American Journal of Educational Research
ISSN (Print): 2327-6126 ISSN (Online): 2327-6150 Website: Editor-in-chief: Ratko Pavlović
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2017, 5(7), 683-693
DOI: 10.12691/education-5-7-1
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Hierarchy of Needs of Persistent Mathematics and Science Teachers

Rinat Arviv-Elyashiv1, and Adiv Gal2

1Research Authority, Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology and the Arts, Tel-Aviv, Israel

2Sciences Department, Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology and the Arts, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Pub. Date: July 01, 2017

Cite this paper:
Rinat Arviv-Elyashiv and Adiv Gal. Hierarchy of Needs of Persistent Mathematics and Science Teachers. American Journal of Educational Research. 2017; 5(7):683-693. doi: 10.12691/education-5-7-1


In many countries, the shortage of teachers — mainly of mathematics or science teachers — has become an alarming phenomenon over the years. Many studies have sought to explore the roots of this phenomenon. Whereas most studies have focused on the magnitude and determinants of this shortage, the purpose of this study was to investigate the factors that motivate individuals’ decision to become mathematics or science teachers, and the mechanism that supports their continuous engagement in the profession. Data was collected through either a non-anonymous phone call or an online survey. The survey questionnaire consists of four parts. The first part included background information. In the second part, participants rate their motives for selecting teacher training in general and teacher training in mathematics or science in particular. The third part includes items concerning professional identity and the fourth part deals with participants’ attitudes towards the shortage of mathematics and science teachers. Findings indicated that teaching-career decisions are mostly related to intrinsic motivations and personal tendencies. Many participants chose to become teachers as a result of idealistic motives, involving a sense of a mission, the desire to work with young generation, as well as the wish to experience professional fulfilment and develop special interests and proficiency in mathematics or science. Moreover, these features are known to predict positive professional engagement. High levels of internal motivation tend to increase teachers’ sense of satisfaction and appreciation, professional efficacy, and confidence in their career decision. The results suggest that retention among mathematics and science teachers may be classified through a pyramid of needs, which has three layers. The first layer, the basis of the pyramid is comprised of personal needs embedded with intrinsic motivations. The second layer involves the extrinsic motivations, meaning the occupational needs. Decent occupational conditions are needed as a security net, to ensure the continuous development of a caring, enriching and meaningful approach to the educational endeavour. The third layer encompasses the aspects of professional engagement - professional identity needs.

teachers shortage teacher career decisions mathematics and science teachers hierarchy of need

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