Initial motivations for teaching: Comparison between preservice teachers in the United States and China

Emily Lin, Qingmin Shi, Jian Wang, Shaoan Zhang, Liu Hui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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This study examined similar and differing initial motivations to teach between 257 US and 542 Chinese preservice teachers using the recently validated FIT-Choice scale. In both countries, participants were motivated to enter teaching because of their social utility values. US preservice teachers reported significantly higher motivations from social utility values, teaching abilities, intrinsic career value, and prior teaching and learning experiences, and lower fallback career motivations. While both viewed teaching as low in return, Chinese participants rated teaching to be low in demand whereas US participants perceived it as high in demand. Despite this, US participants were more satisfied with their career choice. Subtle similarities and differences between the two countries are discussed in relation to social and cultural-value differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-248
Number of pages22
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012



  • career choice
  • comparative education
  • preservice teachers
  • teacher motivation

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