University of Tübingen: Recognize who will be a teacher at school

Parental influence plays a significant role in the career choice of teachers. If parents want their children to take up a teaching degree, the probability is particularly high that they will follow suit. Having one parent teaching also increases the likelihood that the offspring will follow in their footsteps. This is what scientists from the LEAD Graduate School & Research Network at the University of Tübingen found out in a study. It was published in the journal Educational Researcher .

In addition, there are other characteristics that increase the likelihood of pupils taking up a teaching degree, including social interests, the need for a secure job and the desire to have children. Opportunities for development and advancement, on the other hand, are of secondary importance for the choice of the teaching profession. “This could also be related to the fact that the salaries for teachers in Germany are estimated to be relatively high despite few opportunities for advancement,” explains Adam Ayaita, LEAD member and Academic Council at RWTH Aachen University.

The scientists evaluated data from a long-term study of around 3,600 schoolchildren who later started their studies, as well as their parents. The first survey took place when the pupils were attending the 9th grade, the last of the annual surveys six years later. Now the scientists compared the earlier statements of those who later took up a teacher training course with those who enrolled in another subject. “With our study we were able to show that young people around the age of 15, whose parents expressed the wish that their child would become a teacher, actually began to study teaching later much more often than other young people,” says Ayaita.

The result is important for managing the need for teachers. Gifted students who may not think about teaching could be steered in this direction via their parents, but counseling teachers can also play an important role. By changing working conditions, such as creating opportunities for advancement, those who have been deterred by the lack of development opportunities in the teaching profession could also be won over to the teaching profession.

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