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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Journey of a novice kindergarten teacher
by Espinosa, Jessica Fernandez, Ph.D., Barry University, 2013, 214; 3589606
Abstract (Summary)

Teacher attrition is a growing concern among states and school systems. Novice teachers face many difficulties during their induction and the high attrition rates within the first five years of teaching are a testament to the challenges new teachers face (Herrington et al., 2006; Fantelli & McDougall, 2009). Due to new demands emerging from U.S. education policies placing an emphasis on accountability and student mastery of predetermined learning outcomes, there have been many new demands placed on kindergarten teachers (Goldstein, 2007).

By using a narrative inquiry methodology, this research study seeks to answer the following overarching question: How do novice kindergarten teachers describe their experiences in their first of year teaching? The study also seeks to answer the following sub questions: What domains of curriculum practice act as constraints on novice kindergarten teachers curricular decision making? How do novice kindergarten teachers use their professional discretion in making decisions about how to integrate developmentally appropriate practices (DAP) into the mandated curriculum in an era of standards-based reform?

The research was guided by the following theoretical framework: Boote’s (2006) Theory of Professional Discretion. Participants were interviewed using a semi-structured interview protocol (Patton, 2002). Interviews were transcribed and then coded for emerging themes. The researcher worked with the participants to re-story and create a narrative of their experiences in their first year of teaching.

The following themes emerged from the interview data: (a) Teaching was a lifelong career goal; (b) Teaching kindergarten was not a choice; (c) They planned as a team; (d) They had a fear of deviating from the prescribed curricula; (e) The participants were overwhelmed with standardized testing; (f) They experienced being a living contradiction; (g) The participants had a lack of job security; (h) The participants were all surplussed or ‘let go’ at the end of the school year. These themes were used to write the narratives of experience. There were four narratives of experience, one for each participant. Each narrative tells the story of each participant’s first year of teaching.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ban, Ruth
Commitee: DiBello, Lilia C., Farrell, Jill B., Gonzalez, Sharon
School: Barry University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 74/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Early childhood education
Keywords: Beginning teacher, Kindergarten, Narrative inquiry, Novice teacher, Professional discretion
Publication Number: 3589606
ISBN: 978-1-303-28560-8
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