10 SES 09 E, Research on Teacher Induction and Early Career Teachers
Lack of teachers are a considerable problem in many countries (Ingersoll, 2001, Loeb, Darling-Hammond & Luczak, 2005) and Norway is no exception. Estimates are difficult and complex to forecast as it will depend on various factors and circumstances. The government’s estimates that there will be a lack of 10-12000 teachers within a few years and that approximately 27 percent of the students that start teacher programs quits on the way (Government, 2016). In addition, there are many newly qualified teachers (NQT) that don`t start a carrier as a teacher in school, and more alarmingly is that many leave teaching during their first year (Government, 2016). Going further, ten percent of NQT leave teaching within their first five years (Government, 2017). This means that only sixty percent of those who start the study to become qualified teachers actually ends up working in schools.
While we see that it is challenging to keep teacher students and NQT`s in an educational pathway and in the schools, the Norwegian Government have been tightening up the control of who are considered qualified to start at teacher education. From 2017, a new demand was an absolutely minimum that with grade 4 in mathematics and 3 in Norwegian from upper secondary school (six is the highest grade), to be accepted into any teacher training program (Department of Education, 2016). Beside demands of minimum of achieved grades, the teacher training program for primary- and secondary school was extended with a year, from four years of education to a five year master degree (Department of Education, 2016). These actions are on the one hand supposed to raise the status teachers, and on the other to increase the competence among future teachers which in turn will improve pupils learning outcome. Traditionally there have been low numbers of students that applies teachers training programs in Norway and new demands might affect this either in positive or negative direction. Since this framework of teacher training is quite new, and intended to reach students with better grades in selected subjects, we find it both important and interesting to develop knowledge about who these “new” teacher students are and what motives these students give to study for being a teacher.
Research mainly points to three categories of motives to become a teacher. The first is altruistic: teaching is considered socially valuable and important for helping every single pupil succeed and to develop the society into something better. Secondly, there are intrinsic reasons for teaching as an activity, where one makes use of subject knowledge and one’s expertise is in the foreground. The third, extrinsic motive is connected to salary, status, vacations etc. (Kyriacou, Hultgren and Stephens, 1999, p. 374). Watt and Richardson (2012) suggest a fourth category named personal utility motifs, where teaching is assessed as the most important job and that teaching gives the opportunity to shape society in the future. This fourth category have similarities to altruistic reasons.
With this backdrop, an overall aim in this project is to shed light on teacher students’ movement through various stages in teacher training and working carrier. We search to examine what students utter as important reasons to studying to become a teacher, to leave or to stay in teacher education, and later to stay or leave teaching and school. In this first step in a longitudinal qualitative research project we explore the following research question: What experiences do teacher students have from their own school attendance, and what motives stand out as important for becoming a teacher?
There seems to be research gap on teacher and teacher career, and it will therefore be important to trace the timeline of students to shed light on important events in student teachers history to become a teacher and possibly leave the occupation/schools. The overall study is planned as a longitudinal qualitative research project. In the long run in the project, we will use life history to approach teacher students educational and working pathways. A life history approach is “… related to biography, it is a retrospective account, and it involves some form of narrative statement” (Tierney, 2000, p. 539). Life histories are constructed through narratives that individuals express about their life, and further contextualized. That means that expressed stories are supposed to be situated in a historical, cultural and social connection. This approach is thereby well applicable to create insight into how social changes may effect individuals, and how each individual grasp the opportunities that exists. Through a thematic life history (Goodsen & Sikes, 2001, p. 142), we points to critical incidents in the respondents stories to develop knowledge about reasons for becoming a teacher. In what stage in life was the decision made and why? What stands out as central ambitions? This sub-project is based on a group of approximately hundred students that started on a five-year master's degree teacher training program in 2018 at Nord university campus Levanger in Norway. We tend to collect data using both written student texts and single interviews. Students are being followed from their early start as teacher students and further in their educational and working pathways. In this first stage, package one, we have collected texts where the student teachers had replied on one open task and one question. The first task was to write an essay based on an open-minded view of their time in primary school. What did they remember, what was important for them, and how did they understand it today? The second part, the question, was more narrow and directly, asking the students teachers about their motives to become a teacher?
We expect to find a great variety of reasons to start the carrier of becoming a teacher. As a consequence of the study design, we expect to find highlights of critical incidents and experiences from the student teachers life in primary and secondary school. Preliminary analyses indicates that such critical incidents can be both of positive and negative character. Some student teachers have had experiences with teachers characterized as not functioning in the classroom, boredom, loneliness and lack of adapted education. Other narratives are constructed around positive experiences related to teachers with good relational competence, friendship, play and sense of achievement. Either of these narratives can be interpreted as grounded in relational aspects. Preliminary findings also shows there is a lack of subject descriptions and focus in the data material despite this have been a priority area for the Norwegian Government. Further analyses, shows a distribution of motives for becoming a teacher. The findings are reflecting existing research on the field including altruistic, intrinsic and extrinsic reasons. Still, it seems like a predominance of the respondents answers can be interpreted as altruistic. Entwining the retrospective histories and contemporary motives for becoming a teacher is helpful in the aim of developing knowledge about student teachers pathways into the profession of teaching. Based on the outcomes in this study, we discuss whether new demands and teacher training programs makes it more attractive to become a teacher, and if teacher training, still appeal to the same kinds of peoples with the same motives that earlier research suggest.
Department of Education (2016). Lærerløftet. På lag for kunnskapsskolen. Retrieved from: https://www.regjeringen.no/globalassets/upload/kd/vedlegg/planer/kd_strategiskole_web.pdf Goodson, I. & Sikes, P. (2001). Life history research in educational settings. Learning from lives. Maidenhead: Open University Press. Government (2016). Gnist indikatorrapport. Retrieved from: https://www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/6b3b8534bb6749558747a51ab77d23ae/gnist-indikatorrapport-2016_.pdf Government (2017). Kunnskapsdepartementet: Pressemelding nr. 115-17. Retrieved from: https://www.regjeringen.no/no/aktuelt/ni-av-ti-nyutdannede-larere-fortsetter-i-jobben/id2563568 Ingersoll, R.M. (2001). Teacher turnover and teacher shortages: An organizational analysis. American Educational Research Journal, 38(3), s. 499-534. Kyriacou, C., et al. (1999). "Student teachers' motivation to become a secondary school teacher in England and Norway." Teacher Development, 3(3): 373-381. Loeb, S., et al. (2005). "How teaching conditions predict teacher turnover in California schools." Peabody Journal of Education 80(3): 44-70. Tierny, W.G. (2000). Undaunted courage. Life history and the postmodern challenge. I N.K. Denzin & Y.S. Lincoln (red.), Handbook of qualitative research (2nd ed), (p. 537-553). Thousand Oaks CA: Sage. Watt, H.M.G. & Richardson, P.W. (2012). "An introduction to teaching motivations in different countries: comparisons using the FIT-Choice scale." Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 40(3): 185-197.
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