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Issues in Educational Research, 2020, Vol 30(1), 302-322.
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How future educators view themselves and their profession: A study of pre-service science educators

Rachel Sheffield, Susan Blackley and Dawn Bennett
Curtin University, Australia

Attrition of up to thirty per cent in the initial years of a teaching career has led to a high level of disillusionment in teaching as a desirable and rewarding profession. Although many nations have responded with substantial investments in pre-service teacher education, these efforts have failed to dissuade newly qualified teachers from leaving the profession. An important factor in professional membership is a sense of identity to both a particular group of people and a set of established practices. This article examines the initial identity of pre-service science teachers who belong to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) cohort of teachers in the primary and secondary initial education programs at an Australian university. We consider the alignment of participants' initial professional identity, including career commitment, with their concerns about entering the teaching profession. Recommendations are made for actions that might reduce the early career exodus.
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Authors: Dr Rachel Sheffield is Associate Professor in School of Education at Curtin University, Australia and a member of the Executive of Curtin Academy. She researches and publishes in science, STEM education and professional identity. Rachel has won Faculty, University and national awards for teaching excellence and an Executive Endeavour Fellowship.
Email: rachel.sheffield@curtin.edu.au
Web: https://staffportal.curtin.edu.au/staff/profile/view/Rachel.Sheffield/

Dr Susan Blackley is currently seconded to the Faculty of Humanities Director of Student Engagement position at Curtin University. She researches and publishes in STEM education and professional identity development and the use of digital professional portfolios to support this development. Susan is a Curtin Fellow, a Senior HEA Fellow and a HERDSA Fellow.
Email: susan.blackley@curtin.edu.au
Web: https://staffportal.curtin.edu.au/staff/profile/view/Susan.Blackley/

Professor Dawn Bennett is Distinguished Professor of Higher Education with Curtin University, where she directs the EmployABILITY thinking and creative workforce initiatives. Dawn's research focuses on the development of employability. She is currently operationalising a free metacognitive model for employability (https://developingemployability.edu.au) with faculty and students at multiple institutions. Publications appear at Researchgate. (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Dawn_Bennett)
Email: dawn.bennett@curtin.edu.au
Web: https://research.curtin.edu.au/researcher/dawn-bennett-10f9ee67/

Please cite as: Sheffield, R., Blackley, S. & Bennett, D. (2020). How future educators view themselves and their profession: A study of pre-service science educators. Issues in Educational Research, 30(1), 302-322. http://www.iier.org.au/iier30/sheffield.pdf

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Created 8 Feb 2020. Last correction: 8 Feb 2020.
Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]