Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education and Arts

First Advisor

Professor Mark Hackling

Second Advisor

Associate Professor Graeme Lock

Abstract

This study sought to develop a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of professional growth in pre-service teachers during their final practicum. The research was situated in a primary school and involved three pre-service teachers with widely differing backgrounds who brought differing experiences to the practicum. The study identified personal and contextual variables that affected the pre-service teachers’ professional growth and explored how professional discourse within a learning community of peers, informed by multiple perspectives on teaching practice that were facilitated by video, influenced professional growth.

This qualitative research project used a broad phenomenological approach in that the methods used were designed to illuminate the process of a pre-service teacher becoming a teacher. Data were gathered over a six month period using semi-structured pre and post interviews, direct observations, video recordings of lessons, audio recordings of video discussion meetings, student questionnaires, and written feedback and reflections. Triangulated data from multiple sources were collated for each case, then open coded and grouped into themes. Cross-case analysis identified patterns in the emerging themes across all three cases, forming the basis for the discussion.

This study found that pre-service teachers’ beliefs about the roles of teachers and learners influenced their approach to teaching during their final practicum; their approach to the use of feedback for their own learning; and, their response to pressure during their practicum. Pre-service teacher motivation and capacity to interpret and act on mentor feedback was shaped by the mentoring relationship, which in turn was influenced by mentors’ beliefs about their own role, and their expectations of pre-service teacher capabilities upon arrival. The inclusion of video in a purposeful, reflective process enabled pre-service teachers to relive their experiences and to recall the affective factors that influenced their thoughts and actions as they were brought back into the moment of noticing, reasoning and acting. This decreased pre-service teachers’ reliance on mentor feedback and gave them an opportunity to triangulate evidence about their practice and interpret that evidence in a way that continually refined their understanding of teaching and learning. Importantly, this study found that pre-service teachers’ capacity to adapt practice, and to grow as a teacher, is filtered through an affective lens.

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