University of Oulu

Havia, J., Lutovac, S., Komulainen, T. et al. Preservice Subject Teachers’ Lack of Interest in Their Minor Subject: Is It a Problem?. Int J of Sci and Math Educ 21, 923–941 (2023).

Preservice subject teachers’ lack of interest in their minor subject : is it a problem?

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Author: Havia, Johanna1,2; Lutovac, Sonja1; Komulainen, Tiina1;
Organizations: 1Department of Educational Sciences and Teacher Education, Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 2000, FI-90014, Oulu, Finland
2Research Unit of Sustainable Chemistry, Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 8000, FI-90014, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-08-31


Interest in a particular subject is one central factor in preservice teachers’ decision to become subject teachers. Interest in a subject can also become visible in preservice teachers’ teaching and may consequently impact their students’ interest in the subject. However, the interest of preservice teachers in their major and minor subjects has been scarcely addressed. In Finland, secondary school teachers usually study and teach two or three subjects. Major subjects are often chosen based on interest; however, the reasons for choosing a minor subject can vary. In this study, we examined the narratives of three preservice subject teachers regarding their interest in their minor and major subjects. They all studied mathematics, physics, and chemistry and revealed a much weaker interest in the minor subjects compared to the major subjects. Interestingly, our findings also reveal that preservice teachers’ perceived strengths in a specific subject may not be as crucial to their interests, as has been suggested by prior research. We discuss the consequences of preservice teachers’ weaker interest in certain subjects and provide recommendations for teacher education.

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Series: International journal of science and mathematics education
ISSN: 1571-0068
ISSN-E: 1573-1774
ISSN-L: 1571-0068
Volume: 21
Issue: 3
Pages: 923 - 941
DOI: 10.1007/s10763-022-10277-3
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 111 Mathematics
114 Physical sciences
116 Chemical sciences
516 Educational sciences
Funding: Open Access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital. The second author was supported by the Academy of Finland (Grant numbers 307672 and 332232).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 307672
Detailed Information: 307672 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
332232 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
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