Competitive research projects

The role of personality, motivation and socio-emotional competences in early-career teachers’ occupational well-being

About project

Project basics

  • Project name: The role of personality, motivation and socio-emotional competences in early-career teachers’ occupational well-being
  • Acronym: TeachWell
  • Coordinator: Institute for Social Research in Zagreb
  • Financed by: Croatian Science Foundation
  • Project duration: 1st February 2021 – 31st January 2025

Project description

Initial years of teaching are a critical period in teachers’ career characterized by stress and high rates of attrition. The provision of adequate support to teachers during their early-career is important for the development of their professional competence in a complex school environment and for their plans to remain in the profession. Recent studies underline the important role of personality, motivation to teach, and socio-emotional competences in relevant teacher outcomes. Together, these affective-motivational characteristics form a substantial aspect of teacher professional competences. Our project is designed to examine the joint contribution of these characteristics to positive outcomes such as enthusiasm for teaching, job satisfaction, work engagement, planned persistence in the profession, and low burnout of teachers in their early-career. These outcomes together form the occupational well-being of early-career teachers and represent the focal point of the proposed research. The overarching aim guiding this study is to explore the relationship between early-career teachers’ affective-motivational characteristics and their occupational well-being. To achieve the research aim, the following research questions are identified:

  • What is the nature of direct and indirect contributions (via teachers’ self-efficacy and goal orientations) of early-career teachers’ personality (both self and other-reported), motivation for teaching, and socio-emotional competences in the prediction of their occupational well-being?;
  • What is the relationship between early-career teachers’ occupational well-being and students’ perceptions of motivational elements of instructional quality?;
  • How do early-career teachers perceive their occupational well-being?

In the research, a mixed-methods approach combining quantitative and qualitative methods will be employed. The research design envisages quantitative data collection from both teacher and student samples, thus enabling the consideration of teacher well-being from both teacher and student perspectives. In the qualitative study, we intend to gain in-depth insight into the early-career teachers’ perceptions on what constitutes their occupational well-being and what personal and contextual characteristics enhance or challenge their teaching enthusiasm, work engagement, job satisfaction, reinforce their plans to remain in the profession and influence their sense of burnout. The qualitative phase will provide data complementary to the quantitative findings, enabling additional insights into the complex phenomenon of early-career teachers’ occupational well-being. It is expected that the study will result in a conceptual framework that may direct future research in this domain. The recommendations arising from the study will serve in designing the educational policy measures for supporting the occupational well-being of early career teachers and their decision to remain in the profession. This is particularly important for the Croatian context, increasingly facing the problem of employing and keeping teachers in the profession.