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Zhang, S.; Du, J.; Yue, H.; Li, G.; Zhang, D. National Identity Education Intentions of Pre-Service Teachers. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 24 June 2024).
Zhang S, Du J, Yue H, Li G, Zhang D. National Identity Education Intentions of Pre-Service Teachers. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 24, 2024.
Zhang, Shuai, Jiannan Du, Huiji Yue, Gui’an Li, Dian Zhang. "National Identity Education Intentions of Pre-Service Teachers" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 24, 2024).
Zhang, S., Du, J., Yue, H., Li, G., & Zhang, D. (2023, August 31). National Identity Education Intentions of Pre-Service Teachers. In Encyclopedia.
Zhang, Shuai, et al. "National Identity Education Intentions of Pre-Service Teachers." Encyclopedia. Web. 31 August, 2023.
National Identity Education Intentions of Pre-Service Teachers

National identity education is a form of education that fosters a stable sense of national identity among citizens and plays a crucial role in the sustainable development of the country. However, with the deepening of economic globalisation and cultural pluralism, pre-service teachers, in their dual roles as school students and prospective teachers, have encountered challenges in practicing their intention to implement national identity education. 

national identity education educational intentions pre-service teachers theory of planned behaviour cognitive evaluation theory

1. National Identity Education

Education, which has a natural fit with national identity [1], is never neutral, but ideological and political. Numerous studies have shown that education can contribute to the development of young people’s national identity, which is why most countries have introduced citizenship education-related courses [2][3]. Wong et al. developed the Model of Teachers’ Perceptions of Moral and National Education (the Model) based on the teachers’ acceptance perspective, and the results showed that others’ support (e.g., parents, principals) was the most important aspect influencing teachers’ practice of national identity education [4]. In terms of curriculum classification, some countries or regions have introduced compulsory civics courses to help students become good citizens, while others have infiltrated the concept of national identity through the study of other subjects [5]. Sautereau et al. compare the differences in national identity discourses in France and Ireland, using civics courses in the two regions as an example, and the results of the empirical study show that humanities subjects such as English and history play a more influential role than natural subjects [6]. Of course, very few countries have not yet developed systematic national identity education due to force majeure such as war and religion [7]. Due to the influence of cognitive development, it is generally agreed that national identity education should start in primary school [8] and that it should be internalised and resolved during secondary school [9] so that a much more deeply entrenched concept of national identity can be formed at university and beyond [10][11]. A small number of regions agree that national identity education should be introduced at the preschool level, but on the premise of rationality and depoliticisation [12]. Selecting samples of students between the ages of 14 and 20 in a Xinjiang class school in China, Yuan provides an in-depth analysis of the impact of national identity education on adolescents by investigating National Commitment (NC) and National Exploration (NE) [13]. In terms of delivery methods, textbooks are uniquely placed to add national identity education in many countries [14]. However, attention should be paid to the developmental appropriateness of the choice of content for the students. For example, Danijela et al. classified the representation of national identity education in textbooks into 12 aspects, such as family, religion, language and so on, based on integrative developmental-contextual theory and societal–social–cognitive–motivational theory. The textbooks for the lower grades of primary school in Serbia were found to be under-represented in terms of family, religion, language and 12 other aspects of national identity education, and there were problems with the dynamics and continuity of the representations [15]. Research has also shown that study tours are an important way of promoting national identity education, with visits to historical sites and famous landscapes having a direct impact on students’ cognition, emotions and behaviour [16]. Wang et al. found that national identity education can positively influence individuals’ behavioural intentions by investigating the emotional experience of red tourists [17].
To sum up, in the existing research on national identity education, scholars mainly focus on the analysis of text materials and the investigation of the current status of students’ national identity education, and less on the professional development of teachers, especially pre-service teachers. Although national identity education is mainly presented from the aspects of identity and national pride, the description and understanding of national identity are not static [18], and how to recognize the relationship between national identity, liberalism and human rights is also an important part of civic education, which needs to be guided by teachers [19][20][21][22]. Pre-service teachers are the backbone of national identity education and the forerunners of Generation Z education, and they must be paid attention to [23].

2. Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB)

The theory of planned behaviour, derived from the Theory of Reasoned Action, is an important theory that predicts and explains individual intentions and behaviours [24][25]. The theory of planned behavior has a wide range of applications in many fields such as health [26], education [27] and economics [28], and has provided practical solutions for the development of many fields. For example, when Roberta Riverso and others used the theory of planned behavior to investigate customers’ willingness to buy electric cars, they found that attitudes were the biggest factor influencing purchase intentions, so changing people’s utilitarian beliefs may be the best way to increase their willingness to buy pure electric cars. In the field of teacher education, the theory of planned behavior is often used to predict or explain teachers’ willingness to participate in an activity or to further explore the factors that influence teachers’ willingness to participate in an activity, as, for example, Zi Yan and Kuen-fung Sin analysed teachers’ intentions and behaviours in inclusive education from the perspective of the theory of planned behavior [29] from Yusop. FD explored the factors that influence pre-service teachers’ use of ICT in teaching practice based on the theory of planned behavior [30], and Qin, MF used the theory of planned behavior to construct a measurement model to investigate pre-service music teachers’ willingness to continue working in the profession [31].
Behavioural beliefs, normative beliefs and control beliefs are three constructs that are of particular interest to the theory of planned behavior. Ajzen argues that willingness to perform satisfies a certain functional relationship with the three beliefs, and therefore the theory of planned behaviour can be interpreted in three ways [24][25]. Behavioural beliefs refer to individuals’ judgements about the outcomes of their behaviour when engaging in a particular activity, with pre-service teachers’ attitudes in educational contexts being the main manifestation of behavioural beliefs [32]. Normative beliefs refer to the external pressures that individuals perceive when engaging in an activity, such as peer pressure, family atmosphere, social pressure, etc., and are an important influence on subjective norms; control beliefs are a new element based on the Theory of Reasoned Behaviour, which refers to the individual’s subjective judgement of their ability to engage in an activity, and is a potential variable in perceived behavioural control.

3. Cognitive Evaluation Theory (CET)

Cognitive evaluation theory (CET) was developed by Professor Deci at the University of Rochester in the 1970s and revised with Ryan in the early 1980s. It is the first sub-theory of self-determination theory [33]. Internal motivation is the primary concern of cognitive appraisal theory, which suggests that internal motivation is influenced by the need for autonomy, competence and relatedness, and that when these three basic psychological needs are satisfied, individuals are able to show a greater intention to act [34][35]. Although cognitive evaluation theory focuses on an individual’s internal motivation, it also emphasises that the strengthening or weakening of internal motivation is influenced by the surrounding social environment [36] and is internally consistent with an individual’s willingness to behave, and therefore cognitive evaluation theory is a good indicator of an individual’s willingness to behave.
Many researchers have measured individual behavioural intentions based on cognitive evaluation theory. For example, Siyuan Miao et al. concluded that internal motivation, external motivation, reward and self-efficacy are the key factors influencing employees’ work engagement and intention to leave, and found that when only two variables, internal motivation and external motivation, acted on work engagement, the influence of internal motivation was greater, and when internal motivation, external motivation, reward and self-efficacy acted together on work engagement and intention to leave, the influence of internal motivation decreased [37].
Yan Xu et al. identified concentration, autonomy, competence and game rewards as important factors influencing consumers’ purchase intentions, and noted that autonomy could significantly influence consumers’ pleasure stimuli [38]. Focusing on the field of pedagogy, Lisa Legault pointed out that the factors that influence high school students’ academic motivation are task value, need for competence, task characteristics and need for effort, and the results of the study showed that the need for competence significantly influenced high school students’ academic motivation [39]. Presently, there are relatively few studies observing pre-service teachers’ behavioural intentions based on cognitive appraisal theory, but through the above analysis, it is possible to identify the need for autonomy, competence and relatedness as important factors in regulating pre-service teachers’ behavioural intentions.


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