Pre-service teachers’ social media usage to support professional development: a communities of practice analysis
SubjectsX300 Academic studies in Education
professional development of teachers
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThe current study was based in one higher education institution and examined pre-service teachers’ use of social media to support their own professional development whilst on school placement, through a community of practice lens. The trainees were registered on a one year secondary course designed to lead to a Post Graduate Certificate in Education with 60 credits at Masters Level combined with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for England and Wales during which the researcher repeatedly interviewed a focus group sample from each subject cohort and analysed transcripts of these interviews through the lens of Wenger’s (1998) concept of a community of practice. The research took place in a national context of review and reform of teacher education in England. Some trainees, for example those studying at the higher education establishment at question, might experience considerable challenge in the school placement. Authentic self-reflection requires a safe place in which pre-service teachers can openly articulate with others what they might see as their own failures as well as successes in the classroom in order to develop a greater sense of self-efficacy and new ideas about teaching. In some instances, such as in the area of behaviour management, the national focus on maintaining good order means that it may become even more challenging and ultimately riskier to share the experience of failure because acknowledgement of this risks the possibility of failing to achieve the requisite standard for qualified teacher status. Besides, to gain qualified teacher status a trainee must attain the Teachers’ Standards (DfE, 2013) which include a requirement that a professional teacher upholds the ethos of the school to which the trainee might not be sympathetic. Findings from this research cannot be generalised. However, in this small-scale study it was found that pre-service teachers used private social media to support each other on the course in a number of ways: to establish a group that might be viewed as a community of practice and then, as part of the core enterprise of becoming a qualified teacher, to offer or to receive shared practice or support from another pre-service teacher in the role of more knowledgeable other and to broker new ideas about teaching to each other and to schools themselves from the other communities to which they belonged. Those who networked socially as part of the community of practice were more organised around deadlines. They also more likely to manage risky and stressful situations collaboratively and present an enhanced image of “…a body of common knowledge, practices and approaches” (Wenger, McDermott and Snyder, 2007, pp. 4-5) during their school placement which was unavailable to the trainee who did not participate within the online community. The scope for openly sharing practice and the development of learning communities among pre-service teachers is potentially restricted by the current national and local context of teacher education. However, one conclusion from this study might be that social media can potentially enable pre-service teachers to communicate privately in important ways that support their professional development whilst undertaking their training.
CitationShea, J.G. (2016) 'Pre-service teachers’ social media usage to support professional development: a communities of practice analysis'. EdD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education
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