Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

School

School of Education

First Advisor

Dr Geoffrey Lowe

Second Advisor

Dr Julia Morris

Third Advisor

Jason Boron

Abstract

Graduate teachers are expected to be ‘classroom ready’ upon graduation, yet research suggests they are not. The difficulties faced by graduate teachers in their first years of teaching often result in low self-efficacy and attrition, which in turn can affect the achievement of their students.

Since its establishment in 2010, the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) have implemented a competency framework for both teachers and Initial Teacher Education (ITE) providers, aimed at improving not only all teacher quality in Australia, but the quality of ITE, graduating teachers and the support structures provided to them. This research project investigated how six primary graduate Department of Education of Western Australia (DoEWA) teachers perceived their ‘classroom readiness’, in light of these reforms. A qualitative methodology based in phenomenology was employed, as the study sought to describe the experiences of these graduate teachers with regard to the formal and informal support offered to them, including mechanisms such as the Graduate Teacher Modules and In-Class Coaching. Interviews were undertaken with the six teachers upon commencement of their second year of teaching.

The findings revealed that graduate teachers did not perceive themselves to be ‘classroom ready’ upon ITE completion, however they did not expect to be, nor did it make them wish to quit the profession. Further, the Graduate Teacher Modules were perceived as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to graduate teacher professional learning, as opposed to targeting specific needs relating to the graduate teachers and their varied professional contexts. While the In-Class Coaching Program provided a small element of support to participants, overall it increased their workload and stress. This finding indicates the need for a review into the delivery of the In-Class Coaching Program. Ultimately, unofficial mentoring from colleagues was identified as offering the greatest form of support for the participants, suggesting the need to re-think the way schools and DoEWA offer support to graduate teachers.

Available for download on Monday, June 07, 2021

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