Playing it real in a virtual context: developing sustainable connections to university

Noble, Karen and Turner, Michelle ORCID: and Lechy, Katie (2010) Playing it real in a virtual context: developing sustainable connections to university. In: 2010 Australian Teacher Education Association Annual Conference: Teacher Education for a Sustainable Future (ATEA 2010), 4-7 July 2010, Townsville, Australia.

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For teachers from within the early childhood education and care sector, working with children and families in the current societal context has become increasingly problematic (Gardner, 1999, 2003; Prout, 2003a, 2003b). From one standpoint, research has indicated that much of the difficulty associated with working in this field is symptomatic of the uncertainty, discontinuity and insecurity characteristic of the post-modern condition (Dahlgren & Chiriac, 2009; Hulqvist & Dahlberg, 2001; Jenks, 1996a, 1996b; Lyotard, 1984; Prout, 2003a, 2003b). As authors of this paper, whilst we agree with this particular standpoint, it can be argued that the aforementioned perspective can be seen as an over-simplification of the problems in the ECEC field. While the characteristics of the post-modern condition may be considered to be at the heart of some of these problems, the complexities of current policy reform, the demands of neo-liberal approaches to the provision of care and education (Ball, 2003; Beck, 1999; Hulqvist, 1998; Popkewitz, 2000; Rose, 1999, 2000), as well as a lack of understanding of current contexts for children and their families compound the present state of play across the sector (Moss, 2003; Prout, 2003a). Thus, new demands are evident for teachers in the ECEC field in relation to both personal and professional skill development. Therefore preparation for understanding the impact these contexts have on their identity development is critical to evaluating pre-service educator’s university experiences in contract with the reality of the rural practice context. On the grounds that learners view and interpret new information and experiences through their existing network of knowledge, experience and beliefs (Dahlgren & Chiriac, 2009; Darling-Hammond, 1997; Helm, 2006), the project’s design acknowledges and anticipates that the beginner teachers' experiences will be shaped, in part, by what they 'bring' to those experiences, including their initial choices to enter the profession, and their prior conceptions and expectations about teaching and initial teacher preparation (Helm, 2006). In this case study, juxtaposition between preconceptions and expectations of pre-service teacher education and early experiences as beginning teacher in a rural Australian context are explored and the key research questions guiding data interrogation include:
o What are the connections between your initial expectations about becoming a teacher and commencing your university studies and the reality of teaching in a rural context?
o How has this influenced or shaped your professional identity and learning?
o How has the rural context impacted upon the manifestation of the curriculum, impacting your professional decisions and development?
o How do you use the knowledge, skills and abilities developed at University in your professional context?
o What have you learned about yourself as an individual as well as you as a professional? What will you do differently now as an outcome of your professional learning thus far? A model of critical reflection is used to interrogate the data from interviews and facebook postings over a 2 year period. Key themes emerged and these relate to the concept of teacher identity, the role of relationships, a sense of agency, the notion of relevance, and the central presence of emotion. In this paper these themes are presented as core features of the experience of 'becoming a teacher'.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No evidence of copyright restrictions preventing deposit.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Education (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Education (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2011 06:26
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2014 00:20
Uncontrolled Keywords: early childhood; education; childcare; post-modern; rural; pre-service teacher education; beginner teacher
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130102 Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori)
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390307 Teacher education and professional development of educators
39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390302 Early childhood education
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930299 Teaching and Instruction not elsewhere classified

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