Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 405–423 | Cite as

Student teachers’ competence and career certainty: the effects of career anxiety and perceived control

  • Lia M. DanielsEmail author
  • Rodney A. Clifton
  • Raymond P. Perry
  • David Mandzuk
  • Nathan C. Hall
Open Access


In comparison to other professional faculties, student teachers are less certain about their career decisions. Consequently, examining the factors that influence their perceptions of career competence and certainty may be beneficial for their professional development. We examined how student teachers’ (n = 194) gender, grade of instruction, practicum, career anxiety, and perceived control affected their career competence and certainty. Anxiety had large and negative effects on competence and certainty. In contrast, primary control enhanced competence whereas secondary control enhanced certainty. High-practicum ratings were also associated with greater competence and certainty; however, these effects were mediated by anxiety and perceived control. These findings help us understand the transition that student teachers make from studentship to becoming professional teachers.


career anxiety career certainty perceived control practicum student teachers 


  1. Brouwer N., Korthagen F. (2005). Can teacher education make a difference?. American Educational Research Journal 42, 153–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Capel S.A. (1997). Changes in students’ anxieties and concerns after their first and second teaching practices. Educational Research 39, 221–228Google Scholar
  3. Cavenagh P., Dewberry C., Jones P. (2000). Becoming professional: when and how does it start? A comparative study of first-year medical and law students in the UK. Medical Education 34, 897–902CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Clifton R.A., Mandzuk D., Roberts L.W. (1994). The alienation of undergraduate education students: a case study of a Canadian university. Journal of Education for Teaching 20, 179–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Coladarci T. (1992). Teachers’ sense of efficacy and commitment to teaching. Journal of Experimental Education 60, 323–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Darling-Hammond L. (1990). Teachers and teaching: Signs of a changing profession. In: Houston W.R. (eds) Handbook of research on teacher education. New York, NY, Macmillan, pp. 267–290Google Scholar
  7. Ethell R., McMeniman M. (2000). Unlocking the knowledge in action of an expert practitioner. Journal of Teacher Education 51, 17–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Evans E.D., Tribble M.S. (1986). Perceived teaching problems, self-efficacy, and commitment to teaching among student teachers. Journal of Educational Research 80, 81–85Google Scholar
  9. Hall N.C., Perry R.P., Ruthig J.C., Hladkyj S., Chipperfield J.C. (2006). Primary and secondary control in achievement settings: a longitudinal study of academic motivation, emotions, and performance. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 36, 1430–1470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hasinoff S., Mandzuk D. (2005). Bonding, bridging, and becoming a teacher: student cohorts and teacher identity. The Alberta Journal of Educational Research 51, 231–245Google Scholar
  11. Haynes, T. L., Ruthig, J. C., Perry, R. P., Stupnisky, R. H., & Hall, N. C. (in press). Reducing the academic risks of over-optimism: The longitudinal effects of attributional retraining on cognition and achievement. Research in Higher Education.Google Scholar
  12. Hladkyj, S., Daniels, L. M., Perry, R. P., Mandzuk, D., & Clifton, R. A. (2005). Perceived control and career commitment in first year education students. Portland, OR: Western Psychological Association Annual Conference.Google Scholar
  13. Howard S., Johnson B. (2004). Resilient teachers: resisting stress and burnout. Social Psychology of Education 7, 399–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kramer R. (1991). Ed school follies: the miseducation of America’s teachers. New York, The Free PressGoogle Scholar
  15. Lam P., Foong Y.Y., Moo S.N. (1995). Work life, career commitment, and job satisfaction as antecedents of career withdrawal cognition among teacher interns. Journal of Research and Development in Education 28, 230–235Google Scholar
  16. Lewis R. (1999). Teachers coping with the stress of classroom discipline. Social Psychology of Education 3, 155–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lortie D.C. (1975). Schoolteacher: a sociological study. Chicago, University of Chicago PressGoogle Scholar
  18. Lortie D.C. (2002). Schoolteacher: a sociological study with a new preface. Chicago, University of Chicago PressGoogle Scholar
  19. Midgley C., Feldlaufer H., Eccles J. (1989). Change in teacher efficacy and student self- and task-related beliefs in mathematics during the transition to junior high school. Journal of Educational Psychology 81, 247–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Morton L.L., Vesco R., Williams N.H., Awender M.A. (1997). Student teacher anxieties related to class management, pedagogy, evaluation, and staff relations. British Journal of Educational Psychology 67, 69–89Google Scholar
  21. Murnane R.J., Singer J.D., Willett J.B. (1988). The career paths of teachers: implications for teacher supply and methodological lessons for research. Educational Researcher 17, 22–30Google Scholar
  22. Murray-Harvey R., Slee P.T., Lawson M.J., Silins H., Banfield G., Russell A. (2000). Under stress: the concerns and coping strategies of teacher education students. European Journal of Teacher Education 23, 19–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Perry R.P. (2003). Perceived (academic) control and causal thinking in achievement settings. Canadian Psychologist 44, 312–331Google Scholar
  24. Perry R.P., Clifton R.A., Menec V.H., Struthers C.W., Menges R.J. (2000). Faculty in transition: a longitudinal analysis of the role of perceived control and type of institution in the research productivity of newly-hired faculty. Research in Higher Education 41, 165–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Perry R.P., Hall N.C., Ruthig J.C. (2005a). Perceived (academic) control and scholastic attainment in higher education. In: Smart J (eds) Higher education: handbook of theory and research (Vol 20). New York NY, Springer; pp. 363–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Perry R.P., Hladkyj S., Pekrun R., Clifton H., Chipperfield R.A., Judy G. (2005b). Perceived academic control and failure in college students: a three-year study of scholastic attainment. Research in Higher Education 46, 535–569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Perry R.P., Hladkyj S., Pekrun R.H., Pelletier S. (2001). Academic control and action-control in the achievement of college students: a longitudinal field study. Journal of Educational Psychology 93, 776–789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Perry, R. P., Menec, V., & Struthers, C. W. (1999). Feeling in control. In R. J. Menges & Associates (Eds) Faculty in new jobs: a guide to settling in, becoming established, and building institutional support. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  29. Perry, R. P. & Struthers, C. W. (1994). Attributional retraining in the college classroom: some causes for optimism. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA.Google Scholar
  30. Radford K., Cashion M., Latchford S. (1993). Locus of control and teachers: a preliminary report of an investigation of locus of control in pre-Service teachers. Supervisors Quarterly 29, 43–52Google Scholar
  31. Rothbaum F., Weisz J., Snyder S. (1982). Changing the world and changing the self: a two-process model of perceived control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 42, 5–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rotter, J. B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement. Psychological Monographs, 80. (1, whole No. 609)Google Scholar
  33. Rury J.L. (1989). Who became teachers?: the social characteristics of teachers in American history. In: Warren D (eds) American teachers: histories of a profession at work. New York, Macmillan, pp. 7–48Google Scholar
  34. Russell T., McPherson S., Martin A.K. (2001). Coherence and collaboration in teacher education reform. Canadian Journal of Education 26, 37–55Google Scholar
  35. Schulz R., Mandzuk D. (2005). Learning to teach, learning to inquire: a 3-year study of teacher candidates’ experiences. Teaching and Teacher Education 21, 315–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Stevens J.P. (2002). Applied multivariate statistics for the social sciences (4th edn). Mahwah NJ, Lawrence ErlbaumGoogle Scholar
  37. Serow R.C., Eaker D., Ciechalski J. (1992). Calling, service, and legitimacy: professional orientations and career commitment among prospective teachers. Journal of Research and Development in Education 25, 136–141Google Scholar
  38. Stinebrickner T.R. (1998). And empirical investigation of teacher attrition. Economics of Education Review 17, 127–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Su J.Z.X. (1993). The study of the education of educators: a profile of teacher education students. Journal of Research and Development in Education 26, 125–132Google Scholar
  40. Su Z., Hawkins J.N., Huang T., Zhao Z. (2001). Choices and commitment: a comparison of teacher candidates’ profiles and perspectives in China and the United States. International Review of Education 47, 611–635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tabachnick B.G., Fidell L.S. (2001). Using multivariate statistics (4th edn). Boston MA, Allyn and BaconGoogle Scholar
  42. Thompson M.L. (1983). Identifying anxieties experienced by student teachers: a twenty-year follow-up. Journal of the Association for the Study of Perception 18, 13–21Google Scholar
  43. Tschannen-Moran M., Woolfolk-Hoy A., Hoy W.K. (1998). Teacher efficacy: its meaning and measure. Review of Educational Research 68, 202–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lia M. Daniels
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rodney A. Clifton
    • 2
  • Raymond P. Perry
    • 1
  • David Mandzuk
    • 3
  • Nathan C. Hall
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  4. 4.Department of Psychology and Social BehaviorUniversity of California IrvineIrvineUSA

Personalised recommendations