Interpreting ambivalence regarding motivation for teaching among student-teachers

May Hung May CHENG, Yee Fan Sylvia TANG, Yan Ni Annie CHENG

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research suggests that student–teachers graduate from initial teacher education programmes with varying degrees of motivation to teach. In recent literature, there are student–teachers described to be ambivalent regarding motivation for teaching. More understanding about these cases will inform the design of initial teacher education programmes and the provision of measures to support beginning teachers. Moreover, in-depth research is required such that the meaning of ambivalence regarding motivation for teaching can be better defined. This article reports findings from a 4-year longitudinal study on student–teachers engaged in an initial teacher education programme. Cases showing ambivalence regarding motivation for teaching are identified. The article provides the meaning of ambivalence and analyses the programme experience of student–teachers who are ambivalent regarding teaching. The findings inform us as to whether ambivalence changes at the beginning, the end and/or during the teacher education programme, and the factors affecting the perceptions of ambivalence. The factors are concern about career prospects; lack of confidence in their ability to fulfil the role of a teacher; and influence from the social context. The analysis suggests that ambivalence regarding motivation to teach needs to be addressed beyond the initial teacher education programme level. Implications for ways to build up student–teachers’ confidence and enhance their motivation for teaching are discussed. Copyright © 2014 De La Salle University.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-156
JournalThe Asia-Pacific Education Researcher
Issue number1
Early online dateFeb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Cheng, M. M. H., Tang, S. Y. F., & Cheng, A. Y. N. (2015). Interpreting ambivalence regarding motivation for teaching among student-teachers. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 24(1), 147-156.


  • Teaching motivation
  • Professional learning
  • Initial teacher education


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