Social and cognitive influences on a teacher candidate's choice to pursue math education
There is a crisis across the United States as schools are seeing a shortage of mathematics teachers. While school districts are working on new ways to recruit teacher candidates, the heart of the problem lies in the decline in students entering secondary mathematics teacher preparation programs. This study evaluates the social and cognitive influences on a student's choice to pursue a degree in secondary mathematics education. An electronic survey was given to 63 students across the state of Missouri in the first three years of a math teacher preparation program. In the survey, students ranked the level of social influences (teacher encouragement, family support, and peer influences) and the level of cognitive influences (self-efficacy, growth mindset, and outcome expectations). Self-efficacy was the largest influence by a statistically significant difference. Teacher encouragement was significantly found to be the largest social influence. This is important because it implies that schools have the largest opportunity to increase the number of secondary math teachers.
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