Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Haichun Sun, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sara B. Flory, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nell Faucette, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Diana Rancourt, Ph.D.


Self-Determination Theory, Physical Education, Occupational Socialization


This study examined the reasons individuals choose to become physical educators. Understanding these PE teacher candidates’ motivating factors for choosing this career is important as nearly half of all new teachers will leave the profession within the first three years of teaching (Ensign & Mays Woods, 2017). Using the theoretical framework of Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory, (1984) motivation levels of the PE teacher candidates’ were also examined. For this study, six PE teacher candidates answered both the Attractors and Facilitators for Physical Educators questionnaire and the Academic Motivation Scale. The participants also participated in two semi-structured interviews examining their motivation for wanting to become physical educators. Results showed the main attractors for choosing a career in PE were: service and sport and physical activity. The main facilitators driving these PE teacher candidates were: their subjective warrant and their identification with teachers.