Commitment to Teach in Under-Resourced Schools: Prospective Science and Mathematics Teachers' Dispositions

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In this exploratory study, we sought to gain an understanding of what motivates prospective teachers who are Noyce Scholars at a research-intensive southeastern US university to commit to teaching secondary level science or mathematics in school districts that have a high proportion of students who come from low-socioeconomic households. An interpretive methodology revealed three themes associated with Noyce Scholars' motivations to teach (1) awareness of educational challenges, (2) sense of belonging to or comfort with diverse communities, and (3) belief that one can serve as a role model and resource. The paper describes and compares the significance of each theme among six prospective teachers who identify with the schooling experiences of students who came from low-income or poor households and nine prospective teachers who identify with the schooling experiences in a middle-income school or district. The implication of this study supports the importance of recruiting prospective science and mathematics teachers who have knowledge of and a disposition to work with learners from low-income or poor households, even if those prospective teachers are not themselves the members of under-served populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-110
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Science Teacher Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012



  • Dispositions
  • Low-socioeconomic status
  • Motivations
  • Pre-service teachers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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