Finally, I am interested in whether or not there is a trickle-down effect from leftist or rightist politics style at the provincial and federal levels.
1.3.1 There are two major objectives for this research. The first is to compare the level of motivation among secondary school teachers under the Vancouver British Columbia School District in Canada by their socio-demographic and organizational factors. My hypothesis in advance of investigating this is that there are indeed demographic factors that will have a significant effect on overall levels of motivation, although I do not yet know what these may be and I am prepared (as any good researcher must be) to find that my initial ideas are wrong. For example, I believe that I will find that female teachers are, on the whole, more motivated than male teachers because it is still the case that women have fewer career paths open to them than men do and so they will be more willing to accept the problems within the teaching profession. (I am not arguing that they should accept such problems more willingly than do men, just that I believe that they will.) But I do understand that I may be entirely wrong in this initial assumption.
1.3.2 My second objective in carrying out this research, after having determined the levels of motivation among secondary teachers working under the Vancouver British Columbia School District, is to recommend the areas for improvement. If the level of teacher motivation can be improved (as noted above) then not only will the teachers find their jobs to be more rewarding, but students (and their families) and school districts will benefit as well. Indeed, such is the importance and power of public education that it is not an exaggeration to say that improving the motivation of teachers has beneficial effects on the whole of society.
1.4 Research Contributions
1.4.1 The primary contribution of this research is to provide a high level of detail about teacher motivation levels. One way to assess teacher motivation is to examine tracher attrition rates. While the phenomenon of high rates of teacher attrition is well-known, the specific mechanisms involved are not necessarily well understood. Or rather, the mechanics of how to address lack of teacher motivation are not sufficiently well understood to remedy the problems. Teaching can be a very isolating profession given that teachers spend the majority of their time with their students and not with other teachers, which means that often each teacher has to try to motivate himself or herself alone. By aggregating data on a number of different teachers, I hope to be able to demonstrate broad trends in teacher motivation that will allow each individual teacher to learn from collective wisdom.
1.4.2 The second research contribution that I wish to make is to help tease out the connections between teacher motivation and larger social forces. As noted above, teacher motivation tends to be framed as a problem of the individual. But while it is individual teachers who may face daily struggles with motivation, I believe that it is important to remember that no teacher is an island. Institutional levels of support from provincial and federal governments affect levels of teacher motivation, I believe, because the degree of resources that are available to teachers (including everything from funding for mentoring programs, to the provision of mental health services to teachers, to class size, etc.) affect their levels of motivation. This is an aspect of teacher motivation that is generally overlooked and so I propose to examine the important connections between teacher motivation and larger political and social trends.
(For you to do)
1.6 Operational Definitions of the Terms
Most of the terms that I am using in this research I apply in their commonsensical definitions. For example, when I refer to "schools," or "school districts" or "provincial" or "federal" government I am using these words in their everyday meaning. Other words I am using in nearly their most standard sense. For example, when I refer to "teachers" I mean not only classroom teachers but also other professional individuals who provide instruction in the classroom such as teacher aides. I exclude from the category of teaching those offering incidental instructional services (such as a parent who comes in to provide an hour's lecture on a career path, for example).
I have included substitute teachers in my definition of "teacher" although my focus is on those who are full-time staff teachers. This is not because I do not recognize the value of substitute teachers, who work under truly adverse conditions a lot of the time. However, I do believe that there are distinct differences between the motivations of substitute teachers and full-time teachers. I believe that it would provide very interesting results to compare and contrast the motivations of substitute and full-time teachers. However, for the purposes of this research I am emphasizing the motivation of full-time teachers while also considering the motivations of substitutes.
The primary term that I am using in this research that I do believe needs to be defined is that of "motivation" because this is a term that means scores of different things. I am taking what I call an eclectic approach to the idea of motivation in that I draw from a number of different models. I believe that motivation is not a homogeneous force in human nature but is a combination of different types of forces. One level of motivation exists on a behavioral level. (This is akin to some of the first formal psychological models of motivation, following work done by Pavlov and Skinner.) In this model, people do certain things because they are rewarded for that behavior and avoid doing other things because they are punished for that behavior. This is certainly an element of motivation for teachers, as it is for all people (Vroom, 1964). This is linked to biological models of motivation that argue that we tend to be motivated by physiological states, so that we act to (for example) reduce the physical signs of stress such as increased heart rate.
Nohria & Wilson (2001) define an essential element of motivation as being a part of a social group. In this model of motivation, which I also incorporate into this research, people tend to imitate positive role models because by doing so they increase the positive reinforcement that they get and feel to be more fully integrated into a group that is important to them.
I believe that there is also a cognitive element to motivation. By this I mean that while part of what motivates us may be (almost) purely biological and part may involve emotions and feelings of self-worth, another important part is how we think about and understand our world. Part of how humans in general stay motivated is by experiencing things that are new and therefore more interesting. As humans, our brains "like" to be given new data, new ways of looking at things, new problems to solve (McClelland, 1985).
I believe that this last element of motivation is generally not given sufficient attention in studies of teacher motivation. Because teachers are educators I believe that there may be assumptions that they are constantly learning new things. However, teaching tends to be far more repetition than it is an engagement with novelty. Because of this I believe that many teachers may begin to lose their motivation relatively quickly as they teach the same thing fur or five or six times a day and do so year after year.
1.7 Research Hypothesis
The study was designed to examine the overall level of motivation among secondary teachers under the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada school system by adding both hygiene and job aspects such as recognition, responsibility, growth and advancement, work itself, supervision, interpersonal relationship, working condition, job type and salary.
Chapter 2 - Literature Review
This chapter presents an overview of the literature that is relevant to the current research, thus allowing my research and findings to build upon what has already been examined and analyzed by other researchers. This should -- I hope -- allow me to avoid unnecessary repetition and reiteration of well-established facts and models. This research has been organized in the following way:
2.1 Background of the Education system in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
2.2 General Overview of the Canadian people's belief of the education system in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
2.3 Contextual Study.
2.3.1 Historical Development of Teachers in Canada.
220.127.116.11 Teacher Certification Requirements in Canada.
18.104.22.168 Canadian Government Policy on Retaining Teachers.
22.214.171.124 Canadian Government Programs in supporting teachers in the work place.
126.96.36.199 Canadian Government programs for professional development for teachers.
188.8.131.52 Canadian Government Resource & Support Services for teachers to maintain quality working relationships with administration, students and community.
2.4 Background of Vancouver School District.
2.5 Significance of Motivation.
2.6 Concepts, Definitions and Theories of Motivation.
2.7 Use of independent and Dependent Variables in…