From the pot into the fire? school-management teams in developing novice teachers in a primary school.
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Novice teachers are seen as an asset to the education system. With the precious minds they are entrusted to nurture, South Africa has to ensure that the novice teacher quality is exceptional. The aim of this study is to explore how school management teams develop novice teachers. As the title suggests novice teachers far and wide have encountered a problem on transition into the profession. It is assumed that development from school management teams provide the skills novice teachers require to achieve excellence. This study sought to establish the tools and methods employed by school management teams in the development process, if any. It further explored whether school management team’s development endeavours were benefitting the novice teacher and what the effects on the novice teacher were. Though development is outlined clearly in the policies of South Africa, there were factors that enable and constrain development of novice teachers in primary schools. This qualitative study was located in the interpretative paradigm and employed a case study methodology. Data was generated through discursive orientated interviews and collage to answer the questions proposed. This study was underpinned by the Adult Learning Theory and Professional Learning Theory. Data was presented through creatively constructed stories and analysed through content analysis and verstehen. It was found that as a result of novice teachers being inadequately prepared for the classroom, school management teams had to create developmental methods to assist the novice teacher. The school management team instituted an induction programme that included a discussion, a manual and peer pairing on entrance into the school. Thereafter, a well-structured supervision plan with continuous guidance in the classroom as well as on administrative tasks saw the novice teacher gaining confidence and knowledge to move forward. Continual support from the SMT as well as peers though impacted on time, which was seen as a constraining factor to development. It was also found that the novices needed to be self-motivated to work independently so that they could grow quickly within the profession. The school’s ethos cultivated development as their staff development programmes stimulated debate and critical discourse whilst empowering all the teachers at the school. This enabling factor was seen by the school management as a tool to steer the teacher’s development and this did have a positive effect on the novice though not through lively conversation. Though the findings cannot be generalised as this is a single case study, the recommendations suggested may improve on the novice teacher training and future studies may minimise the problems novice teachers encounter.