Influences on British South Asian women's choice of teaching as a career: “you're either a career person or a family person; teaching kind of fits in the middle”

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Colleges, School and Institutes


This article reports the findings of the first year of a four year research project into the influences on British South Asian women's choice of teaching as a career. Trainees from minority ethnic groups on a secondary PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) course in the English West Midlands were invited to discuss, both in focus groups and in response to semi-structured interview questions, the reasons why they chose to enter teacher training and the issues they faced during the training period. The results reported here highlight the strong, positive influences of family and culture on the trainees' choice of career, and their perceptions of why teaching offers them flexible and high status employment at the point of career entry. Subsequent research has tracked these trainees' at the culmination of their first year of teaching, and will also monitor their views at the end of their third year in schools. The study is located in the UK, referring to both policy and literature relevant to this context. In contrast to the findings of much published research into the experiences of minority ethnic trainees in Initial Teacher Training (ITT) in the UK, which present negative perceptions of the training process, this study found that British South Asian women were broadly positive about the courses they took, their relationships with tutors, teachers and mentors, and the provision made for them by partnership schools. They were mainly optimistic about their prospects of career advancement and confident that they could combine a job in the teaching profession with other life demands relating to family, religious faith, culture and community.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-83
Number of pages15
JournalEducational Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


  • initial teacher education, caste and class, family life, career choice, British South Asian women