10 SES 04 C, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
It has long been argued that the quality of entrants into the teaching profession is crucial in determining the overall quality of school systems; as a consequence, attracting high performing individuals into the profession has become a key priority for governments globally (OECD 2005; MacKinsey 2007; UNESCO 2011). In the UK this issue has been a key driver in teacher education policy (Freedman et al 2008, Smithers & Robinson, 2011), with recruitment initiatives emphasising the benefits of recruiting mature career-changers. A particular feature of recent initiatves has been the focus on attracting highly-qualified individuals with substantial professional/managerial experience to teaching (DfE 2011). The rationale presented is that their ‘elite, high-level’ professional/managerial backgrounds brings transferable skills/qualities and accumulated 'wisdom' that will have an immediate impact in schools (Freedman et al 2008).
Despite the wealth of data in respect of the outcomes of initial teacher education, there is no reliable data regarding either the numbers of professional career changers, their relative success during training, or their impact in schools.
Although the phenomenon of career changers entering teaching is well-established (Williams 2009), it remains under-researched in the UK (Priyadharshini & Robinson-Pant 2003; George & Maguire 2008). Some studies have come from the USA, reflecting a more established range of alternative graduate routes into teaching (Lerner & Zittleman 2002; Mayotte 2003; Haggard et al 2006), and Australia and New Zealand, where there has been longstanding concern about teacher supply (Richardson & Watt 2005; Anthony & Ord 2008; Williams 2008). None of these studies, however, have focused on the experiences of this specific subset of 'elite' career-changers.
Teacher quality is an issue with particular resonance in the European context (European Commission 2007), with the EU Lisbon Treaty seeing education as central to establishing political legitimacy (Lawn & Lingard, 2002) and creating a ‘Europe of Knowledge’ (Moutsios, 2007) equiped to compete in a global economy (Buchberger 2000). Governments across Europe have therefore looked to teacher education systems in countries (such as Finland and South Korea) judged as successful (in PISA terms); a common feature of these is an emphasis on recruitment of high quality entrants to teaching (MacKinsey 2007; Snoek & Zogla 2008).
The theoretical framework for this study is underpinned the extensive literature about beginning teachers’ professional identity construction as a social process (Flores & Day 2006), and that of learning and identity construction within ‘communities of practice’ (Wenger 1998). It is also addresses the impact of 'performative' education policies on ITE, characterised by an intensive market-driven accountability (Ball 2003; Troman 2007), that have become an increasingly common feature of school systems globally.
This paper reports on a pilot study for a large-scale project (for which a funding decision is expected in March 2011), and examines the perceptions of professional career-changers and teacher educators. The specific foci of this study will be the participants':
- motivations for career change;
- experience of the transition from 'expert' to novice in different professional domain;
- challenges and rewards of teaching.
In addition, the study will seek the perceptions of teacher educators of working with professional career-changers, including the distinctive contribution they can bring to teaching and any particular challenges/tensions involved in career transition.
Anthony, G. & Ord, K. 2008 Change-of-career secondary teachers: motivations, expectations and intentions, Asia-Pacific JTE, 36:4, 359-376. Ball, S 2003 The teacher's soul and the terrors of performativity, JEP 18(2) pp 215-228 DfE 2011 Training our Next Generation of Outstanding Teachers, London: DfE. European Commission 2007 Raising the Quality of Teacher Education, Brussels: ECET Flores, M & Day, C 2006 Contexts which shape and reshape new teachers’ identities, TATE, 22(2) pp 219-232 Freedman, S., Lipson, B. Hargreaves, D. 2008 More Good Teachers, London: Policy Exchange. George, R & Maguire, M 1998 Older women training to teach, Gender and Education, 10(4): pp 417-430 Haggard, C., Slostad, F. & Winterton, S. 2006 Transition to the School as Workplace: Challenges of second career teachers, TATE, 17:4, 317–327 McKinsey & Company 2011 How the world's best-performing school systems come out on top Mayotte, G. 2003. Stepping stones to success: previously developed career competencies and their benefits to career switchers transitioning to teaching, TATE 19 681–695 OECD 2005 Teachers matter: Attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers. Paris: OECD Priyadharshini, E & Robinson-Pant, A 2003 The Attractions of Teaching: an investigation into why people change careers to teach, JET, 29(2): 95-112 Richardson, P & Watt, H 2005 ‘I’ve decided to become a teacher’: Influences on career change, TATE, 21(5): pp475-489 Smithers, A. & Robertson, P. 2011 Good Teacher Training Guide, Buckingham: University of Buckingham. Snoek, M., & Zogla, I. 2008 Teacher education in Europe: Main Characteristics and Developments. UNESCO 2011 Global Education Digest, Quebec: UNESCO. Wenger, E. 1998 Communities of practice: Learning, meaning and identity, Cambridge: CUP. Williams, J. 2010 Constructing a new professional identity: Career change into teaching, TATE 26(3) pp 639-647
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