Adaptive and maladaptive motives for becoming a teacher

Marjon Fokkens-Bruinsma*, Esther T. Canrinus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


In order to counter what appears to be a problem for many OECD countries, namely the growing shortage of teachers, it will be crucial to retain pre-service teachers and keep them committed to teaching. Their motivation for becoming a teacher is believed to be relevant in this respect. This study investigated the importance ascribed by 136 Dutch pre-service teachers to multiple motives, using the Factors Influencing Teaching Choice (FIT-Choice) theory as a basis. It then investigated how these motives are related to the effort these pre-service teachers plan to invest in their profession, their planned involvement in the profession and their current commitment to the profession. Finally, the results were used to distinguish adaptive motives for becoming a teacher (motives that are positively related to effort, involvement and commitment) and maladaptive motives for becoming a teacher (motives that are negatively related to these constructs). The most important motive identified for becoming a teacher was the pre-service teachers' belief in their teaching abilities. The least important motive was their perception of teaching as a fallback career.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-19
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Education for Teaching
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • motivation to become a teacher
  • attraction and retention of teachers
  • FIT-Choice theory
  • adaptive and maladaptive motives
  • professional commitment

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