University of Tasmania
whole_WebbJacquelineLouise1994_thesis.pdf (7.93 MB)

Relief teaching for Tasmanian education : perspectives, policies and practices

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posted on 2023-05-27, 13:06 authored by Webb, JL
The purpose of this research is to provide a reasonably comprehensive study of the policies and practices of relief teaching in Tasmania. This has entailed looking at the broader context of policies and practices in this field in Australia and the United States, whilst focussing more closely upon the Tasmanian experience. As a consequence it has been necessary to obtain data from a variety of sources which include a literature review, examination of official files, information collected from state and territory departments and teacher unions, discussions with retired teachers and structured interviews with relief teachers. The literature, which focusses mainly on the employment of relief teachers in the United States of America, tends to suggest that relief teaching has a depressive effect on childrens' education because these teachers are rarely effective in their substitute role. The implication is that relief teachers are not entirely to blame for their ineffectiveness in moving student learning forward. It has been suggested that there is a need for school staff and relief teachers to form a working relationship whereby problems relating to relief teaching can be identified and more effectively addressed. A somewhat different perspective is apparent in Tasmania. From information contained in files held by the Department of Education and the Arts and interviews with retired teachers it is apparent that the factor most likely have an adverse affect on student learning is the unavailability of relief teachers. There is evidence to suggest that financial limitations placed on the employment of relief teachers has been a major factor and is considered to be the cause of significant interruption to continuity of student learning. From information provided by education authorities and teacher unions, it might be inferred that schools throughout Australia are able to call upon well-qualified and experienced relief teachers whose expertise is likely to be of assistance in maintaining students' academic progress. Moreover, it is likely that the utilisation of these teachers has the capacity to enhance the productivity of regular teachers because it reduces the stress regular teachers are likely to incur when workloads are increased through internal supervision. While education authorities admit that problems can arise, most appear to believe that the benefits of employing relief teachers outweigh the disadvantages. The issues within the literature relating to relief teaching provided the basis for the construction of an interview schedule which was subsequently used to elicit information and assess the range of concerns relevant to relief teaching in Tasmania. Subsequent to the collection and categorisation of data obtained from the interviews, chi-square tests were performed using the Macintosh StatView program. From the results of the tests, it has been ascertained that there are statistically significant differences when years of teaching experience and the grade level in which the relief teacher works are correlated with several issues relating to relief teaching. Test results indicate that the individual's perception of the role of the relief teacher is likely to be influenced by the grade level in which a teacher works. The majority of teachers working in the primary school are likely to perceive the role as one of providing their own educationally valid activities and lesson plans. Secondary school teachers generally see the role as that of maintaining learning programs which are currently being taken by the regular teacher. The grade level in which a teacher works is likely to have some bearing on the kinds of assistance relief teachers require to teach effectively. The majority of primary teachers believe information about school and class routines is important, while a small majority of those in the secondary area are likely to opt for assistance with behaviour strategies. When years of full-time and relief teaching experience were correlated with students' perceptions about the authority of relief teachers, it was found that subjects with less than ten years experience were the group most likely to believe students perceive them as lacking in authority. This group also feel the greatest need for orientation and training programs which specifically relate to relief teaching.


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Copyright 1992 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Includes bibliographical references (leaves 129-133). Thesis (M.Ed.)--University of Tasmania, 1994

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