Becoming a Teacher: An Investigation of the Transition from Student Teacher to Teacher
Grudnoff, A. B. (2007). Becoming a Teacher: An Investigation of the Transition from Student Teacher to Teacher (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2647
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2647
This thesis seeks to gain greater knowledge of the process of transition anddevelopment that beginning primary teachers undergo over their first year ofteaching. The research focus is on investigating and understanding this processfrom the standpoint of the beginning teacher. Of particular interest is anexamination of how the teacher preparation programme, contextual features of theschool, and participants' own beliefs and biographies influence and impact ontheir transition to teaching and their professional and identity development as firstyear teachers.This longitudinal study takes an interpretive approach to investigate the first yearteaching experiences of 12 beginning teachers in 11 primary schools. Thequalitative methodology used in this thesis shares characteristics with a case studyapproach and utilizes procedures associated with grounded theory. Data weregathered systematically over a year by way of 48 semi-structured, individualinterviews, two focus group interviews, and 48 questionnaires, supplemented byfield notes. The collected data were analyzed, coded, and categorized, andexplanations and theory that emerged from this process were grounded in the data.The findings of this study have three broad sets of implications for the educationand induction of beginning teachers.Firstly, they question the role that practicum plays in the transition fromstudent to teacher. The findings suggest that the practicum component ofteacher preparation programmes should be re-conceptualized and redesignedto provide authentic opportunities for student teachers to beexposed to the full range of work demands and complexity that they willencounter as beginning teachers.Secondly, becoming a successful teacher appears to depend on the qualityof the school's professional and social relationships, particularly in termsof the frequency and type of formal and informal interactions thatiibeginning teachers have with colleagues. While the major source ofsatisfaction and self-esteem came from seeing the children whom theytaught achieving socially and academically, the beginning teachers alsohad a strong need for affiliation, which was enabled through positive,structured interactions and relationships with colleagues. The study alsoindicates that employment status influences the way that the beginningteachers view their work and themselves as teachers, with those inrelieving positions displaying greater variability in terms of emotionalreactions and a sense of professional confidence than those employed inpermanent positions.The third set of implications relate to beginning teacher induction. Thestudy points to variability in the quality of induction experiences andchallenges policy makers and principals to ensure that all beginningteachers are provided with sound and systematic advice and guidanceprogrammes which are necessary for their learning and development.While the study confirms the critical role played by tutor teachers inbeginning teacher induction, it suggests that the focus is on emotional andpractical support rather than on educative mentoring to enhance newteachers' thinking and practice.This thesis provides a comprehensive and nuanced view of how beginning toteach is experienced and interpreted. It paints a complex picture of therelationship between biography, beliefs, preparation, and context in the process oflearning to teach. The study contributes to the literature on the education ofbeginning teachers. It highlights the need for developing a shared understandingamongst policy makers, teacher educators, and schools regarding the multiplicity and complexity of factors that influence the transition and development of beginning teachers.
The University of Waikato
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