University of Tasmania
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Teacher relocation and teaching quality : an examination of the impact of teacher relocation on teachers, their work and their quality of teaching

posted on 2023-05-26, 22:17 authored by Cowley, Trudy Mae
Since the introduction of a transfer policy for Tasmanian state school teachers in 1994, many teachers have been required to relocate between schools throughout the state. Teachers' placements have been reviewed after five (or sometimes three) years in order to provide equity of staffing in all schools, including those in isolated locations and low socio-economic areas. In addition, teachers have continued to be relocated due to promotion. The focus of this study was to determine the impact of relocation, whether it be due to the Transfer Policy or promotion, on teachers, their work and their quality of teaching. To provide a theoretical framework for the part of the research concerned with teacher quality, models of the development of teacher expertise and the high quality teacher were developed from the literature, principally from the work on teacher expertise conducted by Berliner and colleagues. In comparison to the extensive literature on teacher expertise and teacher quality, minimal research has been conducted in the area of teacher relocation, and most of this has focused on the reasons for teacher relocation and its implications for staffing. However, a handful of international studies have investigated the outcomes of teacher transfer, but mostly these have been small, qualitative studies based solely on interview data. Only one study (Bullough & Baughman, 1995a) was found which combined the two areas of teacher expertise and teacher relocation‚ÄövÑvÆit involved a case study of one teacher. Therefore, in-depth research into the interactions between teacher relocation and teacher quality was warranted and has been provided by this study. There were two phases to this study‚ÄövÑvÆa mainly qualitative phase (phase I) and a mainly quantitative phase (phase II). Phase I involved case studies of seven relocated teachers. The case studies included teacher observations, teacher interviews, teacher self-ratings and student surveys conducted both prior to and subsequent to relocation. The data collected during phase I provided a framework for the study and were used to inform the development of the questionnaire which was used in phase II of the study. Tasmanian state school teachers who relocated either due to promotion or the Transfer Policy in 1995/96 or 1996/97 were surveyed in phase II. A response rate of 65 percent (n=360) was achieved and represented approximately one-third of the target population. Thus, the study involved in-depth coverage of the research focus in phase I and broad coverage in phase II. Consequently, the findings of the research were reliable, valid and generalisable. The results of the study indicated relocation impacts on teachers, their work and their quality of teaching in various ways dependent upon individual teachers and their circumstances. Many changes in context occur upon relocation, including changes in school environment and culture (eg, location, student demographic), changes in teachers' professional lives (eg, grade level, subject area) and changes in teachers' personal lives (eg, travelling distance to work, residence). Teachers react to these changes in different ways. The impact of relocation on teachers' personal lives resulted in changes in self-confidence, self-esteem, family situation, stress levels and health, either for better or for worse. Professionally, relocated teachers required time to settle in and establish themselves at their new school. In addition, relocated teachers were often on a steep learning curve and, for many, their teaching was modernised and revitalised as a result of relocation. Regarding the impact of relocation on teachers' quality of teaching, the majority of relocated teachers experienced an initial drop in their level of teaching quality upon relocation, but this was regained over time such that their original level of teaching quality was attained or extended after relocation. Relocated teachers who regained their quality of teaching quickly, or indeed, extended their quality of teaching or did not experience an initial drop, were more likely to have been provided with appropriate support. Appropriate support is necessary to minimise the negative impacts and to maximise the positive impacts of relocation on teachers, their work and their quality of teaching. Appropriate support is best provided by the system, schools and school staff in order to assist relocated teachers to adapt to their new school context. With appropriate support, relocation can reinvigorate and broaden teachers' teaching as they grow and learn from the relocation experience. However, the opposite is also true.


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Copyright 1999 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). Library has additional copy on microfiche. Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 1999. Includes bibliographical references

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