Gender differences in experiences and motivation in a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Studies) course: Can these explain higher male attrition rates?
Australian Educational Researcher
School of Education
© 2020, The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. Currently, due to regulatory and prospective political reforms, Australian universities face an increased demand to supply quality early childhood teachers. While student attrition remains a general concern for all universities, this demand has presented a renewed focus on retention in Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Studies [ECS]). The purpose of this study is to examine the experiences and motivations of preservice teachers, hypothesise the relation with attrition and determine gender differences. The data were gained from two sources. The first was from data held at a Western Australian university examining enrolment trends in ECS. Chi-square analysis revealed that male preservice teachers were significantly more likely to withdraw than their female counterparts. The second set of data were extracted from two independent qualitative studies on preservice teacher retention in the ECS course. Twenty-six preservice teachers participated in these studies and a total of 45 h of interviews were coded against indicators of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. It was found that while female preservice teachers with either extrinsic or intrinsic motives could buffer stressful situations such as concentrated assessment periods, only males with intrinsic motives could do the same. This is in part, explained by the additional stressors males are confronted with, such as attitudinal factors and few male peers, which in turn places them at a higher risk of attrition.