Funding: National Science Foundation
The purpose of this research is to study the role of teacher motivation in professional development in math and science. Though the research is intended to generalize to professional development more broadly, the specific populations to be studied are Math Science Partnerships (MSPs) funded by the National Science Foundation.
MSP teacher professional development (PD) interventions are designed to increase teacher content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, assuming that the resulting changes in instructional practices will boost student learning and performance. In addition to the focus on teacher knowledge and practices, there are also urgent calls to examine the role of teacher motivation in PD. Goldsmith and Schifter (1997), for example, suggested that descriptions of teacher development need to add accounts of individual motivational and dispositional factors. Boyd et al. (2003) highlighted the critical role of teacher motivation in professional development as one of their four key recommendations:
A primary challengefor large-scale professional development projects lies in attracting teachers and sustaining their involvement so that they can receive thefull dose of professional development.
And yet, the most recent work on PD in math and science does not explicitly include motivation. Motivational concerns, while often alluded to in passing (e.g., with regard to participation incentives or teacher confidence), thus remain a critical yet understudied component of teacher PD interventions.
The overarching goals for the project are to systematically apply current knowledge of teacher motivation to the domain of teacher professional development (PD). Meeting that challenge involves specifying the varying ways that motivation functions in the PD process, which includes the motivation-related factors that determine whether teachers will participate in PD and the motivational consequences of that participation. It also necessitates creating and modifying assessment tools to operationalize these constructs.
The UCI component of the project will involve data analysis and management of an existing data set and the recruitment of approximately 150 teacher participants in the first year of the project.