Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Advisor

Dr Geoffrey W. Lummis

Second Advisor

Associate Professor Graeme Lock


In this study the experiences of commencing first year Bachelor of Education (Primary) students were investigated. A mixed methods approach was used consisting of an online survey and 12 questions that were asked in interviews with students who agreed to be interviewed. The online survey data was developed using QualtrixTM software and the results of the survey responses were analysed using the available features in QualtrixTM. The survey responses indicated that students were motivated to become teachers however they found the academic study work load difficult. To accommodate the study load required students to find several hours in an already busy life world consisting of parenting and financial responsibilities. The results of the online survey show strong agreement with the line-by-line coding process applied to the interview responses. Some questions in the online survey were adapted from the First Year Experience Questionnaire for reliability, in particular those relating to Comprehending and Coping. This group of questions together with the 12 interview questions were mapped to selected phases of Mezirow‘s (1991) phases of transformational learning allowing identification of the phases of transformational learning experienced by students.

All students experienced one or more phases of transformational learning. Both groups of students surveyed and interviewed were passionate about becoming a Primary School Teacher and valued the support of their families. However, all students reported being overwhelmed by the academic study load. The mature age students reported reduced financial income, child care, being dependent on a spouse and finding it difficult to devote enough time to study at home as significant problems that they believed could determine whether or not they would be able to keep going in the course. School leavers were overwhelmed by the study load and lacked the time management skills to effectively implement a solution to their problems.


Paper Location