How novice vocational education and training teachers learn to become teachers

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Expectations of the vocational education and training (VET) sector continue to increase as governments, industry, and the community see vocational education and training as an answer to a range of issues. Meeting these expectations and providing quality VET requires VET teachers with a high level of skills and abilities. At the same time, in Australia, many VET teachers begin teaching with little or no prior experience or educational qualifications related to teaching. This thesis addresses the question of how novice vocational education and training teachers learn to undertake the teaching role. Specifically, it considers, • How novice VET teachers learn to become teachers through undertaking the teaching role; • How novice VET teachers learn to become teachers through practices additional to the teaching role; • What novice VET teachers learn; and • What enables and constrains novice VET teacher learning. Nine novice teachers, in eight different teaching areas, and across four campuses, participated in the longitudinal multi-case study undertaken over two years. A practice theory framework was used to design the research and to analyse the data. The research found that there was considerable variation in the practices that novice teachers undertook as part of their role as a teacher. For instance, ‘teaching’ involved different practices in each site. There was also variation in what each teacher needed to learn to undertake that role. The research found that practices associated with undertaking the teaching role were more influential in supporting teacher learning than practices additional to the teaching role. In some sites, a trellis of interconnected practices that supported learning (PSLs) was developed. A trellis is made up of interconnected components that help support growth in a particular direction. In sites where a trellis of PSLs was developed, it provided greater support for novice teacher learning to undertake their role than in sites where PSLs were not interconnected. The thesis identifies the key arrangements in each site that enabled and constrained novice teacher learning.
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