10 SES 04 A, Second and Mid-Career Entrants to Teaching
Research suggests that a defining characteristic of education systems judged to be ‘high-performing’ is their capacity to attract high quality entrants to the teaching profession (Barber & Mourshed 2007; OECD 2011). Teacher recruitment policies in many countries, therefore, focus on attracting high quality individuals (Furlong 2005, Ball & Forzani 2009, OECD 2011). However, research also suggests that in the UK and many other school systems (across Europe and the USA) urban schools serving socio-economically disadvantaged communities experience significant difficulty in attracting/retaining high-quality teachers (Darling-Hammond 2005; Ammermüller & Lauer 2009; Little 2010). Teacher recruitment, therefore, is not just an issue of quality, but one of equity and social justice.
In many of these school systems, recruitment policy has focused on attracting high-quality graduates, often with an explicit focus on bringing 'elite' individuals into schools. The most high-profile initiative is the now global Teach for America/Teach First model, which places fast-tracked graduates into schools serving socio-economically disadvantaged communities for a two-year 'internship'. In other national systems (of which the UK is a notable example), marketing initiatives have concentrated on emphasising teaching as a career for ambitious individuals who have been successful in other careers, often through various fast-track programmes for ‘elite’ career-changers from other professions, and from private sector industry/business backgrounds.
The rationale presented for this approach is that ‘elite’ career-changers’ skills/experience mean they will have a significant impact on overall teacher quality (Freedman 2008; Tigchelaar et al 2010). However, although some studies (Mayotte 2003; Haggard et al. 2006, Anthony & Ord 2008) have suggested mature entrants may bring ‘transferable capacities’ to teaching, there is no compelling evidence about the impact on teacher effectiveness either of alternative routes into teaching, or of career-changers entering into the profession. This is in part because of the lack of quantitative data about career-changers entering teaching (in any national school system).
The picture is complicated by evidence that although entry quality is a factor in effectiveness of such initiatives, the quality of teacher education, whether an ‘alternative’ or a ‘traditional’ certificated route, is more significant. (e.g. Darling-Hammond 2009).This study provide national level data of the numbers of career-changers entering initial teacher education (ITE) in the UK and their outcomes (retention/attainment). It also examines UK career-changers’ perceptions of their experiences of ITE and of the early years of teaching, of 'established' career-changers with 5-10 years experience as teachers, and of school principals employing career-changers. This study was funded by a Leverhulme Fellowship award, and data from the phase 1 of this study was presented at ECER 2013.
The study draws upon four key strands of literature 1) teacher induction and professional development, 2) teacher identity/values 3), leadership culture 4) performativity and school systems
A stable teacher identity comes through developing a sense of ‘self-efficacy’ (Day et al. 2007), but maintaining this is challenging in a profession characterised by increasingly overt external accountability constraints (Hargreaves 2000, Ball 2003, Apple 2005). Sachs (2003), however, argues that performative policy and practice can be and is countered where strong collegial professional values maintain an inquiry-oriented approach in which teachers are active agents pursuing a ‘moral purpose’ (Sachs 2003).
An important aspect of this study is that of leadership and support cultures in schools. A recurring theme in studies of teacher motivation and efficacy highlights to crucial role played by the culture of collaborative professionalism and effective leadership within the school (Hord 1997, Katzenmeyer & Moller 2009, Day & Gu 2010). From this body of literature comes a growing consensus that effective school leadership must promote a whole-school ‘professional learning culture’ (Stoll & Louis 2007, Day & Gu 2010)
Ammermüller, A. & Lauer, C. 2009. 'School quality and educational outcomes in Europe', in Dolton, P., Asplund, R. & Barth, E. (eds) Education and inequality across Europe. London: Edward Elgar Anthony, G. & Ord, K. 2008 Change-of-career secondary teachers: motivations, expectations and intentions, APJTE, 36(4):359-376. Apple, M.W. 2005 Education, markets, and an audit culture, Critical Quarterly 47(1/2):11-29 Ball, S.J. 2003 The teacher’s soul and the terrors of performativity, JEP, 18(2):215-228 Barber, M, & Mourshed, M. 2007 How the world's best performing school systems come out on top, McKinsey & Co Darling-Hammond, L; Holtzman, D.; Gatlin, S; Vasquez Heilig, J. 2005 Does Teacher Preparation Matter? Evidence about Teacher Certification, Teach for America, and Teacher Effectiveness, Education Policy Analysis Archives (13):1-48 Darling-Hammond, L. 2009 Educational Opportunity and Alternative Certification: New Evidence and New Questions, Stanford: SCOPE Day, C. & Gu, Q. 2010 The New Lives of Teachers, Abingdon: Routledge Freedman, S., Lipson, B. Hargreaves, D. 2008 More Good Teachers, London: Policy Exchange Furlong, J. 2005 New Labour and teacher education: the end of an era. ORE, 31(1):119–134 Haggard, C., Slostad, F. & Winterton, S. 2006 Transition to the School as Workplace: Challenges of second career teachers, TATE, 17(4):317–327 Hargreaves, A. 2000 Four ages of professionalism and professional learning, TTRP, 6(2):151-182. Little, J. 2010 The Teacher Workforce and Educational Equity, RoEE, 34(1):285-328 Mayotte, G. 2003. Stepping stones to success: previously developed career competencies and their benefits to career switchers transitioning to teaching, TATE, 19:681–695 Nias, J. 1989 Primary Teachers Talking: a study of teaching as work, London: Routledge OECD 2011 Building a High-Quality Teaching Profession: Lessons from around the World. Paris: OECD Sachs, J. (2003) The Activist Professional. Buckingham: OUP Tigchelaar, A., Brouwer, N. & Vermunt, JD. 2010 Tailor made: Towards a pedagogy for educating second-career teachers, ERR, 5:164–183 xxxxxxx. 2011 Professionalism and the post-performative teacher: new teachers reflect on autonomy and accountability in the English school system, Professional Development in Education, 37(3): pp 1-21 xxxxxxx, Busher, H., Kakos, M., Mohamed, C. & Smith, J. 2012 Crossing borders: new teachers co-constructing professional identity in performative times, Professional Development in Education, 38(1): pp 65-78
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