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Pre-service primary teacher education in a climate of change : a qualitative case study : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education in Education at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
This study investigated the provision of pre-service primary teacher education by Hilltop College of Education (pseudonym) in a rapidly changing environment. The researcher used a qualitative case study design and a modified grounded theory approach to data collection and analysis. Change theory provided the theoretical underpinnings and the conceptual framework guided the data collection. The in-depth semi-structured interview and document analysis were the two data collection techniques employed. A total of forty-one administrative and teaching staff [thirty-three from the College and eight from Belmont University (pseudonym)] and nine student teachers participated in the study. The fieldwork spanned a period of fourteen months - October 1993 to December 1994. The data analysis revealed that pre-service primary teacher education, provided both intra- and inter- institutionally, was a rapidly changing entity in form, nature and orientation. Change was influenced mainly by external factors and the political factor was the most influential. The latest innovations - the B.Ed. degree programme and it delivery in affiliation with Belmont University - constituted a desperate effort by the College to ensure its survival. In keeping with the grounded theory approach, the researcher developed a substantive theory of survival. The substantive theory of survival explicated the College's survival process. Survival necessitated change but it was change intended to ensure self preservation. The history of past negotiations, strong proactive leadership, the strategies employed and the ability to use the contextual factors to its advantage, ensured an affiliation agreement on more favourable terms for the College, compared with past negotiations. The College maintained its autonomy, secured a partnership agreement based on equity: 'fifty-fifty' sharing of administration and programme delivery, and equal representation and voting rights in the joint Faculty of Education. However, in operational terms, the College did not have the power to get the University to honour the agreement. The University's attitude, in part, threatened the affiliation, the B.Ed. programme and, by extension, the College's survival. In the long term, the College's survival will depend on the developments associated with the B.Ed. degree programme, the affiliation with Belmont University and its ability to respond appropriately and effectively to the demands of a rapidly changing environment.