Supporting early career teachers’ digital agency: a role for mentorship?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Irish Educational Studies, 2022, 41, (1), pp. 201-211
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Early career teachers (ECTs [‘ECTs’ refers only to early career teachers and not to any other professional entity within the teaching profession or beyond]) face many challenges as they transition from pre-service to graduate practitioners, particularly relating to integrating technology into their practice. Available research identifies that pre-service teachers leave university with varying levels of exposure to the implementation of technology-integrated learning. Equally, there are school-based barriers that ECTs face which impede the application of these technologies in their teaching practice. In this paper, we present preliminary findings from a small study seeking to explore graduate teacher experiences of in-school support for technology-enabled learning (TEL). We argue for an innovative approach to mentorship which supports the development of the early career teachers’ digital agency. This approach would encompass the skills, literacies and knowledge required, but more importantly the development of professional agency. Mentorship can support the ECT to work through contextual barriers and find solutions that align to their specific learning environment, supporting the development of their digital identity. Existing research calls for greater mentorship for ECTs as they transition into teaching, and for increased collaboration between universities and schools to support ECTs in the development of their professional digital agency. This paper presents a basis for building on research and includes suggestions for future research to address that gap.
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