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ERIC Number: EJ1038164
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Aug
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 52
ISSN: EISSN-1573-1812
Ensuring the Ongoing Engagement of Second-Stage Teachers
Kirkpatrick, Cheryl L.; Johnson, Susan Moore
Journal of Educational Change, v15 n3 p231-252 Aug 2014
Research and policy have increasingly focused on the importance of staffing schools with effective teachers. A critical variable affecting teacher effectiveness is the enthusiasm, energy and effort teachers bring to their work, or teachers' work engagement. Better understanding teachers' work engagement and how it may change over stages in a teacher's career is the subject of this exploratory interview study of second-stage teachers--teachers with 4-10 years of experience. Participants in this study described engaging in their work to different degrees and in very different ways. As beginning teachers, their interest in and enthusiasm for teaching was typically high and they focused a great deal of energy on conducting their classes. However, over time they acquired a sense of competence and had been granted considerable professional autonomy. Although competence and autonomy inspired and energized some of these teachers, it also made it unnecessary to be highly engaged. Their administrators reportedly paid little attention to their choices and did not intervene. Ultimately, the decision about whether and how to engage in teaching was theirs to make. Although all participants reported a continued interest in and enthusiasm for teaching, three stage-related patterns emerged in how they engaged in their work. Some teachers chose to modify their engagement, re-directing a portion of their effort to activities other than teaching, including their families or coursework for recertification. Others decided to focus their engagement, by attending to more fine-grained, interesting aspects of their subject or pedagogy, now that they had the basics under control. Still others chose to diversify their engagement--engaging in new and interesting extensions of teaching, such as leadership roles and extracurricular activities. A few, whose efforts to improve their practice or contribute to their school had been ignored or discouraged, either said they would leave teaching or had disengaged as an alternative to leaving. These findings suggest that having a better understanding of teachers' engagement and the role that the school plays in their decisions about how to engage is important for promoting effectiveness and retention among teachers who have moved beyond their novice years.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A