Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Patricia Fitzpatrick
PEPAYs Ireland National Forum
An Investigation of the Roles, Relationships and Experiences of Part-Time Placement Tutors in their Supervision of Student Teachers on School Placement
University of Limerick, Limerick
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
This research was conducted as part of a doctoral study focused on the experiences of part-time placement tutors in initial teacher education. Much research has been conducted on student teachers and co-operating teachers in school placement, but placement tutors, especially part-time placement tutors, have received considerably less attention. Yet research indicates that part-time placement tutors are the mainstay of many initial teacher education programmes. The goal of the study was to explore the experiences, roles and relationships of part-time placement tutors in school placement. A multiple case study of six part-time placement tutors during a year of school placement was conducted. A tripartite theoretical framework using the constructs of Identity, Multimembership and Third Space informed the study. Data collection methods included individual interviews, observations and a researcher diary. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Three main themes (with several associated subthemes) were identified. Theme One: Becoming a part-time placement tutor in initial teacher education indicates that part-time placement tutors come with a biography of ‘once a teacher’ and a strong teacher identity which informs their practice. Theme Two: The lived experiences of part-time placement tutors in initial teacher education provides substantial evidence that part-time placement tutors enact a multifaceted, complex and ‘dual role’ in school placement. Theme Three: Part-time placement tutors in the landscape of school placement reveals that part-time placement tutors operate on the fringes of two communities of practice, the school and university, and the prevailing system does not support opportunities for Third Space learning. Recommendations for both policy and practice are offered. These include a call for the establishment of a national association for teacher educators, a national program of induction and support for part-time placement tutors and a structured support system for part-time placement tutors within programmes of initial teacher education. It is also recommended that current school-university partnerships become more formalised so that roles of both school-based and university-based teacher educators are clearly defined and supported.