curriculum, their professional interest and abilities improved, thereby enhancing their confidence and motivation. This outcome was shared among participants who thought they had low levels of motivation during their initial phases of training.

However, there was another group of respondents, which believed that their understanding of advanced educational concepts and methods during training gave them doubts about the practicality of pursuing a fruitful career in teaching (Chang et al., 2018). Here, participants reflected on China’s existing education system and believed that the most beneficial technologies for education could not be used in the real education environment. This realization made them frustrated and confused, thereby creating the belief that, in China, an unreasonable education system will reduce teaching enthusiasm and offset motivation.

Research studies that have mostly gathered the views of interns while investigating motivation have been used as indicators of the kinds of attitudes that future teachers will have (Addison and Brundrett, 2008). Indeed, teaching practice behavior has proven to be a powerful social force that reshapes teachers’ motivation (James and Wyckoff, 2020). On the one hand, the development of professional knowledge and skills constitutes the main motivation for participants to continue teaching, but on the other hand, many school interns believed that the motivation they receive from students inspired them to continue teaching. Participants have also said that although the internship cycle is short, their professionals skills improved significantly during the teaching process, which not only reduced their initial worries and anxieties about teaching, but also increased their self-confidence.

Respondents have also acknowledged that they often experience teaching difficulties every time they move from one level of teaching to another. Particularly, they mentioned that teaching difficulties have shaped their careers because they have helped them to develop satisfactory results over time by minimizing their weaknesses through the feedback they receive from students. For example, through constant efforts, silent classrooms become active, depressed students begin to participate in teaching activities, and an increasing number of students show a sincere liking for teaching subjects.

These changes reflect the students’ recognition of the teachers themselves. Consequently, participants feel pleased and recognized that everything they do is meaningful. In addition, a small number of teachers have the habit of writing work diaries. They observe the effects of teaching by recording classroom changes, which allows them to constantly reflect on their behavior and adjust their motivations accordingly.

It is worth mentioning that some teachers have reportedly experienced too much pressure from the education curriculums they teach and from the supervisors who oversee the internship teaching process, thereby decreasing their zeal to work. Respondents complained that many aspects of teaching are supervised and tutors strictly control and review their teaching methods (Abela and Debono, 2019). They also claimed that the original teaching plan contained many free teaching ideas and innovative activities, but their tutors often rejected them on various grounds, thereby forcing the instructors to give their students “mechanical” exercises in accordance with the traditional teaching methods provided by educational authorities.

Interns have said that such an approach violates their teaching wishes and affects their teaching autonomy. Indeed, they can neither develop creative work nor complete their teaching exercises according to their own ideas and plans. Similarly, no matter how hard and active they are, they will received little encouragement from colleagues and leaders if they deviate from the “traditional” way of doing things. These extrinsic factors associated with workplace environments have made some Chinese student interns feel generally tired and frustrated. They also hold the belief that this teaching method has no personal meaning and sense of accomplishment (Sun, 2018). Thus, their determination to continue working as teachers diminishes.

Researchers have also explored the motivation of Chinese teachers with their American counterparts and arrived at similar conclusions. For example, similar to the findings gathered about Moroccan teachers, it was established that most Chinese participants regarded social value as a strong motivator for going into the teaching practice, while the importance of occupation to society also played a critical role in influencing their motivation to stay in the occupation. Researchers also established that Chinese students were motivated to teach because they wanted to help children or young people succeed – which is a derivative of their altruistic values (Heimerl et al., 2020). Nonetheless, scholars also suggest that experience will have an impact on most Chinese students and teachers because they consider teacher role models as a strong influence on their careers.

Perhaps they discovered that they liked this subject in the process of studying their majors, and they want to continue to contact or use it in their future work. Work security also emerged as another important factor that influenced teachers’ performance. For example, a comfortable campus environment brings convenience and protection to teachers and students because teachers are mental workers and, compared to other professions, their work is not physically exhausting.

Comparatively, the evidence obtained from American respondents showed that the main motivation for teachers to perform well were the need to “shape future of children/adolescents” and “make a social contribution.” This finding suggests that the main drivers for teacher motivation in the US are similar to those that represent the Chinese sample. Overall, it was established that Chinese teachers paid less attention to “ability to perform tasks” and the intrinsic value of teachers when choosing a career than American teachers did. Generally, it is projected that future teachers in both countries will focus on creating value and helping children in considering career choices. Although the influencing factors are slightly different across varied education systems, Chinese and American teachers have shown strong enthusiasm for becoming teachers, rather than taking it as a “fallback career,” as was the case with the Moroccan student teachers.

Other studies have shown that teacher motivation is a product of many reasons. Some of them have shown that the reasons why people choose a teaching career not only include psychological factors, but also social factors (Liu and Yu, 2017). For example, in a Chinese-based study, Wu, Peng and Estay (2018) investigated the root causes of teachers engaged in learning activities, by employing a life-history narrative as a research method in a qualitative research. Data showed that the motivation for teachers mostly came from four sources: by default, enjoying the subject, teaching as a means of providing a livelihood and the need to have influence on people. Particularly, most teachers sampled in the study said that their choice to teach was as a result of unplanned and unconscious behaviors. Thus, it had nothing to do with personal preferences and subjective wishes.

Their reasons to teach were also influenced by job market dynamics because other professions are highly competitive and there is a shortage of teaching staff in most schools. Therefore, participants believed that the teaching profession was a viable choice of escaping the unpredictability of the job market. Therefore, it can be said that this is not a personal decision but a social one. People to use teaching as an escapist profession have summed up these reasons as “by default” factors because they represent actual attempts.

Again, intrinsic motivation was also highlighted as another motivating factor for the teachers because most of them said they enjoyed teaching as a core driver of their work performance. Particularly, most of the participants’ said they had a long-term interest in English because it was not only a professional skill for them, but also a tool to provide them with many substantial benefits in their careers. For example, some of them said that learning English could help them to learn about the culture of English-speaking countries and get job opportunities from such nations.

Additionally, researchers also established that the security and stability associated with the teaching profession also emerged as a significant motivational factor of performance. In fact, some reports suggest that most Chinese student teachers believe that the profession has almost no risks and dangers, especially for women (Goagoses et al., 2020; Tan and Miksza, 2019). Therefore, it provides protection for all involved, at least from a job security perspective.

Studies have also shown that wanting to influence others is an altruistic motivational factor for Chinese students. Relative to this statement, some teachers believe that it is their professional goal and inner desire to have children educated. Therefore, when students are making progress, teachers get a strong sense of accomplishment, which they interpret as increasing the value and meaning of their work.

Overall, the findings highlighted above suggest that teacher motivation can increase because of a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Most students are aware of the influence of these factors on their attitudes and commitment to work. For example, one sample emphasized the impact of low student motivation on teachers because educating students requires a lot of energy. However, student behavior does not reflect this situation because they are recipients of the services and not the givers. The failure to establish a connection between student behaviors and teacher motivation negatively affects performance.

The situation has been worsened by the belief held by some teachers that, despite their multiple years of service, their wages have not increased commensurately a fete that has made them realize that teaching is not an economically valuable profession. Gradually, some teachers have developed the idea of ​​turning to other professions. To make matters worse, some of them believe that their work is restricted by strict examination systems and aggressive education reforms, which have increased their work pressures and responsibilities. Therefore, they believe that teachers’ roles have deviated from the essence of education, thereby undermining its future.

In a different study, Gu and Lai (2012) investigated the teaching motivation of students and teachers in Mainland China and Hong Kong. It was established that the love for children was the most important motivator for understanding teacher motivation. In other words, when they see that their teaching work brings satisfactory results to the children, they feel happy and get a sense of accomplishment.

Participants also expressed the view that that they want to help children succeed and make them useful to society. This sentiment came from teachers who described their characters as “like to give”. Comparatively, extrinsic factors also influenced teacher motivation because a section of the sample said that it would be useful for teachers to provide a safe environment and a relaxed atmosphere to facilitate simple social relations. The high salaries and long vacations associated with the teaching profession was also highlighted as additional extrinsic factors that affected teacher motivation. Again, the respondents expressed a special interest in learning English because it could open new opportunities for them to succeed.

The above results show that the motivation for students and teachers in mainland China and Hong Kong to choose the teaching career is affected by a variety of factors, which present complexities in how learning is done. Relative to his discussion, some informants stated that they accidentally chose teaching majors, because their grades could not choose others at will (Simzar, Domina and Tran, 2016). However, most of the participants claimed that they took a personal initiative to enter the profession and admitted that their main motivation for doing so was rooted in their interests in teaching subjects and their love for children. Although students and teachers have varied motivations for learning, some professionals pay more attention to the benefits of teaching for future careers, and some are more inclined to stay in it because of the long vacations and high salaries attached to the career. Their main motivations tend to be the same.

In another Chinese-based study authored by Song and Xu (2019), it was established that the lack of motivation of pre-service educators has led to the shortage of modern language teachers in the country. Recently, there has been an increase the number of people that want to learn Chinese as a second language, but there is an insufficient number of qualified teachers to meet the demand. Although Chinese universities are working hard to train future teachers, many student teachers have left the teaching field after graduation. This has led to a further expansion of learning gaps in the Chinese education system. Therefore, discussing a series of factors that affect teachers’ motivation can point out the direction for solving related problems.

According to China’s education system, students have to choose their majors before entering a school and can hardly change them during their studies (Liu and Onwuegbuzie, 2014). This rule leads many students and teachers to choose their majors randomly and subconsciously. This can explain why some Chinese teachers choose teaching as a backup career. Research studies have also shown that most Chinese teachers value using teaching objects in their careers and want the opportunity to work with them. In this regard, projects related to “collaborators” constitute a strong reason for selecting career choices, especially among students who want to study English-speaking courses (Aslam et al., 2019). Collaboration is valued because second language learning and teaching is a cross-cultural field.

“Helping to improve China’s international image” has also been cited as another motivator for Chinese teachers who take part in cross-cultural studies because it reflects the sense of responsibility and patriotism of students and teachers to their country. This statement demonstrates the Chinese belief in increasing the international status and international influence of the motherland. Therefore, the value and contribution they make to society is a major psychological factor influencing their motivation. Although most studies have shown that extrinsic motivational factors have played a minimal role in helping people choose a teaching career, anecdotal evidence suggests that most Chinese teachers prefer to stay in their careers because of support from friends.

The above-mentioned findings do not mean that intrinsic factors do not influence Chinese teachers because research evidence also indicates that the professionals’ perceptions of themselves have a bearing on their self-confidence, as it is a prerequisite for them to generate teaching ideas. Student teachers in China also believe that they have a good level of knowledge and teaching skills, which can help them be qualified for teaching (McGee and Winters, 2019). A positive attitude not only allows them to choose a teaching profession, but also allows them to overcome a series of difficulties they will encounter in the teaching process.

The main differentiating factor associated with the aforementioned findings is that they were developed after exploring the influence of background information on teacher motivation. Although most studies require participants to answer the basic tenets of a research issue, the above findings were formulated after posing open questions to respondents with the aim of understanding the correlation between personal experience and teacher motivation.

This relationship emerged after evidence indicated that gender differences affected how intrinsic and extrinsic factors influenced teacher motivation in China. For example, Kohli (2019) suggests that language and teaching fields are extremely attractive to young women. Based on the relatively low incomes associated with the teaching practice, the lack of pressure from the family to earn a high wage may be the reason why they do not pay much attention to the salary level (external conditions) when choosing a career. These findings are consistent with the views of Richardson and Watt (2006) who mentioned that three demographic factors affecting teacher motivation are women, age and not income status.

Research studies have also established a clear correlation between majors and career choices. Particularly, most Chinese teachers have continued their original majors, years after being posted to schools, while a significant number of them are also participating in activities related to their original majors. In one study that investigated the teaching experiences and the number of foreign languages learned among Chinese teachers established that these two items have nothing to do with teaching motivation. “Foreigners” were the teaching objects of the research participants and the experiences of the two groups in learning affected their career choices.

Therefore, personal experiences indicated that Chinese teachers have a desire to get along with foreigners. The higher the frequency of contact, the better for them to become language teachers. From this statement, it was deduced that “frequency of contact with foreigners” and “professional” skills had an impact on teacher motivation. Therefore, the second conclusion from the study is that some seemingly related variables have never had any influence on teaching motivation, and only the two variables of “teaching object” and “undergraduate major” constitute the key teacher motivation.

Based on the results of the above-mentioned studies, table 4.1 below summarizes the similarities and differences between teachers’ motivations in China and the United Kingdom.

Table 4.1. Intrinsic motivating factors (Source: Developed by Author)

Statement

Study case

1
UK
2
UK
3
China
4
UK
5
China
6
UK
7
UK
8
China
9
China
10
China
11
China
12
UK
I want to help children succeed
I like the subject I will teach
I like working with children

The table above shows that teacher motivations in China and Britain have three things in common: the passion to help children succeed, the liking for working with children and a preference for teaching a particular subject. These motivating factors can be regarded as the main reasons for teachers to join the practice in both countries. However, factors that motivate them to stay in the profession differ as highlighted in table 4.2 below.

Table 4.2 Extrinsic motivating factors (Source: Developed by Author)

Statement

Study case

1
UK
2
UK
3
China
4
UK
5
China
6
UK
7
UK
8
China
9
China
10
China
11
China
12
UK
I can continue to use my subject.
I like classroom teaching activities
I like teaching because of the high salary
I am attracted by the security of teaching
My previous experience has influenced me
I can make contributions to society
I choose teaching by accident

The table above also reflects differences in the number of similarities and differences in the motivations of teachers in China and Britain. In other words, the differences are greater than the similarities. This outcome can be explained by the scarcity of research studies that have primarily investigated factors that motivate teachers in the UK. However, the that do focus on two aspects of teacher motivation: “wanting to continue to use their professional skills” and “enjoying classroom teaching activities.” Comparatively, Chinese studies reveal that the most commonly mentioned motivating factors are the security of teaching and its social contribution to the society. The “accidental” nature of choosing teaching as a respectable major, individual experiences and salary levels also emerged as additional motivational factors.

Discussions

As a foreign student hailing from China and studying in the UK, the above mentioned findings reinforce some of the observations made by the researcher through classroom observations. In this analysis, it is important to note that the author has participated in language and teaching courses in both China and the United Kingdom. As a future member of the teaching fraternity, the researcher participates in discussions about the impact of intrinsic and extrinsic factors on teaching effectiveness. However, in the teaching process, every teacher will encounter various discipline problems, which is almost inevitable. In the face of such problems, teachers in both countries will express anger and disappointment and will also criticize students in a similar fashion – this part of the learning process.

However, the language they use expresses the difference in their teaching motives, thereby changing students’ thinking. For example, Chinese teachers often say, “Classmates, learning knowledge is for your own sake, not for teachers. You should be responsible to yourself. Whether you take your studies seriously or not, I will get the same salary. Your grades will only affect yours. The future will not affect me.” When students realize that the main motivation for teachers’ to work comes from wages, poorly disciplined students may escalate their negative behaviors and have a negative impact on the classroom environment.

Comparatively, the attitude of British teachers is this: “Classmates, I understand that you are very hard as students. You have a long and exhausted class every day but I hope you can respect my efforts in teaching. I hope to help you learn new knowledge and master skills so that you can develop better in the future.” Such remarks may remind students to consider future plans, prompt them to overcome fatigue and burnout and rekindle their enthusiasm for learning. Therefore, the study of the similarities and differences in the motivations of the teachers of the two countries can allow teachers to conduct self-reflection and adjustment and have a more positive impact on students’ learning outcomes.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Conclusion

The aim of this research study was to analyse similarities and differences of factors affecting the motivation of student teachers in China and the United Kingdom (UK). The investigation was guided by three objectives. They focused on finding out extrinsic and intrinsic factors influencing the motivation of student teachers in Chinese and UK education systems, establishing the extent that differences in education policies, culture, and economy between China and the UK affected teachers’ motivation levels and identifying focus areas that explain differences in teachers’ motivation in both countries.

The first research objective was achieved by evaluating several studies, which showed that Chinese teachers were motivated by extrinsic factors, while their UK counterparts demonstrated increased levels of enthusiasm due to the pursuit of intrinsic motivational factors. The second objective was met after finding out that, differences in education policies, culture, and economy between China and the UK significantly affected the teaching motivations of both sets of professionals. This statement is consistent with the findings of the first objective that suggested that many Chinese teachers are influenced by extrinsic motivational factors to perform.

Particularly, poorly thought out education policies in China that give limited room for student teachers to make an informed choice on their preferred majors and the difficulty of changing their decisions midway through learning made it difficult for teachers in the UK and China to have similar motivations. This finding may explain why many Chinese teachers answered frankly that teaching might not be their first choice. However, they admitted that teaching can provide a guarantee for their lives, and they hope to find other jobs that are more satisfactory in terms of salary in the future.

Comparatively, British teachers expressed their love for teaching and their desire to stay in the industry for a long time. These differences in motives for career choices have triggered the author’s reflection on the motivations of teachers in China and the United Kingdom and ideas for further research. Nonetheless, the body of evidence analyzed in this research study suggest that there are three common factors in Chinese and British teachers’ motivation: “helping children succeed”, “interest in teaching subjects” and “like working with children”. These three widely recognized points are derived from intrinsic motivation and altruism.

They prove that teachers are generally full of enthusiasm and dedication if provided with the right tools and environment for teaching. Therefore, “children” and “subjects” are the core of their motivation to start and continue teaching. The above three similarities of teacher motivation between Chinese and UK educators may be shared by most teachers in the world because most of these motivational factors are universally recognized. However, the differences highlighted in this document are unique to British and Chinese teachers.

Differences between Chinese and British teacher motivation are that external motivational factors have less impact on British than Chinese teachers. Therefore, teachers in the United Kingdom pay more attention to factors related to the teaching profession itself, such as continuing to use subjects and classroom teaching activities, while ignoring extrinsic factors impacting the learning process. This finding means that the thoughts of Chinese teachers are rich and scattered because they constitute salary level, job security, previous experiences, social contributions of teaching and contingency as primary drivers of motivation.

Comparatively, British teachers said that they enjoyed teaching activities, while the availability of multiple teaching methods allows them to enjoy the teaching process. However, Chinese teachers do not think that this constitutes one of their teaching motives. This may be because they do not have the opportunity to get the same experience or tools in the teaching process. In fact, some Chinese teachers claimed that they once wanted to try new teaching methods, but for some reason they could not achieve it (Yuan and Zhang, 2017). Therefore, most of them have continued using traditional teaching methods, which often reduce their interest and motivation in teaching.

If school leaders and educators can be aware of this problem and give teachers appropriate autonomy, resources, and classroom atmosphere, motivation will be improved. In addition, the analysis of intrinsic and extrinsic factor impacting the enthusiasm of student teachers not only reflects the difference in education systems between China and the UK, but also shows that there may be some problems in China’s education, which need to be developed and reformed in the future.

To demonstrate the impact of extrinsic factors on the motivation of Chinese student teachers, the Chinese-based studies revealed that teachers generally considered a stable salary as a primary motivator for their work. However, British teachers hardly consider the economic benefits of teaching. Some studies even showed that although teachers know that their salaries are not as good as other professionals get, they are still willing to choose this job because of their love for it. This difference in attitude between both sets of professionals may be caused by the economic differences between China and the United Kingdom. Indeed, China is a developing country, and people often have to consider basic living needs when choosing a job.

Therefore, some Chinese teachers look at their jobs as a contingency plan for their lives, partly due to unsupportive educational policies because they do not have enough conditions to choose their favorite professions at will. Therefore, the main difference between their motivation and that of UK teachers is that British teachers live in a developed country. Consequently, they have a strong subjective willingness to perform and more choice when considering careers. In line with this freedom, they can often pursue higher-level needs, such as spiritual satisfaction.

This study has also demonstrated that cultural differences have led to varying motivations among student teachers in the two countries. When choosing a career, most Chinese student teachers will consider the contribution it brings to society and realize their own value within this matrix of utility. In this regard, they believe that their contribution will not only improve their social reputation and status, but also make them respected by others. However, such a concept rarely appears in the British teacher community. They advocate for professional equality because each profession has a certain contribution and impact on society.

Therefore, British teachers tend to make career choices based on their own preferences, and their motivation is less affected by social culture. Generally, the motivations of teachers in China and the United Kingdom are complex and mixed. They both embody altruism but due to differences in education, economy and culture between the two countries, British teachers are more strongly influenced by intrinsic motivational factors, while Chinese teachers are more likely to be affected by external factors.

Recommendations for Future Research

In the current study, factors influencing the motivation of teachers in the UK and China have been explored but these studies are not a direct comparison of teacher motivation in China and the United Kingdom. Therefore, the results obtained from relevant analysis may not be accurate enough to generalize across both education systems. In other words, the evidence presented in this research study is indicative.

Relative to this assertion, Adcock and Collier (2001) believe that only proper funding and scientific research can prove the real reason for motivating teachers. In order to make up for this deficiency, a better study is to do a real experiment in the future. To this end, a proposed questionnaire is provided in appendix 1, in Chinese and English, for carrying out a similar primary research investigation. In-depth analysis of data is not only conducive to enhancing teacher motivation and improving teacher satisfaction, but also beneficial to the development of student motivation and supplement of professional shortages.

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Appendix

Teacher Motivation Questionnaire (English Version)

Dear teacher:

This questionnaire is designed to explore the motivations of teachers, focusing on the reasons why teachers choose their professions and the reasons for continuing teaching. Studying teacher motivation is not only conducive to recruiting and retaining teachers, but also improving teachers’ satisfaction with their jobs. It can be guaranteed that the answers you provide are anonymous and confidential. Please answer according to the actual situation.

Part 1: Background Information (single choice)

  • What is your age?
    • Below 20 years old
    • 20-30 years old
    • 30-40 years old
    • 40-50 years old
    • 50 years old and above
  • What is your gender?
    • Male
    • Female
  • What is your major?
    • Teaching major
    • Non-teaching major
  • What is your educational background?
    • Bachelor or below
    • Bachelor
    • Master
    • Doctor
    • Doctor or above
  • What is your teaching length?
    • Less than 5 years
    • 5-10 years
    • 10-15 years
    • 15-20 years
    • More than 20 years

Part 2: Choosing a career motivation (single choice)

Please make marks to the following statements.

Completely disagree (1 point), disagree (2 points), indifferent (3 points), agree (4 points), completely agree (5 points).

  • I like children/teenagers
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I like to work with children/teenagers
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I want to help children/teenagers succeed
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I want to be a role model for children/teenagers
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I like my teaching subjects
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I want to continue to use my profession at work
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I want to improve my professional knowledge and skills
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I am eager to use my good level of knowledge at work
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I like to share knowledge with others
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I like classroom teaching activities
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I can influence people
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I can contribute to society
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I have always wanted to be a teacher
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I think teaching is beneficial
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I think giving can bring me a sense of accomplishment
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • My previous learning experience has affected me
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • My past teacher made a good impression of me
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I think teachers have a heavy sense of responsibility
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I can gain confidence in the teaching process
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I can get intellectual stimulation from teaching
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I think my character is suitable to be a teacher
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I enjoy the authority and leadership of teachers
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I have a good relationship with my colleagues
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • My leader helps and supports my work
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I recognize that teachers have good welfare protection
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I am attracted by the safety of the campus environment
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I enjoy the long vacation of the teaching profession
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I like the salary stability of the teaching profession
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I got positive comments from students
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I chose to teach by accident
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I like simple social relationships
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I enjoy the social status of a teacher
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I saw the growth of students
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I think teachers have good career prospects
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • My family encourages me to engage in teaching
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I think teachers provide opportunities for the development of other professions
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • My family situation requires me to be a teacher
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • I hope to make up for the lack of job demand
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5

Part 3: Motivation for continuing teaching (multiple choice)

Please choose five answers from the following items.

  • What aspects are you most satisfied with in your current teaching work?
    • Children/Teenagers
    • Colleagues
    • Leadership
    • Subjects
    • Intelligence stimulation
    • Knowledge level
    • Skills enhancement
    • Teaching activities
    • Social contribution
    • Social status
    • Responsibility
    • Achievement
    • Authority And leadership
    • Welfare guarantee
    • Holiday
    • Salary
    • Campus environment
    • Student evaluation
    • Student achievement
    • Career prospects
    • Family encouragement
    • Self-confidence
    • Work experience

Thank you for your answers to this questionnaire. If there are any shortcomings in the questionnaire, you are welcome to point it out for improvement.

Teacher Motivation Questionnaire (Chinese Version)

教师动机调查问卷

尊敬的老师:

这个调查问卷是为了探究教师动机而设计的,主要围绕教师们选择职业的原因和继续教学的原因展开。研究教师动机不仅有利于招聘和挽留教师,还可以提高教师对工作的满意度。可以保证,您提供的回答是匿名且保密的。请您务必按照实际情况回答。

第一部分:背景信息(单选题)

  • 请问您的年龄是?
    • 20岁以下
    • 20-30岁
    • 30-40 岁
    • 40岁-50 岁
    • 50岁以上
  • 请问您的性别是?
    • 男性
    • 女性
  • 请问您的专业是?
    • 教学专业
    • 非教学专业
  • 请问您的学历是?
    • 学士以下
    • 学士
    • 硕士
    • 博士
    • 博士以上
  • 请问您的教学长度是?
    • 5年以下
    • 5-10年
    • 10-15年
    • 15-20年
    • 20年以上

第二部分:选择职业动机(单选题)

请您对以下各项陈述做出评分。

完全不同意(1分),不同意(2分),无所谓(3分),同意(4分),完全同意(5分)

  • 我喜欢孩子们/青少年
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我喜欢与孩子们/青少年们一起工作
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我想帮助孩子们/青少年们成功
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我想成为孩子们/青少年们的榜样
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我喜欢我的教学科目
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我想要在工作中继续使用我的专业
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我希望提升我的专业知识和技能
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我渴望在工作中使用我良好的知识水平
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我喜欢与其他人分享知识
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我喜欢课堂教学活动
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我可以对人们产生影响
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我可以对社会做出贡献
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我一直有成为老师的愿望
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我认为教学是有益的
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我认为付出可以带给我成就感
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我以前的学习经历影响了我
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我过去的老师对我产生了良好的印象
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我认为教师的责任感很重
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我可以在教学过程中获得信心
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我可以从教学中获得智力刺激
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我认为自己的性格适合成为老师
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我享受教师的权威性和领导性
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我与我的同事们关系良好
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我的领导帮助和支持我的工作
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我认可教师拥有的良好的福利保障
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我为校园环境的安全性所吸引
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我享受教师职业拥有的长假期
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我喜欢教学职业的工资稳定
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我得到了学生的积极评价
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我选择教学是偶然的
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我喜欢简单的社会关系
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我享受教师的社会地位
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我看到了学生的成长
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我认为老师的职业前景很好
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我的家人鼓励我从事教学工作
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我认为教师对其他职业的发展提供了机会
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我的家庭情况需要我成为一名老师
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5
  • 我希望弥补工作需求的不足
    • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5

第三部分:继续教学动机(多选题)

请您在下列各项中选出五个答案。

  • 您对哪些方面最为满意在目前的教学工作中?
    • 孩子们/青少年
    • 同事
    • 领导
    • 科目
    • 智力刺激
    • 知识水平
    • 技能提升
    • 教学活动
    • 社会贡献
    • 社会地位
    • 责任感
    • 成就感
    • 权威性和领导性
    • 福利保障
    • 假期
    • 工资
    • 校园环境
    • 学生评价
    • 学生成绩
    • 职业前景
    • 家人鼓励
    • 自信心
    • 工作经验

衷心感谢您对本调查问卷的回答。如果问卷有任何不足之处,欢迎您指出以便改进。

Motivation of Student Teachers in China and the UK
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YourDissertation. "Motivation of Student Teachers in China and the UK." April 29, 2022. https://yourdissertation.com/dissertation-examples/motivation-of-student-teachers-in-china-and-the-uk/.

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YourDissertation. 2022. "Motivation of Student Teachers in China and the UK." April 29, 2022. https://yourdissertation.com/dissertation-examples/motivation-of-student-teachers-in-china-and-the-uk/.

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YourDissertation. (2022) 'Motivation of Student Teachers in China and the UK'. 29 April.

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