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Issues in Educational Research, 2019, Vol 29(1), 19-37.
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Impact of support for preservice teachers placed in disadvantaged schools

Vaille Dawson and Jennifer Shand
The University of Western Australia

One of the greatest challenges facing Australian school education is the disparity in quality of education across schools. One aspect of addressing this issue has been greater regulation and requirements to improve the quality of initial teacher education. Course accreditation standards in teacher education programs require secondary preservice teachers to have studied undergraduate units relevant to their specialist teaching area. Many of these secondary preservice teachers will have a professional practice experience in a disadvantaged school. However, issues around managing student behaviour and overcoming students' poor literacy skills can leave these preservice teachers floundering and unwilling to seek employment in these schools after graduation. In an effort to increase the number of teacher graduates choosing to seek employment in disadvantaged schools, this research examined the impact of a one-on-one subject specialist mentor and targeted workshop program for 54 preservice secondary science, mathematics and English teachers from a single university attending 24 disadvantaged schools. Using a quantitative survey, their self-efficacy was compared with preservice teachers placed in more advantaged schools. Qualitative data comprised a written questionnaire, workshop resources, meeting notes, and email communications between mentors and preservice teachers. The findings demonstrated that some preservice teachers placed in disadvantaged schools may experience significant personal, classroom and school based issues. However, their self-efficacy did not differ significantly from those placed in more advantaged schools.
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Authors: Vaille Dawson is Professor of Science Education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Western Australia where she conducts classroom based research and teaches preservice secondary science education. Vaille has co-edited four widely used preservice teacher education textbooks published by Allen and Unwin. Her research interests include scientific literacy, argumentation, socioscientific issues and supporting teachers in disadvantaged schools.
Email: Vaille.dawson@uwa.edu.au
Web: https://research-repository.uwa.edu.au/en/persons/vaille-dawson

Dr Jennifer Shand coordinates the Master of Teaching (Secondary) and English curriculum at the University of Western Australia. Her research interests include the teaching of literature, writing pedagogy, middle and upper school English curriculum, young adult fiction and teaching in disadvantaged schools. Email: Jennifer.Shand@uwa.edu.au Web: https://research-repository.uwa.edu.au/en/persons/jennifer-shand

Please cite as: Dawson, V. & Shand, J. (2019). Impact of support for preservice teachers placed in disadvantaged schools. Issues in Educational Research, 29(1), 19-37. http://www.iier.org.au/iier29/dawson.pdf

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Created 19 Jan 2019. Last correction: 19 Jan 2019.
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