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An Exploration of early career teachers’ changes in professional identities across a postgraduate teacher inquiry programme

Snook, James 2021. An Exploration of early career teachers’ changes in professional identities across a postgraduate teacher inquiry programme. EdD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This study examines the collaborative and sociocultural approaches foregrounded in a postgraduate teacher inquiry project that formed part of a Master’s in Educational Practice programme. The thesis focuses on early career teachers’ professional learning and how it impacts their developing identities. The study explores the perceptions of early career teachers (n=16) from various educational phases and geographical distributions in Wales. It also draws on the perceptions of External Mentors (n=6) and Academic Tutors (n=9) as they engaged in the supervision and mentoring support of a nine-month teacher inquiry project. Qualitative data for this study were generated through focus groups and interviews and were analysed thematically. The study found that teacher inquiry projects fostered agency and empowerment in early career teachers. However, early career teachers in challenging school environments that lacked support and were aligned to performative ideals of education found it difficult to express their sense of agency and to share and develop the expansive practices developed as part of the course. A novel finding was that some ECTs may have become dependent on the MEP as a temporary support structure, to survive their demanding school environments. These early career teachers attempted to fit into their schools to avoid being viewed as difficult, particularly those on temporary employment contracts. External Mentors and Academic Tutors supported alternative notions of being a teacher through supported deconstruction and reconstruction of early career teachers’ beliefs and values, in safe, dialogical spaces. These reconstructions aligned to social justice, a greater moral purpose, and teaching being led by learners’ needs. The participants also recognised the difficulties early career teachers face in enacting this approach to practice in their schools. The thesis concludes that support in Wales for early career teachers’ induction and professional learning, needs reconsidering. This point is especially salient with the advent of curriculum reform in Wales, as the school environment can negatively impact the professional identities of early career teachers and their ability to support the educational needs of their learners.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 May 2021
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 02:13

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