CE28 - Cognition, éducation, formation tout au long de la vie

Beginning Teachers’ Motivation Trajectory: a developmental approach to understand its evolution during the transition from initial training to the first years in the profession – BTM-Traj

Submission summary

While the French Ministry of Education has engaged a massive policy of teacher’s recruitment since 2013, the index figure published in 2017 by the Senate show that the number of resigning preservice teachers in the first degree has tripled since 2012. At the same time, the overall number of resigning teachers has doubled in seven years, from 638 for 2009-2010 to 1180 for 2015-2016. This increase in resignations coupled with the deterioration of the ratio between the number of posts and the number of candidates suggests a recruitment crisis that is manifest in difficulties in replacing absent teachers. Cnesco (2016) published a report proposing an analysis of the attractiveness of the teaching profession and showed that the discrepancy between preservice teachers’ representations and the reality of working conditions is problematic. Although providing helpful and valuable information about the reasons for choosing a teaching career, the research does not touch upon the processes that effectively predict teachers’ professional engagement over time. As the attention of researchers in developmental psychology and educational psychology is more focused on the difficulties that teachers have in keeping students motivated to learn (e.g., Leroy, 2009; Leroy & Bressoux, 2016), the question of teachers’ motivation is still insufficiently documented in France.
Attempting to understand the processes underlying professional engagement and teachers’ motivation over their career should become a structuring issue in educational policies as these variables have strong implications on teachers’ career development trajectories (Richardson & Watt, 2014), on the retention rate during the first years of practice (OECD, 2014), on absenteeism and turnover (Jesus & Conboy, 2001), but also on the quality of their teaching practices in class (Leroy et al., 2007, 2013). Within the field of motivation and occupational choice, the Eccles’ Expectancy Value Theory (Eccles, 2009) proposed that vocational choices are directly influenced by one’s beliefs in one’s own abilities, expectancy for success and by the value one attaches to the task. Thus, the Expectancy Value Theory framework could provide an integrated model to guide a systematic investigation into the primary motivation of why people choose to become teachers. The mismatch between aspirations and self-perception on the one hand, and environmental characteristics on the other hand, provide a basis for understanding difficulties encountered by some teachers to adjust to their new occupational environment (Eccles & Midgley, 1989).
The general objective of BTM-Traj project will be to identify the different motivational trajectories of teachers’ early career to investigate whether there are categories of novice teachers who would be less likely to adjust to environmental demands and who would be more at risk of leaving the profession early. There are three sub-objectives: 1) Better understanding how the motivation of novice teachers evolves during their early years and how these different trajectories jointly evolve with their job satisfaction and their professional development trajectories. 2) To uncover the environmental (i.e. perceived pressure vs. supportive working conditions) and individual factors (i.e. value, expectation and self-efficacy ) involved in explaining belonging to different motivational and career trajectories in order to identify the factors responsible for early resignation and for retention in the profession. 3) To study how developmental trajectories of teacher motivation contribute to the explanation of the teaching practices’ effectiveness (supportive vs. controlling motivational climate) in terms of students’ motivation (motivational regulations, or student’s goals). Thus, we assume that the lack of congruence between teachers’ aspirations and the environmental demands would explain the decline of teachers' engagement and ultimately the risk of early resignation.

Project coordination

Nadia Leroy (Laboratoire de Recherche sur les Apprentissages en contexte)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


Université de Laval / Département des fondements et pratiques en éducation
LARAC Laboratoire de Recherche sur les Apprentissages en contexte

Help of the ANR 170,730 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: October 2019 - 48 Months

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