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Teachers’ participation in discussion spaces at the margins of the workplace: collaborative professional development opportunities within social media

Teachers’ participation in discussion spaces at the margins of the workplace: collaborative professional development opportunities within social media
Teachers’ participation in discussion spaces at the margins of the workplace: collaborative professional development opportunities within social media
For many teachers, professional development through participation in social media spaces has become a routine part of their working lives. Accessed as a source of teaching resources, information, or advice and guidance, social media spaces are an integrated context of teacher’s professional practice. However, motivations for teacher participation in these spaces, especially less visible forms of participation and non-participation, are not always apparent from the posts that form the content of social media platforms. The reasons that sit behind (non)participation remain unseen, and therefore the potential opportunities and issues that surround collaborative professional development within social media spaces are unrealised or misunderstood.

Using a mixed-methods design with a larger qualitative component, this thesis explores data from 230 questionnaire responses, and 26 interviews with secondary school teachers from 20 schools to investigate the benefits and drawbacks of professional participation in social media spaces. Interviews were analysed through the use of inductive thematic analysis to allow individuals’ experiences and reasons for (non)participation to form the findings of this thesis and to construct a theoretical model that understands participation in social media as an inter-related professional context rather than a separate space.

This thesis finds that the spaces that teachers are creating online are multiple and enmeshed within the many other online and offline contexts in which participants live and work. These spaces are operating as communities of support at a time when participants are experiencing change in the qualifications that they teach, and, for some, these provide an opportunity for self-directed professional development that is closely matched to subject specific needs. However, teachers are also experiencing a collapse in professional/ personal contexts and struggling to maintain these boundaries.

Overall, I conclude that there is a lack of clarity surrounding how social media spaces are accessed in schools and an absence of guidance on how social media spaces can be included within the work place as a professional development context for teachers. A more nuanced understanding is needed that recognises the time, effort, and digital labour that comprises social media participation for professional purposes, as well as the benefits and collaborative opportunities that it can provide.
University of Southampton
Erricker, Katherine
9e22ab3d-e865-450b-9096-9a5c894e6f79
Erricker, Katherine
9e22ab3d-e865-450b-9096-9a5c894e6f79
Voutsina, Chronoula
bd9934e7-f8e0-4b82-a664-a1fe48850082

Erricker, Katherine (2019) Teachers’ participation in discussion spaces at the margins of the workplace: collaborative professional development opportunities within social media. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 285pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

For many teachers, professional development through participation in social media spaces has become a routine part of their working lives. Accessed as a source of teaching resources, information, or advice and guidance, social media spaces are an integrated context of teacher’s professional practice. However, motivations for teacher participation in these spaces, especially less visible forms of participation and non-participation, are not always apparent from the posts that form the content of social media platforms. The reasons that sit behind (non)participation remain unseen, and therefore the potential opportunities and issues that surround collaborative professional development within social media spaces are unrealised or misunderstood.

Using a mixed-methods design with a larger qualitative component, this thesis explores data from 230 questionnaire responses, and 26 interviews with secondary school teachers from 20 schools to investigate the benefits and drawbacks of professional participation in social media spaces. Interviews were analysed through the use of inductive thematic analysis to allow individuals’ experiences and reasons for (non)participation to form the findings of this thesis and to construct a theoretical model that understands participation in social media as an inter-related professional context rather than a separate space.

This thesis finds that the spaces that teachers are creating online are multiple and enmeshed within the many other online and offline contexts in which participants live and work. These spaces are operating as communities of support at a time when participants are experiencing change in the qualifications that they teach, and, for some, these provide an opportunity for self-directed professional development that is closely matched to subject specific needs. However, teachers are also experiencing a collapse in professional/ personal contexts and struggling to maintain these boundaries.

Overall, I conclude that there is a lack of clarity surrounding how social media spaces are accessed in schools and an absence of guidance on how social media spaces can be included within the work place as a professional development context for teachers. A more nuanced understanding is needed that recognises the time, effort, and digital labour that comprises social media participation for professional purposes, as well as the benefits and collaborative opportunities that it can provide.

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More information

Published date: March 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 437721
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/437721
PURE UUID: cbb0a2e5-d400-4371-b1d5-dfdb84abf533
ORCID for Chronoula Voutsina: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2196-5816

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 12 Feb 2020 17:35
Last modified: 13 Dec 2021 02:55

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Contributors

Author: Katherine Erricker
Thesis advisor: Chronoula Voutsina ORCID iD

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