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Flight turbulence: the stormy professional trajectory of trainee early years teachers in England.

Barron, Ian (2016) Flight turbulence: the stormy professional trajectory of trainee early years teachers in England. International Journal of Early Years Education. ISSN 1469-8463

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Abstract

This paper documents trainees’ ‘flight turbulence’ as they negotiate the complexities that lie between ‘the self’ and the securing of Early Years Teaching Status in England. Early Years Teachers, besides teaching, are expected to lead improvements to the quality of provision. However, drawing on interview data, an impasse is discerned where ideas meet instrumental policy in practice. Trainees are often unable to reshape the meeting of theory, policy and practice, and struggle in finding teaching approaches which they are comfortable with ethically. Drawing on Holland et al.’s concept of ‘figured worlds’, it is suggested that the development of theory-informed practice should not be seen as a solitary task for the student but as a dialogic though difficult conversation involving the student, university staff and placement practitioners. Dialogism is seen as requiring persistence but as offering opportunities for beginning early years’ teachers, with support from teacher educators and experienced practitioners, to negotiate the challenging spaces between policy, theory and beliefs as they seek to construct, deconstruct and reconstruct ethical professional identities for themselves.

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