Attracting Prospective STEM Teachers Using Realistic Job Previews: A Mixed Methods Study

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JournalEUROPEAN JOURNAL OF TEACHER EDUCATION
DateSubmitted - 8 Aug 2020
DateAccepted/In press - 9 May 2021
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 23 May 2021
Number of pages24
Pages (from-to)1-24
Early online date23/05/21
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Attracting the best possible applicants into initial teacher education (ITE) programmes has been a long-standing challenge in the UK and internationally, and the situation is especially urgent in STEM-related subjects. The purpose of this article is to report the development and implementation of an online teacher attraction intervention—realistic job previews (RJPs)—based on person-environment (and person-vocation) fit theory. Study 1 reports the online administration of an RJP consisting of four animated classroom scenarios requiring participant responses, followed by experienced teacher feedback and a tailored fit message to 111 university students in STEM-related fields. Results showed a significant relationship between RJP performance and interest in a teaching career, even after controlling for prior career intentions (i.e., intentions to pursue a career in teaching). Study 2 reports findings from individual interviews with 14 university students studying STEM-related subjects on the factors contributing to career-decision making, especially regarding teaching as a career. The 16 codes were distilled into three themes: the role of personal reflection, critical influences on career decisions, and patterns of change. We conclude with suggestions for implementation of RJPs as a supplement to current attraction and recruitment approaches.

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