Utilising narrative research to illuminate the rollercoaster ride of establishing a middle years of schooling beginning teacher identity

Mr Neville Smith (2008). Utilising narrative research to illuminate the rollercoaster ride of establishing a middle years of schooling beginning teacher identity Other, School of Education, The University of Queensland.

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n40789806_pd_abstract.pdf Honours Thesis Abstract application/pdf 94.34KB 1
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Author Mr Neville Smith
Thesis Title Utilising narrative research to illuminate the rollercoaster ride of establishing a middle years of schooling beginning teacher identity
School, Centre or Institute School of Education
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2008
Thesis type Other
Supervisor Dr Shelley Dole
Total pages 179
Total black and white pages 179
Abstract/Summary The education arena is faced with the dilemma of an aging teaching population in which the majority of teachers born in the baby boomer period, either will retire from the teaching community, or continue on a part time basis in the next 10 years. Combined with statistics that point to up to 50% of beginning teachers leaving the industry within 5 years, this dilemma becomes problematic for teacher supply to address the needs of future generations of learners (White & Moss, 2003). Whilst beginning teachers leave teaching for career, family, and personal reasons, they also leave due to negative teaching experiences that impact on their initial teaching beliefs and practices and their development within the first year of teaching, generally referred to as the induction period (Kelchtermans & Ballet, 2002; Valli, 2000; White & Moss, 2003). Whilst there is research literature on the nature of the induction period, this is limited from the perspective of a beginning teacher, in terms of how and what they experience and how and why their teaching beliefs and practices are changed or modified (Schwarz, 2001; Wang, Odell, & Schwille, 2008). Additionally, there is limited research into whether middle years of schooling beginning teachers experience this induction differently from other beginning teachers. This study explored how 4 middle years of schooling educated beginning teachers experienced their first year of teaching. The two females were employed in the same school, and the two males employed in separate schools, and all were in their mid twenties. The aim of the study was to highlight how this induction period is experienced through these four beginning teachers’ personalised narratives, and whether their middle years of schooling teacher education would be of benefit to this teaching development. Narrative research was utilised so as to gather these four participants’ stories of their experiences, perceptions and reflections of their teaching identity and practices within this first year of teaching. The study found that the participants experienced related negative factors that restrict successful teacher development, when compared with other studies that have established similar difficulties within the induction period (Connors, 2007; Kelchtermans & Ballet, 2002). What was crucial in the findings was the impact the key components of leadership, resilience and social skills had in contributing to developing a teaching identity successfully, and how these components were linked to their middle years of schooling teacher education. It is argued that narrative research assists productive teacher reflective practice; therefore as an unintended consequence this helped support these participants in building a positive teaching identity (Schwarz, 2001). Based on these findings, this study recommends that aspects of middle years of schooling teacher educated programs, particularly leadership, resilience and social skills, be more prominent in all teaching programs, and narrative research utilised for future beginning teacher studies and for the benefit of successful beginning teacher development.

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Created: Mon, 11 May 2009, 12:25:14 EST by Mr Neville Smith on behalf of School of Education