Radical changes in the content of subjects, means and methods of teaching are one of the key indicators of how information technology education has transformed in recent years. In the same way, the experience and incentive of people who decided to become information technology teachers have changed. Knowledge of how these changes affected teachers’ satisfaction with teaching can become the basis for the recruitment process and the development of professional competencies of information technology teachers. The purpose of this work is to identify motivation factors and what teachers of technological education consider especially useful and most upsetting in their work by conducting a survey among IT teachers of leading universities in Kazakhstan. In addition, the focus was on getting suggestions about the changes needed to make their work more enjoyable.

Аннотация статьи
information technology
teacher
education
motivation
Ключевые слова

1. Introduction

Student motivation is one of the most widely studied topics in the field of educational psychology in recent decades. However, the leading role of teacher motivation has been overlooked and underestimated due to the extreme focus on student motivation (Addison and Brandreth, 2008 [1]). There are only a few studies of teacher motivation that are systematic and theoretical in nature. Thus, proper attention was not given to the motivation of teachers.

It is important to understand that human resources, unlike other types of resources of organizations (financial, physical or structural), is a valuable form of asset that cannot be reproduced by competitors exactly (Lutans, Youssef-Morgan and Luthans, F., Youssef-Morgan, 2015 [8], Bakker Schaufeli, 2008 [2]). Thus, the teaching staff is a valuable resource that gives a competitive advantage to an educational institution (schools, universities, etc.).

The topic is of theoretical and practical concern because teacher motivation is work motivation in the context of education, which has a huge impact on the success of any educational institution (Jesus Lens, 2005 [9]). There are several studies proving the importance of teacher motivation for school functioning, the implementation of educational policy and student motivation. It has been argued that teachers influence students’ motivation due to the following factors: the quality of teaching, the well-being of the class and the development of student-teacher relationships, student academic performance, and improving students’ self-efficacy beliefs (Santisi et al., 2014 [11]). Therefore, it is crucial to identify and eliminate factors that negatively affect teachers and contribute to their demotivation.

The relevance of the paper is also indicated by such factors as the limitations of most studies of teacher motivation within schools and such disciplines as language learning (Erkaya, 2012; Karavas, 2010; Kassabgy, Boraie and Schmidt, 2001 [6, 10, 16]), mathematics (Kunter et al., 2008 [7]) and physical education (for example, Carson Chase, 2009; Hein et al., 2012 [3]). In this study, attention will be paid to the motivation of IT teachers of Higher Educational institutions.

During the literature review, a difference in opinion and understanding of motivation among researchers was revealed. There are many definitions and theories of motivation, and the following are widely used ones that most researchers have agreed with. Williams and Burden have identified two aspects of motivation (1997) [14]: initiating motivation (reason for action, decision-making) and supportive motivation (efforts to maintain a decision, perseverance). Dornyei and Ushioda (2001, 2011) [4, 5] divided the definition of motivation into two aspects as the direction and scale of human behavior. In other words, the reason why people decide to do something, the length of time and the diligence with which they support this activity are determined by motivation.

Looking at the source of the motivation, there are two types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is the motivation that comes from within a person and is conditioned by getting pleasure from an action or interest in the action itself. In the context of teachers, this is usually associated with working with children or intellectual stimulation. On the other hand, external motivation is something that comes from outside the individual. Extrinsic motives of teachers may be working conditions, remuneration in the form of money or punishment.

With regard to teacher motivation, a literature review led to the generally accepted definition of ”what attracts people to teaching, how long they stay in the teaching profession [...], and to what extent they are involved in their courses and the teaching profession” (Sinclair 2008, p. 37 [12]). The key dimensions are attraction, retention and concentration of attention. In accordance with their concepts of motivation, Derney and Ushioda (2011) [5] identified two aspects for motivating teachers: motivation to teach and motivation to stay in the profession. The aspect of motivation to teacher consists of four main components: 1) intrinsic motivation (some innate interest in teaching); 2) social contextual influences (the impact of external conditions and restrictions); 3) temporal dimension (considered in relation to lifelong commitment); and 4) demotivating factors (negative circumstances). It is worth noting that the ideas of Derney and Ushiod support the above definition of Sinclair. Because the second aspect defined by them (motivation to stay in the profession) includes the second and third aspects in Sinclair’s definition (constancy and aspiration). It can be concluded that the motivation of teachers is a consequence of factors that influence internal values when choosing a teaching profession and support teaching, as well as factors that affect the intensity of teacher motivation, that is, determining the effort spent on teaching.

2. Purpose and questions of the study

The purpose of this study was to study the attitude of Kazakhstani teachers of information technology in higher education to the rewards and disappointments of teaching in order to determine which features of work are sources of motivation and satisfaction, and which aspects of work are a source of dissatisfaction. The following questions were considered during the study:

  1. What are the demographic characteristics of teachers in IT education?
  2. What aspects of the work are considered the most enjoyable and rewarding for teachers?
  3. What do IT education teachers find the most frustrating moment of teaching?
  4. In their opinion, what changes are needed to reduce disappointing factors?
  5. Is there a relationship between teacher satisfaction and demographic variables (age, gender)?

The results of this study will enhance the country’s higher education system by creating a better understanding of the characteristics and motivation of IT teachers in higher educational institutions of Kazakhstan. The results can be used by university administrations and policymakers to create policies aimed at reinforcing aspects that lead to increased motivation and improving undesirable working conditions. The small number of studies aimed at studying these issues in the context of Kazakhstan provides us with an opportunity to fill the gap in this area.

3. Methodology

This study used a three-part questionnaire based on a questionnaire developed by Wright and Custer (1998) [15] and a Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) created by Weiss et al. (1967) [13]. Thus, the work consisted of the following sections: (a) a demographic section, (b) a section of three open-ended questions, and (c) a short version of the MSQ questionnaire.

The first part of the document aims to collect demographic variables such as gender, age, level of education, teaching experience, university size, subjects taught, and membership in professional associations.

In the next section, information was requested to find out how teachers perceive aspects of their work. We asked the teachers to give three answers to each question. The following three questions were presented:

  1. Please list the three most important and enjoyable aspects of your work. What would you say in a situation where you need to attract someone to your profession as an IT teacher at a university?
  2. Please identify the three most unpleasant aspects of your work. What might make you think about changing careers?
  3. What measures and changes would help you improve the above-mentioned negative aspects of work?

A short version of the MSQ questionnaire was used to measure the job satisfaction of 40 pedagogues. This tool is widely used around the world and in various sectors to measure job satisfaction, including the education sector. For 40 years, its reliability and validity have been proven. The short version of the MSQ that we used consists of twenty aspects and five elements of satisfaction according to the five-point Likert scale (in the range from 1 to 5, where 1 is very dissatisfied and 5 is very satisfied). Each aspect can be represented by only one element of satisfaction. Using a short MSQ, three satisfaction scales were measured: internal job satisfaction (working conditions and how people relate to the specifics of work tasks), external job satisfaction (environmental conditions related to job characteristics that are external to work) and overall job satisfaction.

4. Findings

The population of the study was predominantly male (60%). And approximately 32,5% of the teachers fell within 36-40 years of age (Table 1) and had taught for 3-9 years (Table 2). The majority of the teachers (65%) taught at the universities for third-year students. The courses taught by the outstanding teachers and offered at their schools are shown in Table Computer technologies and communication technologies were the courses most frequently taught by the teachers. Architectural drafting, Emerging technologies were the courses least frequently taught.

Table 1

Age Distribution of Teachers in Sample

Age Range

n

%

25 or less

6

15

26-30

4

10

31-35

4

10

36-40

13

32,5

41-45

4

10

46-50

5

12,5

51-55

2

5

56-60

2

5

60 or more

0

0

n=40

 

 

Table 2

Years of Teaching Experience

Years of Teaching Experience

n

%

less than 1

2

5

1-3

9

22,5

3-9

13

32,5

10-15

11

27,5

15+

5

12,5

Table 3

Years Planning to Continue Teaching

no. years

n

%

less than 5

10

25

6-10

10

25

11-15

14

35

16-20

3

7,5

21-25

0

0

26-30

3

7,5

Table 4

Classes Taught by the Teachers and Offered by their Schools

Course name

n

%

Exploring technology

5

12,5

Computer aided drafting

10

25

Communication technology

19

47,5

Manufacturing technology

4

10

Transportation technology

4

10

Electricity/electronics

5

12,5

Robotics

6

15

Engineering technology

5

12,5

Architectural drafting

1

2,5

Energy & Power

2

5

Computer technologies

20

50

Production technology

5

12,5

Materials/Processes

3

7,5

Emerging technology

4

10

Interdisciplinary studies

1

2,5

Data Analysis in Excel and Power Bi, visualization in Python, Excel, MS Project

1

2,5

Discrete structures, Complex algorithms, Effective computations

1

2,5

Database Management

1

2,5

Statistics

1

2,5

n=78

 

 

4.1. Most Enjoyable Aspects of Teaching

The two main pleasant aspects in the work of teachers were identified as “pleasure and stimulation of learning and using new technologies” and “attracting students to solving problems and project activities” with 50 and 47.5 percent, respectively (see Table 5). The following points of “enjoyment” were associated with the pleasure of working with children and a high interest in students themselves in technological education. For the teacher, understanding the importance of the course in the education of students also positively affects the work process. Also, an important factor is the nature of education – practical, that is, based on actions. In addition to the teaching process itself, it turns out, the field of education itself in which they teach children also affects them. The sixth and seventh most frequently cited reasons were the “freedom and flexibility in developing a curriculum, selection of activities and providing content” and “free time during summer and school holidays”. It should be noted that six out of 20 positive answers were related to students, and four were related to the content area of technological education.

Table 5

Why They Like to Teach

#

Positive Factors

%

1

Enjoyment and stimulation of learning and using new technologies

50

2

Involving students in solving problems and project activities

47.5

3

Student interest in technology education

32.5

4

Enjoy working with children

27.5

5

Freedom and flexibility to be creative in developing the curriculum, selecting activities and delivering content

27.5

6

Practical, based on actions, the nature of technological education

25

7

Teaching an important course to students

25

8

Time off during summer and school vacations

25

9

The rewards of making a meaningful difference in the lives

of students

22.5

10

Teaching a course that gains popularity

17.5

11

It’s fun

17.5

12

Involving students in authentic and actual content and events

15

13

Cooperation with teachers from other academic areas

15

14

Public support for technological education programs

12.5

15

The possibility of participating in associations of professional technological education

12.5

16

The availability of equipment available for use

10

17

Working with computers

10

18

Contacts with business and industry

10

19

Employment guarantee

10

20

Managed sizes of classes

2.5

4.2. Frustrating Aspects of Teaching

The most commonly cited irritation (42.5%) was “lack of understanding and support of technology education by administrators/counsellors” (see Table 6). This in its kind leads to another problem – low computer literacy among staff. Despite the fact that most of the sample of higher educational institutions are universities with the direction of IT, as perceived by the teachers, the lack of understanding was the number one reason that frustrates them most at work. “Lack of time for planning and development” was the second most frequent response, followed by the “long hours necessary to ensure the quality of the program” with 35 and 32.5 percent, respectively. On the one hand, it can be referred to the fact that this is the workflow, but the quotation frequency of this aspect should raise the issue of overload during program development among teachers. The top three frustrating aspects of teaching technology education are consistent with the literature and are likely to be expected by most professionals in the field. What is surprising is that “low wages of teachers” was not in the top three factors. This finding is contrary to many national studies where poor compensation is typically among the top three factors cited.

Table 6

The Frustrating Aspects of Teaching

#

Negative Factors

%

1

Lack of understanding and support of technology education by administrators/counselors

42.5

2

Lack of time for planning and development

35

3

Long hours necessary to ensure the quality of the program

32.5

4

Low wages of teachers

30

5

Lack of students of basic academic skills

27.5

6

Decline in personal characteristics and attitudes of students

25

7

Lack of established state/national guidelines for technology education

25

8

Lack of sufficient technical support for teaching new technologies

25

9

Political problems in society that negatively affect education

22.5

10

Lack of funds for equipment, consumables, etc.

22.5

11

Excessively large class sizes

20

12

Difficulties relating to attempts to collaborate with other academic fields

12.5

13

Lack of status of technology education profession

5

4.3. Changes Needed

The teachers listed “better wages of teachers” as the number one change (57.5%) needed (see Table 7). This does not exactly coincide with the previous data, since low salaries were in 4th place in negative factors. This response may be influenced by the current economic situation of the country. The second on the list of necessary reforms was “better funding for technology education programs” with a 47.5 per cent share. The actual significance of the funding factor may be even higher among the teachers included in this study. Indeed, there were other categories of responses that related to funding. They included “additional corporate sponsorship for technology education” and “additional support to maintain laboratories and equipment”. “Additional service and professional development for teachers of technological education” was the third-ranked response. The IT sphere is developing in very big steps. Technologies, programming languages, and tools that were relevant 5 years ago can rapidly fall out of trends as more and more new ones appear. The market is spreading very quickly, and it requires specialists with fresh knowledge. In order to make these specialists out of students, teachers themselves need to regularly update and improve their knowledge and skills. The university, in turn, should be interested in helping to improve the qualifications of its own teachers. The second main area of concern was students, focusing on both student behavior and academic ability. According to teachers’ responses, students with excellent discipline and who have high academic skills would greatly facilitate the work of teachers. Also, it is needed to take into account the problem of too large class sizes. In such conditions, the quality of delivering useful knowledge deteriorates significantly. Every year the number of applicants increases, and the size of the university remains unchanged, in addition to the fact that there is a very serious problem of a shortage of highly qualified personnel. Teachers have to work either for a lot of hours or in too large auditoriums. The third broad concern area dealt with educating the public and/or school officials about what technology education is, its benefits, etc., as well as changing public expectations of schooling toward education and away from parenting. These comments ranged from “conduct proper career guidance in schools so that applicants know where to go and who to study for” to “focus on the lack of clarity and identification (and recognition) of the mission/purpose of technological education”.

Table 7

Recommended Changes

#

Change Factors

%

1

Better wages of teachers

57.5

2

Better funding for technology education programs

47.5

3

Additional service and professional development for teachers of technological education

35

4

Reducing problems with student discipline

30

5

More control over the schedule and course offerings

25

6

Campaign for public relations in order to interpret what technological education is, its advantages, etc.

20

7

Change public expectations of schooling toward education and away from parenting

20

8

Expand communication and cooperation among technology teachers

20

9

Better support and leadership at the university level for technological education

20

10

Reduction in class sizes

17.5

11

Students who have high academic skills

15

12

Additional corporate sponsorship for technology education

10

13

Additional support to maintain laboratories and equipment

10

14

Commitment of school district to technology education

7.5

15

Teach the administration to management

2.5

4.4. Age and Job Satisfaction

Table 8

Age-Related Mean Satisfaction Scores

 

Overall Job Satisfaction

Intrinsic Satisfaction

Extrinsic Satisfaction

mean

sd

mean

sd

mean

sd

26

3.608333333

0.262075053

4.216666667

0.415130502

3.75

0.176776695

26-30

3.616666667

0.201038968

4.166666667

0.147196014

3.833333333

0.357217254

31-35

3.6875

0.367706858

4.125

0.433012702

4.0625

2.708333333

36-40

3.695454545

0.061014156

4.127272727

0.084959884

4.079545455

0.08709321

41-45

3.15

0.207364414

3.716666667

0.301219743

3.229166667

0.151726179

45-50

3.44

0.143940092

4.06

0.270185122

3.525

0.139053722

51-55

3.45

0.282842712

3.45

1.234908904

3.3125

0.088388348

56-60

3.4

1.019803903

4.05

1.012422837

3.4375

1.449676688

The mean scores and standard deviations for the job satisfaction of academics in relation to age can be seen in Table A. According to Pearson and Seiler mean scores below 3.50 are estimated to be more on the “dissatisfied” side of the “satisfaction-dissatisfaction” scale with mean scores above 3.50 being considered to be more on the “satisfied” side of the scale (1983). As presented in Table 1 the level of overall job satisfaction experienced by the academics in all age groups except 41-45 (which is 3.15) is above 3.50 thus indicating job satisfaction. The level of overall job satisfaction has increased, albeit very slightly, in the age group up to 40 years. Other age groups show moderate satisfaction.

The intrinsic satisfaction experienced by teachers in all age groups exceeds 3.50, which indicates job satisfaction. The highest rates of intrinsic satisfaction are observed among the age groups under 45.

The extrinsic satisfaction scores indicate that the 41-45, and 51–60 age groups are dissatisfied and the 45-50 age group indicates only moderate satisfaction. However extrinsic satisfaction indicates a progressive increase from dissatisfaction to satisfaction starting with the 26 age group up until the 36-40 age group (maximum level) after which a decrease is observed. Therefore, we can conclude that the mean scores indicate that the overall job satisfaction and intrinsic and extrinsic satisfactions of academics are not linear in relation to age.

5. Conclusion

The main purpose of this study was to study the most useful and distressing aspects of the work affecting the motivation of IT teachers of leading universities in Kazakhstan. The relationship between job satisfaction indicators and the age of teachers was also investigated. The results show that the level of internal job satisfaction among teachers is generally higher than the level of external satisfaction. Overall job satisfaction and the levels of external and internal satisfaction do not differ for different age groups. That is, there is no statistically significant relationship between age and satisfaction. The vast majority of the proposals proposed by outstanding teachers come down to measures to improve the financing and support of IT education.

Текст статьи
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