Teachers’ motivation to learn: implications for supporting professional growth

Aina Appova, Fran Arbaugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


In this study, we investigated teachers’ motivation to learn following in the footsteps of emergent research efforts in the field. This qualitative study was grounded in the intersection of four research fields: policy, educational psychology, andragogy and professional development (PD). Findings indicate that teachers’ dissatisfactions with their teaching and students’ learning motivated them to learn professionally. Specifically, they internalized images of ‘perfect’ teaching/teachers and constantly compared themselves with those images–their (perceived) images of less-than-optimal teaching motivated teachers to continue pursuing PD to become ‘better’ teachers. Findings also indicate that current PD requirements, which place too much focus on quantity rather than quality of teachers’ learning, discourage teachers to pursue high-quality PD. Moreover, lack of stipends/resources, not generally available to teachers to pursue PD outside their contract hours, demotivated teachers’ learning and left them feeling skeptical about their district’s genuine investment in/appreciation of teachers’ learning. Implications from this study include offering specific PD suggestions, as well as critical avenues for further examining teachers’ motivation to learn as a research topic and theoretical construct.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-21
Number of pages17
JournalProfessional Development in Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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