Novice Teachers as ‘Invisible’ Learners

Nov. 01, 2012

Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Volume 18, Issue 6, 2012, Pages 619-636

This study focuses on the way novice teachers, who are part of a one-year postgraduate diploma in post-primary teaching, have opted to negotiate their status as school teachers.
In particular, it asks why novice teachers prefer to hide as they scramble to learn how to teach.

On the basis of three separate interviews spaced out though the teaching year 2009, a team of university-based tutors probed for student reactions to competence-based issues. Adopting a sociocultural perspective, this study drew upon 17 pre-service students, each in a different placement location. The study looked, in particular, at their negotiating power, particularly the effect of school supports for their reality as learners.

Findings suggest that without quality mentoring support, our pre-service teachers prefer to become ‘invisible’ as learners. The authors identified three pre-professional stances: fragile, robust and competitive. The key finding is that none of these pre-professional stances mitigate pre-service students’ lack of negotiating power. On the other hand, informal school-based supports can help students considerably.

Updated: Sep. 06, 2017