Exploring first year teachers’ identity transformation through theatre-based research

Ludecke, MA 2013, Exploring first year teachers’ identity transformation through theatre-based research, in Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Teachers and Teaching; ISATT 2013, ISATT, Ghent, Belgium, pp. 180-181.

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Title Exploring first year teachers’ identity transformation through theatre-based research
Author(s) Ludecke, MA
Conference name ISATT Biennial Conference (16th: 2013: Ghent, Belgium)
Conference location Ghent, Belgium
Conference dates 1-5Jul. 2013
Title of proceedings Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Teachers and Teaching; ISATT 2013
Publication date 2013
Conference series Excellence of teachers? Practice, policy, research
Start page 180
End page 181
Publisher ISATT
Place of publication Ghent, Belgium
Summary Why are beginning teachers leaving the profession in large numbers? Are they leaving because of their dissatisfaction with teaching? Are they leaving because of the conditions of their work that shape their identity? Teacher identity work emphasises it is important beginning teachers understand their professional identity as something shifting, fluid and emerging – not fixed. These and other water metaphors – such as ‘washout’, ‘sink or swim’, and ‘thrown in the deep end’ – are often used to describe beginning teachers’ experiences. Such words and metaphors assist to portray the fluid and unpredictable nature of identity transformation. However, these survival terms also influence beginning teachers to believe that their transition to teaching will be difficult. Recently there has been an increased concern over beginning teacher attrition linked to the difficulties they encounter in their early years of teaching. Yet the conditions of beginning teachers’ work in Victorian schools in Australia – including the contractual nature of employment of first year (1yr) teachers – encourage these 1yr practitioners to view their work as semi-permanent. As a result these 1yr teachers do not see themselves as teaching for extended periods of time, as was once the case. Throughout 2011 twelve 1yr teachers shared their experiences of identity transformation in semi-structured interviews with the researcher. Their interview data was analysed through a theatre-based research method, examining how first experiences shape teachers’ future practice and identity. This presentation includes excerpts from the theatre-based research performance ‘The First Time’, and expands on the methodological approaches taken to analyse the data in a way that reflects the fluid and unpredictable nature of teachers’ identity formation and transformation. This qualitative study allows categories of description to emerge from the data rather than pre-determining categories of investigation. As such the processes of scripting, rehearsing, and performing, were utilised to analyse and re-present the data. In an aim to uncover questions that have been buried by answers, the research is oriented as a phenomenographic inquiry. This mode of inquiry seeks to describe, analyse, and understand the qualitatively different experiences 1yr teachers undergo in their identity formation and transformation. The results of this research reveal that beginning teachers’ identity transformation through their first experiences have both individual features specific to each teacher’s roles and aspirations, and extra-individual factors such as interactions, affiliations, and status, which shape their identity. Categories of description that have emerged from the analysis include survival, liminal, and hegemonic discourses, artifacts as symbols of belonging, and the impact of the contractual nature of teaching. Implications of this research focus on the importance for beginning teachers to develop an understanding of the transformative nature of identity in relation to the practice of teaching, to counter the negative preconceptions beginning teachers are told to expect as rites of passage upon entering the profession. The research outcomes have implications for teacher educators and in-service teachers negotiating the waters of an ever-changing profession.
Language eng
Field of Research 139999 Education not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category EN.1 Other conference paper
ERA Research output type X Not reportable
Copyright notice ©2013, ISATT
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30069062

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Education
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