Outfielders: An unknown quantity in secondary school science

Year: 2004

Author: Bulman, Jan, Harrison, Allan

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Three government reports have noted ongoing shortages of secondary teachers of science, particularly in rural and remote regions. The extent of these shortages is masked by the employment of teachers out-of-field.

This study focuses on two beginning primary trained teachers making the transition to secondary science. Compounding the usual difficulties of beginning teachers, these teachers are teaching in multiple disciplines, beyond the level for which they were trained. Additionally, the range of subjects and year levels they teach works against the development of Pedagogical Content Knowledge in any particular area. The metaphor of journeyman is used to consider employers’ attitudes to these teachers.

A significant finding was that the very qualities of previous career experiences and personal attributes that led to the employment of these outfielders mitigates against their receiving the support they need.