10 SES 17 E, Research on Teacher Induction and Early Career Teachers
International educational trends, students’ outcomes and the traditional tension between theory and practice in initial teacher education (ITE) have resulted in research for better solutions and continuous development of teacher education. The international debates about teacher education seem to have focused on how the preparation of student teachers should be organised and framed to improve the students’ learning. The aim of this paper is to contribute to this debate.
According to Zeichner (2014), two strategies for designing ITE programmes have been in the forefront: a) to strengthen the dominant university-based system of ITE or b) promote greater deregulation and privatisation, with shorter teacher training routes offered mainly in schools. Norway follows the first strategy with a change from a four years program on bachelor’s level to the implementation of a five years master’s program in 2017. The ambition of the program is to increase academic quality in school through a focus in ITE on deep subject knowledge, research and professional development.
The Norwegian ITE is differentiated into two programmes adjusted to the Norwegian educational system: 1st–7th and 5th–10th grades (ITE 1–7 and 5–10) (The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, 2016a, 2016b). In ITE 1–7, student teachers take 60 ECTS in education and 4 school-related subjects, among them math and the Norwegian language. In ITE 5–10, student teachers take 60 ECTS in education and three school-related subjects (150 ECTS in the main subject). The master’s projects shall bolster practice-based teacher capacity in order to better prepare students for work as a teacher.
In 2010, UiT launched the first Norwegian 5-year integrated R&D-based programme in ITE for primary and lower secondary school teachers. As such, the UiT pilot gave the main principles for the 2017 reform. This study aims to investigate the first cohorts completing a master degree in teacher education. Our reasearch question is: How does the practice architecture of the schools enable and constraints newly qualified teachers (NQT) professional development and their use of the knowledge base in the induction phase?
The induction phase are understood as the first years in teaching and is recognised as:
“a time of complex behavioral and conceptual professional learning and thus a time of intensive professional development. In this mutual interaction, socialization means that the beginning teacher is influenced by the context, but at the same time in his/her turn affects the structures in which s/he is socialized” (Kelchtermans & Ballet, 2002, p. 106).
We will use the theory of practice architecture as a lens for analysing the NQTs’ experiences of the induction phase (Kemmis & Grootenboer, 2008). The theory emphasises practices as social and situated phenomena, and is an account of what practices are composed of and how practices shape and are shaped by arrangements “that exist beyond each person as an individual agent or actor” (Kemmis & Grootenboer 2008, p. 37). The theory draws attention to three kinds of intersubjective spaces, where the actors encounter one another through language, through activity or work and in solidarity and power. These spaces (the semantic space, the physical space-time and the social space) “hang together” for a particular purpose, which in this theory is called a project of a practice (Kemmis & Grootenboer, 2008). The project here is the inductions practice. We also want to understand how the NQTs are channelled in their course by practice architectures that is composed of cultural-discursive talk and practice, material-economic factors and social-political arrangements in the school (Kemmis & Grootenboer, 2008).
This longitudinal empirical study lasts from 2015 to 2021 and follows teachers who have graduated with a master’s degree. The qualitative data analyzed for this article consists of interviews (Kvale, 2008) with 30 graduating students of both genders, carried out just few days after the students had submitted their Master thesis in 2015 and 2016 and after one and two year in service. An open-ended semi-structured guide (Kvale, 2008) was developed and adapted for each year of the data collection to capture changes in the students’ experiences related to their work and social life as NQTs. The interviews also focused on NQTs’ experiences of their research-based knowledge gained in education and how it is received at their new workplace as well as professional development. The interviews lasted from 45 to 60 minutes, and all were taped and transcribed. The target of the analysis was to capture the perceived interpretative realities of the NQTs. First, the data were interpreted inductively by sorting all similar thematic statements together with broad-brush or bucket coding in NVivo 12 (Bazeley, 2007). To determine overarching themes, the process included coding whole sentences and sequences based on their content. We used process memos to write down researcher reflections with the purpose of generating ideas for categorising the data (Maxwell, 2012). After the initial bucket coding, the material was recoded by merging similar codes or deleting codes with few statements. The codes that were qualified contained statements that were used frequently and that explained actions and processes that the informants found important. Next, the researchers used a large whiteboard as a creative visual tool for finding and qualifying an explanatory relation among the categories (Maxwell, 2012). We then summarised the informants experiences into a table to visualise similarities and differences between each informant. We then connected the codes to out theoretical framework to deeper our understanding about the NQTs’ experiences. To summarise our findings we created theoretical categories that explained how NQTs experience differently how schools may enable and constrain their professional development and the use of their knowledge-base in their induction phase. As the researchers found consensus, this triangulation strengthened the inter-rater reliability of the analytical work. Findings from qualitative studies are generally not valid for all contexts and organisations. A detailed description of this specific case makes it possible for others to use the findings in understanding similar social contexts (Hellström, 2008).
We can explain the NQTs’ profesional development into the “solo teacher”, The “collaborator”, and the “collective teacher”. The “solo” teacher The solo NQTs work in a school with an individual learning culture, sometimes described as traditional. The NQTs are supposed to solve his/her work alone, which may end up in loneliness. Being solo gives some benefits, as the NQTs can use their new teaching techniques and experiment in the class without any interference from the other teachers. The collaborative teacher The Norwegian schools are normally team organised. The collaborator captures the NQTs who find themselves a close colleague to use as sparing partner for help with practical guiding in solving new work tasks such as parent contact. Some of these teachers adapt the behaviour of their colleague and experience a narrowed teaching role, others find a partner where both of them develop professionally. Others again, find another NQT to use as sparringpartner, and focus on using their knowledge-base for common professional development. The collaborative teacher The “collaborative” oriented teachers experience that they can discuss developmental work, and express real concerns to their management and all their colleagues in a mutual interaction. Most of the colleagues are open and willing to learn and try out new educational practices. The NQTs in collaborative-oriented schools manage difficult situations with pupils with real support and help in concrete difficult situations from management and colleagues. In sum, the schools’ practice architecture enable and constrain the NQTs profesional development. Mediating factors such as leadership, colleagues, office situation, class management and inclusive education, affect the NQTs’ profesional development and possibilities to share or use their knowledge base. We will use these results to develop deeper analysis and discussion based on practice architecture theory.
Bazeley, P. (2007). Qualitative Data Analysis with NVivo. London: Sage Publications. Hellström, T. (2008). Transferability and Naturalistic Generalization: New Generalizability Concepts for Social Science or Old Wine in New Bottles? Quality & Quantity, 42(3), 321-337. doi:10.1007/s11135-006-9048-0 Kelchtermans, G., & Ballet, K. (2002). The micropolitics of teacher induction. A narrative-biographical study on teacher socialisation. Teaching and teacher education, 18(1), 105-120. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0742-051X(01)00053-1 Kemmis, S., & Grootenboer, P. (2008). Situation praxis in practic. In S. Kemmis & T. J. Smith (Eds.), Enabling Praxis (pp. 37‐62). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Kvale, S. (2008). Doing interviews. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Maxwell, J. A. (2012). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach (Vol. 41). Thousand Oaks: Sage publications. The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. (2016a). Forskrift om rammeplan for grunnskolelærerutdanningene for 1.–7. trinn. [Regulations relating to the framework plan for primary and lower secondary teacher education for years 1–7]. Oslo: Regjeringen Retrieved from https://lovdata.no/dokument/SF/forskrift/2016-06-07-860. The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. (2016b). Forskrift om rammeplan for grunnskolelærerutdanningene for 5.–10. trinn. [Regulations relating to the framework plan for primary and lower secondary teacher education for years 5–10]. Oslo: Regjeringen Retrieved from https://lovdata.no/dokument/SF/forskrift/2016-06-07-861. Zeichner, K. (2014). The struggle for the soul of teaching and teacher education in the USA. Journal of Education for Teaching, 40(5), 551-568. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/02607476.2014.956544
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