Attitudes of University of Zambia Pre-service Trainee Teachers towards Teaching as a Career
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Knowledge regarding pre-service trainee teachers’ attitudes towards teaching as a career is necessary when planning ways of how to train, recruit and retain professionally trained teachers. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to determine the attitudes of University of Zambia pre-service trainee teachers towards teaching as a career. The study had the following objectives: to investigate the attitudes of University of Zambia pre-service trainee teachers towards teaching as a career; to establish whether there was a relationship between the attitudes of University of Zambia pre-service trainee teachers towards teaching as a career ,on one hand, and gender, age and programme of study, on the other hand, and to find out the major factors that influenced University of Zambia pre-service trainee teachers not to pursue a teaching career after graduating. The research design used in this study was a descriptive survey. The study was conducted among fourth year undergraduate pre-service trainee teachers at The University of Zambia enrolled in BA Ed, B Ed (SP) and BSc Ed programmes in the 2010 academic year. The research sample was chosen using non-proportional stratified random sampling procedure and data were collected from 264 pre-service trainee teachers. An ‘Attitude scale towards teaching as a career’ and a questionnaire were used to collect data. Quantitative data were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) while qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis. The findings of this study revealed that, generally, pre-service trainee teachers at the University of Zambia had a negative attitude towards teaching as a career. It was found out that many (76.1%) of the participants in the study did not choose the teacher education programme as their first programme of choice. The study further showed that a large percentage (52.3%) of pre-service trainee teachers at the University of Zambia did not plan to join the teaching profession upon graduating and the majority (57.7 %) of those who indicated that they had plans of joining the teaching profession after graduation did not plan to remain in the teaching profession until retirement age. The study also showed that there was no statistically significant difference in attitudes towards teaching as a career between male and female pre-service trainee teachers. Further, the study revealed that, generally, programme of study had no influence on the attitudes of University of Zambia pre-service trainee teachers towards teaching as a career. On the other hand, it was discovered that there was a relationship between pre-service trainee teachers’ attitudes towards teaching as a career and the age of the participants. As a group, participants between 30 and 34 years of age had a positive attitude towards teaching as a career while those aged between 20 and 29 years had a negative attitude.Pre-service trainee teachers who participated in this study indicated that nature of the teaching job, low pay and poor working conditions in the teaching profession, low status of teachers in the country, lack of attractive career pathways and negative attitudes of university lecturers and fellow students towards the teaching profession were some of the key factors that influenced their decision not to pursue a teaching career after graduating from the university.Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations were made. The government of Zambia and the general public should imitate the developed countries in the way they appreciate, recognize and reward teachers. Better working conditions through relatively higher salaries can help raise the professional status of teaching to a more attractive level and improve teacher recruitment as well as reduce teacher wastage. There is need for teacher educators at the University of Zambia to interview students before they are enrolled into the teacher education programmes so that they could screen out students who have a passion for teaching. Teacher educators should come up with programmes that would develop positive attitudes towards teaching in students pursuing a teacher education programme. Colleges of Education should also establish programmes that would encourage high school pupils to consider careers in teaching.
- Education