Becoming a teacher : an ethnographic study
This ethnographic study of the professional studies year of a Bachelor of Education course in a College of Higher Education aims to understand teacher education as a process of professional socialisation. The study starts from the recognition that our present understanding of the process of teacher socialisation is limited - theoretically, conceptually and empirically - despite considerable recent developments in the sociological understanding of school and classroom processes. By taking an interactionist/ethnographic approach to the study of the process of becoming a teacher, attention is drawn to the negotiated character of professional socialisation, and the similarities and differences in student teachers' experiences and perceptions of what it is to be a teacher. The study is concerned with the social processes and experiences of teacher education the subjective perceptions, feelings, interests and understandings of individuals and their creative and strategic adaptations in response to perceived circumstances. The study finds student teachers actively constructing perspectives, strategies and identities as potential teachers, a process involving conflicts and contradictions, taking place within a social context which imposes constraints on individual action Conceptualising the professional socialisation process as a critical phase of 'survival' in which student teachers must learn to cope, the study documents the necessity for strategic negotiation, accommodation and resistance to ensure success in the teacher education course. The particular difficulties of initial encounters with pupils and student teacher's relationships with teachers on school experience are discussed. The study also examines the power relations involved in teacher education, particularly those concerning the 'hidden pedagogy' of control and its relation to assessments of teacher competence.