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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

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Cowley, Trudy Mae (1999) Teacher relocation and teaching quality : an examination of the impact of teacher relocation on teachers, their work and their quality of teaching. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

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—it 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—a 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.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Teachers
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

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).

Additional Information:

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

Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 00:05
Last Modified: 10 May 2016 01:07
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