The influence of core qualities of novice primary school teachers on their pedagogical practice.
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This study explored the deployment of the core qualities of Novice Teachers in facing challenges within the Mauritian context. The main purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of the role of core qualities in how the average novice teacher adapts to the challenges they encounter in their first year as credentialed primary school teachers. Research literature used in this study has indicated that although novice teachers are often unprepared to meet the contextual challenges they encounter, many still adapt and survive. This is contrary to most the literature on novice teachers which tends to portray them in negative terms. Korthagen’s core qualities derived from the field of positive psychology and the onion model proved useful in helping to understand how novice teachers adapt and survive their first year of practice as credentialed teachers. This research study was located within an interpretivist narrative inquiry design. Three novice teacher participants teaching in various schools were purposively selected for the study. All participants have studied for their professional qualification at the Mauritius Institute of Education. Given the exploratory nature of the study because little is known about core qualities, a qualitative research approach was used for the generation of data. This included conversational interviews with the participants which lasted over a period of three years. Data gathering produced narratives for each participant which were presented in first and third person to both capture the voices of the participants and also analyse their teaching practices using the analytics of the study namely the personal biography of the participants; the education experience of the participants in becoming a teacher; their teaching practices that illuminates the core qualities that they deploy in their teaching practices and their reflections on their teaching practices based on their interview processes. Analysis of the stories in the study identified three themes humanistic core qualities, much of which resonate with my theoretical framework that guided this study, professional core qualities that delve into the knowledge and training received in their training programme to become a teacher and contextual core qualities that I introduce as framing their teaching practices. Key findings that emerge from the analysis in the chapter reveal that because there is a disjuncture between being theoretically prepared to teach and the reality of the classroom, novice teachers default to three core qualities namely the humanistic core quality of empathy and compassion, the professional core qualities of knowledge and planning and contextual core qualities of regulatory frameworks that forces them to find alternate and more humane approaches to promote teaching and learning. Furthermore, the findings also reveal that the process followed by novice teachers in coping with their first teaching experience is reflection, going back to their basket of alternatives and adaptation of selected vi alternatives to their classroom context. Those finding are theorized with respect to the theoretical framework and pertinent literature and an evolutionary adaptation model is proposed.