The lessons we learnt: Beginning teachers in Victorian secondary schools

Year: 2012

Author: Kirkby, Jane, Moss, Julianne, Godinho, Sally

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


This third symposium paper reports on research conducted into the lives of beginning secondary teachers in Victoria, Australia. The study completed in 2011, reports findings which affirm the story line of The First Time: Performing beginning teachers' emerging professional identities.  The paper describes what beginning teachers experienced of the formal Victorian Institute of teaching (VIT) registration and the recommended mentor relationships and the informal relationships, which were developed over the first year of practice.  Data were collected with six teachers over twelve months using semi-structured interviews and diaries and were analysed using the critical lens of Bourdieu's work in 'Reproduction' and 'The Logic of Practice' as well as Wenger's concept of 'Communities of Practice'. The research findings suggest that current conceptualisations of mentoring and induction may limit the knowledge required for teacher development in the 21st century. The initial misrecognition of symbolic violence in some mentoring relationships, which perpetuates the cultural norms of teaching, positions the beginning teacher as a complicit player in the 'game'.  Aligning with the symposium aims the paper presents an overview of the methodological innovation and framing steeped in the imaginary of arts based research.  Trompe L'oeil - The Art of Misrecognition as the overarching device for analysis was enacted on two levels.  First the reader is alerted to the tensions of representation in quantitative research and secondly how mentor relationships are subject to misrecognition, after Bourdieu (1990), enabling the symbolic violence (Bourdieu 1990) to reinforms the cultural norms of learning to teach.