Cracking open the ‘black box' of teacher retention

Year: 2014

Author: Bruce, Johnson, Anna, Sullivan, Michele, Simons, Tony, Daly, Peter, Arnold

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In recent times, attracting and retaining high quality early career teachers has become an issue of international concern. While losing good quality teachers from the profession can be framed as an educational problem, it has more far reaching economic and social implications that threaten Australia's international competitiveness in an increasingly global economic system. This is a particular concern given that high quality teachers are an essential social and economic asset in developing Australia's human capital. This paper reports on the early analysis of data by taking a socially critical view of the micropolitical strategies used by principals to encourage high quality teachers to stay in the profession. Micropolitics refers to the use of formal and informal power by individuals and groups to achieve their goals in organisations (Blase, 1991). By adopting a micropolitical perspective, this study investigates the ways in which leaders resolve issues, in particular as they impinge on the goal of retaining early career teachers. This paper will present data collected from interviews with selected early career teachers to illuminate the ways in which they understand the actions of school leaders to influence and foster their professional commitment.  The analysis will contribute to the questioning, deconstruction ad critiquing of policies and practices in the interests of making things better, fairer and more socially just for newly appointed teachers. Blase, J. (1991). The micropolitical perspective. In J. Blase (Ed.), The politics of life in schools: Power, conflict, and cooperation. London, UK: Sage Publications.