Despite a strong emphasis on teacher education and development in post-apartheid South Africa, statistics show a low retention of beginner teachers in the teaching profession. This trend has serious implications for learner outcomes, given the contribution teachers can and should make to learner achievement.
Beginner Teachers in South Africa is the first wide-scale study of teachers in the first three years of their careers and offers substantive evidence suggesting the need for interventions to support them. Based on research undertaken in five South African provinces selected because of their relatively high absorption of beginner teachers, it examines the perceptions of novice teachers about their own skills and competencies and conversely, the perceptions of school managers about their performance.
Employing both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, the study highlights the critical and supportive role the Department of Education needs to play, the importance of a multi-sectoral approach in improving conditions in schools, and the need for continued investigation into effective teaching. This support for beginner teachers is essential both in order to retain teachers and to develop good teaching practice that will result in successful learners.
This monograph is part of the Teacher Education in South Africa series. The series documents a wide-ranging set of research projects on teacher education conducted by the Education, Science and Skills Development research programme within the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), as part of a consortium of research partners. A comprehensive investigation of the dynamics shaping the professional development of educators, the series provides important reading for educationists, academics and policy-makers.