In many ways, Helen Watt's and Paul Richardson’s FIT-Choice collaboration represents the nexus of their theoretical and methodological interests and expertise, fuelled by the current crisis of teacher recruitment and retention.
The study’s scope means the findings will have a strong policy impact. It is essential for the social infrastructure of the country that State Governments, employing authorities, teacher educators, the Federal Government and recruitment bodies better understanding the different motivational profiles of those entering teacher education now and why people are not retained in the profession, suffer burnout or become disgruntled less effective teachers. It is also critical that we better understand the link between motivations, self-efficacies and the support networks and strategies needed to sustain teachers in the profession, particularly in difficult to staff regions, districts and schools.
The practical policy applications of the FIT-Choice project are clear: we are able to recommend effective recruitment strategies to attract people into the teaching profession, based on those reasons identified with people who have chosen teaching careers. We can also identify changes in teachers’ beliefs about their effectiveness on entry to the profession, psychological and school-based processes which lead to burnout, and those supports which assist beginning teachers in their career development. Such understandings will be of tremendous import in developing structures which support and scaffold teachers in their early years.