The impact of postgraduate initial teacher education on beginning teachers' professional preparedness to cater for diverse learners : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education, Massey University, Manawatū, New Zealand
This thesis investigates the impact of an exemplary post-graduate initial teacher
education (ITE) programme, the MTchgLn, on beginning teachers’ professional preparedness
to cater for diverse learners. In comparison to similar cohorts in other OECD countries, a huge
gap exists between high-achieving Pākeha students and low-achieving 1
(Education Review Office, 2012; OECD, 2015). With existing studies mapping the exemplary
ITE terrain, the research field is now moving towards building a sounder basis on which to
benchmark equity-centred ITE programme design.
For this purpose, a mixed-methods approach was adopted to assess the effectiveness of
the programme on the Graduate Teachers’ (GTs) practice. Twenty-five GTs completed an online
questionnaire to assess their perceptions of confidence to teach all learners, as well as to assess
their perceptions of the value of the programme in enabling them to teach all learners.
Interviews were then conducted with 12 GTs and four Lead Teachers (LTs) to better understand
the GTs’ responses and to investigate the LTs’ perceptions of the GTs’ professional
preparedness. The present study findings indicate that most GTs were confident in developing
the professional standards required for the profession and felt that their learning was supported
by the programme’s innovations: (i) extended clinical placements in partner schools; (ii)
evidence-informed inquiry; (iii) exemplary school visits; (iv) culturally responsive practices;
and (v) community placements. Likewise, all the LTs felt that the GTs were professionally
prepared with the necessary skills and competencies to teach diverse students effectively and
improve their outcomes.
This study has provided evidence of the positive contributions of an equity-centred ITE
programme’s design to create an informative learning experience for the GTs to ensure
informed links between research and practice, driven by equity and social justice. Implications
based on these findings are considered for ITE educators and education policy makers to
respond to the challenges of today’s multicultural education by prioritizing equity.