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Vol. 16 | (2)
attached file   4. Motivations of teaching.pdf  
How motivations for teaching in South Korean primary schools are mediated by the local context
motivations for teaching, teacher commitment, English language teaching, primary schools, grounded narrative inquiry 


The purpose of this study is to address the need for understanding motivations for
teaching and English language teaching in primary schools and how such motivations are
influenced by national and local-level education policy. Using written stories from 20
primary school teachers in South Korea (15 female and 5 male), the study investigates their
reasons for becoming teachers and reasons for teaching English full-time. In contrast to
recent survey research from Korea, the study found that participants’ motivations for
teaching were largely extrinsic in that they were drawn to the field mainly because of the
working conditions and the social and legal status of the teaching profession. Findings also
revealed different mindsets between male and female participants: Whereas the female
teachers were generally motivated by the status and working conditions, three of five males
had chosen teaching as a fallback career. As for teaching English, although some
participants volunteered to teach English because of their interest in the language, nearly
half were influenced by extrinsic factors, the most prominent of these being committing to
teaching English because of the teacher assignment and rotation system. The study
concludes with implications, limitations, and ideas for further research related to grade and
subject assignments in Korean primary schools.