Navigating staffroom stories: Beginning Health and Physical Education teachers’ micropolitical experiences of the staffroom

Erin Flanagan (2012). Navigating staffroom stories: Beginning Health and Physical Education teachers’ micropolitical experiences of the staffroom PhD Thesis, School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland.

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Author Erin Flanagan
Thesis Title Navigating staffroom stories: Beginning Health and Physical Education teachers’ micropolitical experiences of the staffroom
School, Centre or Institute School of Human Movement Studies
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2012-01
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Professor Richard Tinning
Doctor Anthony Rossi
Doctor lisahunter
Total pages 289
Total black and white pages 289
Language eng
Subjects 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators
Abstract/Summary This narrative inquiry into beginning Health and Physical Education (HPE) teachers’ experiences of the staffroom explores the often unintentional, unofficial and unspoken elements of the first year of teaching; the experience and navigation of what Sparkes’ (1990) describes as the micropolitical context of the HPE staffroom. In the current climate of concern regarding teacher retention and effectiveness, beginning teacher induction, mentoring, support and development has gained in significance and importance. Considering that teachers (whether beginning or otherwise) spend the majority of their non-teaching time at school in the staffroom, this research imperative is echoed by a significant silence in the literature. Hoyle (1982, p. 88) describes the micropolitical phenomenon simply as “those strategies by which individuals and groups in organizational contexts seek to use their resources of power and influence to further their interests”. While several studies have attempted to unpack the micropolitical context of the school in which beginning teachers were socialised and inducted (Curry, Jaxon, Russell, Callahan, & Bicais, 2008; Kelchtermans & Ballet, 2002b, 2002c; Schempp, Sparkes, & Templin, 1993), clearly absent from this literature is any sense of the micropolitical context of the staffroom. Further, the staffroom also presents as both an under theorised and under researched place and space within schools. Although navigating the micropolitical realities of schools (Curry, et al., 2008; Kelchtermans & Ballet, 2002a, 2002b, 2002c; Schempp, et al., 1993) and the development of micropolitical literacy (Kelchtermans & Ballet, 2002b, 2002c) are considered crucial dimensions in beginning teachers’ professional development, limited empirical work has explored how beginning teachers negotiate the dynamic micropolitical context of the school and staffroom, and, subsequently, how this impacts their lives, learning and development as beginning teachers. As such, the purpose of this inquiry into beginning HPE teachers’ micropolitical experiences of the staffroom is threefold. First it endeavours to describe beginning teachers’ stories of the staffroom including their accounts of how they developed and practiced micropolitical knowledge. Second, it seeks to describe the impact of micropolitical experiences on beginning teachers’ lives and workplace learning within the staffroom. And finally it aims to identify resonances across beginning teachers’ narrative accounts which gave rise to, emerged from, or influenced their micropolitical experiences and practices within the staffroom. Following the transition and first year of three beginning teachers in Australia, this research study adopts Clandinin and Connelly’s (2000) research methodology of narrative inquiry. As such, this study embraces a particular view of micropolitical experience as a storied phenomenon, and narrative as the method for inquiring into the storied experiences of beginning teachers within the staffroom (Clandinin & Murphy, 2009). Working within the three dimensional narrative inquiry space (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000), the study draws on Billet’s (2001) conception of workplace learning, and Clandinin and Connelly’s (1995) notion of personal practical knowledge and professional knowledge landscapes to understand beginning teachers’ micropolitical experiences of the staffroom. Bounded by the Prologue and Epilogue, this thesis is structured and organised into three Parts. Part I situates the study in relation to the current field of literature and outlines the research process and methodology employed. Part II presents the three beginning teachers’ narrative accounts of their micropolitical experiences of the staffroom. Read singularly, the beginning teachers’ narrative accounts intuitively offer insight into the complexity of each individual teacher’s storied experience, development and practice of micropolitical knowledge in the staffroom. Through ‘resonant reading’ (Clandinin, 2007, p. 325) of the narratives, Part III of the thesis is concerned with what the narratives could tell us when read as a set. It contemplates how ‘staffroom stories’ shape beginning teachers’ micropolitical experiences, practices and development, and, subsequently, how beginning teachers position themselves on the professional knowledge landscape in relation to the staffroom stories. Acknowledging these powerful narrative understandings of their experiences and practices, Part III also explores the provision of, engagement with, and access to support and guidance that emerged as a powerful resonance woven throughout each beginning teacher's narrative account. The significance of understanding beginning teachers’ micropolitical experiences of the staffroom and the resonances emerging between and across the narratives accounts has implications for a variety of stakeholders in teacher education and induction. With the diverse manifestation and impact of the unintentional and unplanned elements of workplace learning for beginning teachers, this study has implications not only for beginning teachers, but for teachers, staffrooms, schools, universities, policy makers, and employing and registration authorities. These implications relate not only to school induction practices, but also to the extent to which schools and other staffroom members are held accountable for the provision of a supportive workplace environment for beginning teachers.
Keyword Beginning teacher
Workplace learning
Narrative inquiry
Professional knowledge landscape
Personal practical knowledge

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Created: Thu, 21 Jun 2012, 15:29:40 EST by Erin Flanagan on behalf of Library - Information Access Service