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Title: Understanding the motivations to become a public humanities or social studies secondary school teacher in Singapore: a mixed methods based study
Authors: Kwa, Kai Xiang
Keywords: Social sciences::Political science
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Kwa, K. X. (2022). Understanding the motivations to become a public humanities or social studies secondary school teacher in Singapore: a mixed methods based study. Doctoral thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: In the education sector, Singapore stands out as a notable case study. This is partly given that its education system has regularly produced students who top international literacy assessments on a myriad of subjects, perhaps most significantly critical and analytical thinking. Furthermore, given Singapore's small geographical size and its current transition to a knowledge-based economy, its investments in human capital by inculcating particularly its secondary level students with critical thinking and communication (soft) skills, are highly important. Underpinning this inculcation of skills are humanities and social studies secondary school teachers in Singapore. Therefore, a sustained and sufficiently large cohort of such teachers are essential in supporting the creation of a Singapore workforce that can facilitate the transition to a knowledge-based economy. This raises the issue of recruiting current and future humanities or social studies secondary school teachers; thereby positioning the inquiry on factors influencing the motivations of individuals to become such teachers to be an important topic within the context of Singapore's economic transition. Yet, research on these factors are notably lacking in the education literature and the public policy literature more generally. In order to address this gap, this dissertation utilises a merged expectancy-value and self-determination (EVT-SDT) conceptual framework to conduct a mixed-methods (i.e. survey and a follow-up interview) based study on the factors influencing individuals to become humanities or social studies secondary school teachers in Singapore. By using the factors influencing teaching decision (FIT) survey that is modified to suit the Singapore context, a total of 170 humanities and social studies secondary school teacher trainees at Singapore's National Institute of Education were surveyed on their motivations to become teachers. From the survey, dominant motivations included material (e.g. job security and salary), non-material (e.g. service to society; contributing to adolescent welfare) and intrinsic (e.g. passion for the job) factors. In order to provide a more in-depth interrogation of the survey findings, a follow-up interview of 30 out of the 170 survey participants was conducted. From the interview, motivation factors pertained to individual notions of education (e.g. beliefs and values imposed by the interviewees on education) and social identity (e.g. the interviewees’ perceived social roles in relation to Singapore society). By drawing from these survey and interview findings, this dissertation found considerable empirical validation for the modified FIT survey as well as the EVT-SDT conceptual framework. Also, broadly, the survey and interview findings largely align with previous findings on material drivers (e.g. job salary) and non-material drivers (e.g. service to society) of PSM. Furthermore, a recruitment framework designed specifically for humanities and social studies secondary school teacher recruiters to better hire such teachers who can inculcate critical thinking and soft skills in their students for the knowledge-based economy, is proposed. Finally, in summary, future research directions call for more mixed-methods based teacher motivation studies in the Asian context; and future policy directions call for more investments in humanities and social studies secondary school teacher recruitment and improving the humanities and social studies secondary level curriculum to better prepare the future workforce for the knowledge-based economy.
DOI: 10.32657/10356/158664
Schools: School of Social Sciences 
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SSS Theses

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