Teacher Professional Identity and Career Motivation: A Lifespan Perspective



A developmental perspective on teacher identity and motivation leads us to expect processes of adaption and dynamism that are responsive to context. Critical to our understanding is the consideration that identity is a multidimensional construct in which the personal and social are interwoven. We explore how extant motivational theories offer insights into the nature and correlates of teacher motivation and identity formation including self-efficacy, expectancy-value, achievement goal, and self-determination theories. We propose that these provide lenses that fruitfully highlight aspects of identity development at different points across the lifespan of a teaching career. Drawing from the canvass of lifespan developmental psychology, we propose the SOC (Selection, Optimisation, and Compensation) model of successful ageing as an overarching theoretical lens to provide new insights and a potentially integrative framework, within which diverse theoretical perspectives on teacher motivation and identity development could be coherently further explored.


Teacher motivation Teacher identity Teaching lifespan SOC model Expectancy-value theory Achievement goal theory Self determination theory Teacher self-efficacy 



The FIT-Choice project ( is supported by sequential Australian Research Council grants DP140100402 (Richardson & Watt), DP0987614 (Watt & Richardson) and DP0666253 (Richardson, Watt, & Eccles).


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Education and Social WorkThe University of SydneyCamperdownAustralia

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