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Mapping changes in support: a longitudinal analysis of networks of pre-service mathematics and science teachers

Mapping changes in support: a longitudinal analysis of networks of pre-service mathematics and science teachers
Mapping changes in support: a longitudinal analysis of networks of pre-service mathematics and science teachers
Purpose: Teacher training programs are intense periods of study and professional development for all involved. In England teachers of high school mathematics and science are in short supply and it is important to understand how pre-service teachers develop and maintain networks of support during their training year and the impact these networks can have on their training outcomes. The purpose of this study is to examine how changes to the size and composition of these support networks during the training year are associated with program outcomes. Theoretical framework: This paper draws on social network theory to examine the nature of the support networks that develop around each pre-service teacher. It examines how supportive ties were initiated, maintained and broken over the course of the training year. Related concepts such as teachers’ views on support, and network intentionality are also examined. We hypothesise that network metrics will be associated with outcome measures of the training programs, such as perceptions of self-efficacy among pre-service teachers and observations of teaching skills and professional practice. Methods: Hypotheses were tested by conducting a longitudinal growth analysis (within a multilevel framework) of teachers’ self-efficacy. Independent explanatory variables were added including demographic factors, the type of training program, measures of network intentionality, views on support and key metrics of the teacher support networks; network degree and network composition (E-I index).
Data sources: A survey design was utilized to collect data at four time points across the 2014-15 academic year from a total cohort of more than 75 pre-service teachers. Scale measures were administered to collect measures of network intentionality and the importance of support. At all four time points participants were asked to nominate those peers and others to whom they had turned during the previous month for different aspects of support. Program outcomes data were also collected at regular intervals including self-efficacy of the pre-service teachers and observational ratings of classroom practice and teaching skills. Response rates at each time point were at least 80%.
Results: A significant pattern of growth was observed in pre-service teachers’ self-efficacy across all four time points. The size and composition of their support networks also changed over time with significant differences in the development of the networks between pre-service teachers on school-led and university-led programs. The level of network intentionality and the teachers’ views on support were also significant explanatory variables of the growth in teacher self-efficacy, whereas support network size (outdegree) and composition (E-I index) were not significantly associated with growth in self-efficacy. Scientific significance of the study: There is limited research about the way pre-service teachers develop and maintain networks of support across the intensive period of graduate training programs. This study draws on a growing body of research applying social network approaches in educational contexts to help us understand the role that support networks play in enabling trainee teachers to develop professional competence and classroom practice and will also help tutors on initial teacher education programs to appreciate whether explicit guidance on developing support networks might be of value to teachers.
Downey, Christopher
bb95b259-2e31-401b-8edf-78e8d76bfb8c
Bokhove, Christian
7fc17e5b-9a94-48f3-a387-2ccf60d2d5d8
Downey, Christopher
bb95b259-2e31-401b-8edf-78e8d76bfb8c
Bokhove, Christian
7fc17e5b-9a94-48f3-a387-2ccf60d2d5d8

Downey, Christopher and Bokhove, Christian (2016) Mapping changes in support: a longitudinal analysis of networks of pre-service mathematics and science teachers. AERA Annual Meeting 2016, Washington, United States. 07 - 11 Apr 2016. 18 pp .

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

Purpose: Teacher training programs are intense periods of study and professional development for all involved. In England teachers of high school mathematics and science are in short supply and it is important to understand how pre-service teachers develop and maintain networks of support during their training year and the impact these networks can have on their training outcomes. The purpose of this study is to examine how changes to the size and composition of these support networks during the training year are associated with program outcomes. Theoretical framework: This paper draws on social network theory to examine the nature of the support networks that develop around each pre-service teacher. It examines how supportive ties were initiated, maintained and broken over the course of the training year. Related concepts such as teachers’ views on support, and network intentionality are also examined. We hypothesise that network metrics will be associated with outcome measures of the training programs, such as perceptions of self-efficacy among pre-service teachers and observations of teaching skills and professional practice. Methods: Hypotheses were tested by conducting a longitudinal growth analysis (within a multilevel framework) of teachers’ self-efficacy. Independent explanatory variables were added including demographic factors, the type of training program, measures of network intentionality, views on support and key metrics of the teacher support networks; network degree and network composition (E-I index).
Data sources: A survey design was utilized to collect data at four time points across the 2014-15 academic year from a total cohort of more than 75 pre-service teachers. Scale measures were administered to collect measures of network intentionality and the importance of support. At all four time points participants were asked to nominate those peers and others to whom they had turned during the previous month for different aspects of support. Program outcomes data were also collected at regular intervals including self-efficacy of the pre-service teachers and observational ratings of classroom practice and teaching skills. Response rates at each time point were at least 80%.
Results: A significant pattern of growth was observed in pre-service teachers’ self-efficacy across all four time points. The size and composition of their support networks also changed over time with significant differences in the development of the networks between pre-service teachers on school-led and university-led programs. The level of network intentionality and the teachers’ views on support were also significant explanatory variables of the growth in teacher self-efficacy, whereas support network size (outdegree) and composition (E-I index) were not significantly associated with growth in self-efficacy. Scientific significance of the study: There is limited research about the way pre-service teachers develop and maintain networks of support across the intensive period of graduate training programs. This study draws on a growing body of research applying social network approaches in educational contexts to help us understand the role that support networks play in enabling trainee teachers to develop professional competence and classroom practice and will also help tutors on initial teacher education programs to appreciate whether explicit guidance on developing support networks might be of value to teachers.

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More information

Published date: 9 April 2016
Venue - Dates: AERA Annual Meeting 2016, Washington, United States, 2016-04-07 - 2016-04-11
Organisations: Mathematics, Science & Health Education, Educational PPEI

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 407646
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/407646
PURE UUID: 56217ad1-4186-404e-8270-788ce2264283
ORCID for Christopher Downey: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6094-0534
ORCID for Christian Bokhove: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4860-8723

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 Apr 2017 17:09
Last modified: 22 Nov 2021 03:03

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