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Relief teaching for Tasmanian education : perspectives, policies and practices


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Webb, JL 1992 , 'Relief teaching for Tasmanian education : perspectives, policies and practices', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The purpose of this research is to provide a reasonably comprehensive
study of the policies and practices of relief teaching in Tasmania. This has
entailed looking at the broader context of policies and practices in this
field in Australia and the United States, whilst focussing more closely
upon the Tasmanian experience. As a consequence it has been necessary
to obtain data from a variety of sources which include a literature review,
examination of official files, information collected from state and territory
departments and teacher unions, discussions with retired teachers and
structured interviews with relief teachers.
The literature, which focusses mainly on the employment of relief teachers
in the United States of America, tends to suggest that relief teaching has a
depressive effect on childrens' education because these teachers are rarely
effective in their substitute role. The implication is that relief teachers are
not entirely to blame for their ineffectiveness in moving student learning
forward. It has been suggested that there is a need for school staff and
relief teachers to form a working relationship whereby problems relating
to relief teaching can be identified and more effectively addressed.
A somewhat different perspective is apparent in Tasmania. From
information contained in files held by the Department of Education and
the Arts and interviews with retired teachers it is apparent that the factor
most likely have an adverse affect on student learning is the unavailability
of relief teachers. There is evidence to suggest that financial limitations
placed on the employment of relief teachers has been a major factor and is
considered to be the cause of significant interruption to continuity of
student learning.
From information provided by education authorities and teacher unions, it
might be inferred that schools throughout Australia are able to call upon
well-qualified and experienced relief teachers whose expertise is likely to
be of assistance in maintaining students' academic progress. Moreover, it
is likely that the utilisation of these teachers has the capacity to enhance
the productivity of regular teachers because it reduces the stress regular
teachers are likely to incur when workloads are increased through internal
supervision. While education authorities admit that problems can arise,
most appear to believe that the benefits of employing relief teachers
outweigh the disadvantages.
The issues within the literature relating to relief teaching provided the
basis for the construction of an interview schedule which was
subsequently used to elicit information and assess the range of concerns
relevant to relief teaching in Tasmania. Subsequent to the collection and
categorisation of data obtained from the interviews, chi-square tests were
performed using the Macintosh StatView program. From the results of the
tests, it has been ascertained that there are statistically significant
differences when years of teaching experience and the grade level in
which the relief teacher works are correlated with several issues relating to
relief teaching.
Test results indicate that the individual's perception of the role of the relief
teacher is likely to be influenced by the grade level in which a teacher
works. The majority of teachers working in the primary school are likely
to perceive the role as one of providing their own educationally valid
activities and lesson plans. Secondary school teachers generally see the
role as that of maintaining learning programs which are currently being
taken by the regular teacher.
The grade level in which a teacher works is likely to have some bearing
on the kinds of assistance relief teachers require to teach effectively. The
majority of primary teachers believe information about school and class
routines is important, while a small majority of those in the secondary
area are likely to opt for assistance with behaviour strategies.
When years of full-time and relief teaching experience were correlated
with students' perceptions about the authority of relief teachers, it was
found that subjects with less than ten years experience were the group
most likely to believe students perceive them as lacking in authority. This
group also feel the greatest need for orientation and training programs
which specifically relate to relief teaching.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Webb, JL
Keywords: Teachers, Substitute teachers
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1992 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:

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 129-133). Thesis (M.Ed.)--University of Tasmania, 1994

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