Storying their way into, through and out of teaching: Early career teachers' transition from initial teacher education into the workforce

Year: 2013

Author: Ho, Pauline, Doecke, Brenton, Allard, Andrea, Kostogriz, Alex

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Improving the quality of teachers and teaching is a central goal of many educational systems. Given the increasingly complex teacher education landscape,  more needs to be known about the particularities of effective programs and how teachers integrate their knowledge in skillful ways to shape successful teaching over time (Darling-Hammond, 2010; Barber and Mourshed, 2007; OECD, 2005). This project is timely given the current context of educational reforms in Australia, as shown by the strong national interest in teacher policy issues over the past decade. Currently, the national research base is dominated by small-scale, disparate and point-in-time studies of early career teachers' experiences in Australia. This project involves in-depth interviews with early career teachers at key points in their first few years of teaching.
This paper discusses the partial findings from the Studying the Effectiveness of Teacher Education (SETE) project. The goal of the teacher interviews is to gain a ‘big picture' of teachers' early career experiences in Australia - to better understand their perceptions, over time, on their career progression, and the relevance and effectiveness of their teacher education programs.
The narratives reveal transitional complexities of ‘learning to teach' across professional spaces between universities and schools; challenges of employability and related to this, the challenges of and for professional learning in diverse classrooms. This research raises implications for the professional readiness and career retention of early career teachers and discusses directions and priorities in addressing these issues in teacher education.