Science teachers and national board certification: motivation to participate and teacher change
Dennis, Claudia Glenn
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The purpose of this study was to obtain a better understanding of how science teachers are motivated to participate in the National Board (NB) certification process. This study was designed to examine the nature of motivation, rewards and accomplishment and how they are conceptualized and dealt with by teachers across the period of time from considering candidacy to beyond completion of the NB certification process. Also, investigated in this study was teacher change as a result of participation in the NB certification process. This study was a multiple case study based on a social constructivist framework. The participants of this study were nine high school science teachers who were either participating or who had participated in the NB certification process previously. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews and from researcher field notes. Data analysis was concluded using the constant comparative method with Atlas/ti as an aid. The results showed that five major categories of teacher motivation for beginning the NB certification process. These five major categories of motivation were money, improving teaching, colleague support, challenge, and prestige/recognition/validation. Some participants described changes in their motivations and changes in their teaching practices after becoming involved in the process. This study provides implications for those promoting and for those considering involvement in the NB certification process and for research. In their effort to increase the number of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs), promoters of the process should consider the impact of the teacher motivations to participate identified in this study. Those individuals thinking about endorsing or participating in the process need to consider the data in this study that support other studies proposing NB certification as an effective means for improving teaching and carrying out educational reform. An implication for Georgia teachers who become certified after July 1, 2006, is their decision to apply for NB certification may be influenced by new state legislation that limits their teaching only in high-needs schools in order to receive the salary increase associated with accomplishing NB certification. Future research needs to include interviews with the participants in this study regarding their opinions of the revised reward structure.
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