The impact of school cultures on the newly qualified teachers' first year in post

Year: 2001

Author: Williams, Anne

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper based upon a funded project, focuses upon how school cultures affect the context within which the newly qualified teacher has to work and how these cultures facilitate or militate against the new teacher's further development. Our analysis takes Hargreaves' typology of school cultures, individual, balkanised, collaborative and contrived collegial as a starting point. Preliminary analysis suggests that, for the newly qualified teacher, cultures operate at both a macro and a micro level and that both can make a significant different to the individual's experience and perceptions of their first year of teaching. In Hargreaves' terms, newly qualified teachers do not appear to thrive in a school where the culture is individual. The most positive experiences were reported by NQTs who had worked within a collaborative culture whether this was at school level, generally found in primary schools, or at departmental level, normally found in secondary schools. After identifying examples of Hargeaves' typology of teacher cultures and relating aspects of NQT experience to that typology, we discuss some of the problems which this particular typology poses and suggest, as an alternative, a continuum of school and teacher culture in terms of their appropriateness as induction contexts.