Talk yuh talk: making sense of how graduate secondary teachers in Trinidad learned to teach without pre-service teacher education
De Four-Babb, J. (2003). Talk yuh talk: making sense of how graduate secondary teachers in Trinidad learned to teach without pre-service teacher education (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13774
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13774
In Trinidad and Tobago graduate secondary teachers begin teaching with subject degrees, but without pre-service teacher training. How, then, do these people come to see themselves as teachers? How do they learn how to teach? I draw on life history, constructivism and discourse analysis for my analysis of teachers’ stories of beginning to teach. These stories were collected in individual interviews with 29 experienced graduate secondary teachers in Trinidad between March and August 2000. I use discourse analysis to explore the historical and policy context and highlight the dominant ideas about teachers and teaching that have been made available to teachers in Trinidad. I argue that in spite of the historical period in which they began to teach, the 29 interviewees’ interpretations and understandings of being a graduate secondary teacher and doing what they thought secondary teachers should do, were informed by dominant discourses such as the teacher as a transmitter of knowledge, a disciplinarian, a role model and a socially responsible person. These discourses were also evident in the wider official and common-sense ideas on secondary education, teachers, and teaching, as well as the recruitment practices of secondary teachers. I theorise about the ways in which these discourses created possibilities and sometimes put limits upon the interviewees’ construction of their practical professional knowledge - that is the knowledge they gained from day-to-day experiences of teaching. I recommend that pre-service and in-service teacher education programmes for secondary teachers in Trinidad must help teachers to explore why they may see themselves in certain ways and not in others. Schools should also play a more prominent role in the preparation and on-going professional development of graduate secondary teachers by seeking to become a place of learning for all teachers.
The University of Waikato
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