Within the borderlands: The experiences of beginning early childhood teachers in primary schools

Year: 2002

Author: Britt, Clare, Sumsion, Jennifer

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:
This paper presents findings from a study investigating the experiences of four beginning early childhood qualified teachers in primary school settings. The key concern of the study was to explore the metaphors that these teachers used when describing their lived experience stories; and to analyse what these metaphors indicated about the discourses the teachers perceived were available to them, and where they had chosen to situate themselves within these discourses. Throughout the paper, I use the metaphor of 'border crossings' in order to highlight the focus within much of the literature on the difference and separation between early childhood and primary education. Data was generated through in-depth, open ended interviews, a group discussion, visual representations and written material. The thematic recurrences and discursive positionings within the metaphors and narratives of the participants were deconstructed and critically analysed using a framework of feminist poststructuralism. In particular, this paper explores the discursive positionings related to the teachers' movement within the borderland of early childhood education and primary education. I argue that early childhood teachers in primary schools are operating within an exciting space - an intersection between early childhood education and primary education. Rather than focusing on the difference and separation between these points, the focus shifts to working towards creating points of overlap, of connection - a shared borderland between early childhood education, primary education.

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