Classroom-Ready Teachers: Who Is Responsible? Exploring Supervising Teacher Identity and Practice

  • Amanda Isaac
  • Suzanne Hudson


Initial teacher education (ITE) in Australia is currently under reform, particularly in light of the 2014 review by the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG). This review renewed the call for the responsibility for ITE to be shared between schools and higher education providers. Since the work of supervising and assessing pre-service teachers (PST) in schools primarily falls to classroom teachers, this research explores the attitudes of a small group of supervising teachers towards shouldering this responsibility. It does this by adopting the lens of symbolic interactionism to examine the development of teacher educator identities among supervising teachers, the impact of environment and the supervising teachers’ practices as a result of their identities. The data from the four one-to-one interviews highlight the teacher identities and how the teachers view themselves and their roles and responsibilities in ITE. The school environment is identified as an important enabling or disabling factor in effective supervision of PST. The results also draw attention to the relatively new issue of the assessment of PST against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (AITSL) and the supervising teachers’ knowledge of and confidence with these Standards.


Initial teacher education Teacher identities Professional experience Australian Professional Standards for Teachers Supervising teachers 


  1. Ambrosetti, A., & Dekkers, J. (2010). The interconnectedness of the roles of mentors and mentees in pre-service teacher education mentoring relationships. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 35(6), 42–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership [AITSL]. (2011). Accreditation of initial teacher education programs in Australia: Standards and procedures.
  3. Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership [AITSL]. (2014a). Professional standards for teachers. Retrieved from
  4. Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership [AITSL]. (2014b). Evaluation of the implementation of the Australian professional standards for teachers: Interim report on baseline implementation 2013 key findings.—interim-report-on-baseline-implementation.pdf?sfvrsn=7a8aec3c_0.
  5. Bahr, N., & Mellor, S. (2016). Building quality in teaching and teacher education. Camberwell, Australia: Australian Council for Educational Research.Google Scholar
  6. Beauchamp, C., & Thomas, L. (2011). New teachers’ identity shifts at the boundary of teacher education and initial practice. International Journal of Educational Research, 50(1), 6–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bradbury, L., & Koballa, T. (2008). Borders to cross: Identifying sources of tension in mentor-intern relationships. Teaching and Teacher Education: An International Journal of Research and Studies, 24(8), 2132–2145. Scholar
  8. Buchanan, J. (2017). How do the standards stand up? Applying quality teacher frameworks to the Australian Professional Standards. In J. Nuttall, A. Kostogriz, M. Jones, & J. Martin (Eds.), Teacher education policy and practice: Evidence of impact, impact of evidence (pp. 115–128). Singapore: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Caldwell, B., & Sutton, D. (2010). Review of teacher education: First report-full report. Retrieved from
  10. Carter, E. (2015). Carter review of initial teacher training. Retrieved from…/Carter_Review.pdf.
  11. Christie, F., Conlon, T., Gemmell, T., & Long, A. (2004). Effective partnership? Perceptions of PGCE student teacher supervision. European Journal of Teacher Education, 27(2), 109–123. Scholar
  12. Clarke, A., Triggs, V., & Nielson, W. (2014). Cooperating teacher participation in teacher education: A review of the literature. Review of Educational Research, 84(2), 163–202. Scholar
  13. Clift, R. T. (2017). Missing voices in the study of the practicum. Studying Teacher Education, 13(2), 225–230. Scholar
  14. Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education (6th ed.). Milton Park: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Creswell, J. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  16. Denscombe, M. (2010). Good research guide for small-scale social research projects. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  17. Denzin, N. (2004). Symbolic interactionism. In U. Flick, E. von Kardoff, & I. Steinke (Eds.), A companion to qualitative research. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  18. Dillon, M. (2013). Introduction to sociological theory: Theorists, concepts, and their applicability to the twenty-first century. Milton, QLD: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  19. Donaldson, G. (2011). Teaching Scotland’s future—Report of a review of teacher education in Scotland. Retrieved from
  20. Elliott-Johns, S. (2015). Coda: Insights gleaned from the voices of deans in education. In S. Elliott-Johns (Ed.), Leadership for change in teacher education: Voices of Canadian Deans of Education. Sense: Rotterdam.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Flick, U. (2009). An introduction to qualitative research (4th ed.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  22. Forgasz, R. (2017). Seeing teacher education differently through self-study of professional practice. Studying Teacher Education, 13(2), 216–224. Scholar
  23. Graham, B. (2006). Conditions for successful field experiences: Perceptions of cooperating teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22, 1118–1129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hall, K. M., Draper, R. J., Smith, L. K., & Bullough, R. V., Jr. (2008). More than a place to teach: Exploring the perceptions of the roles and responsibilities of mentor teachers. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 16(3), 328–345. Scholar
  25. House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Vocational Training [HRSCEVT]. (2007). Top of the class: Report on the inquiry into teacher education. (978-0-642-78894-8). Canberra: House of Representatives Publishing Unit.Google Scholar
  26. Hudson, P. (2009). How can preservice teachers be measured against advocated professional teaching standards? Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 34(5), 65–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hudson, P. (2010). Mentors report on their own mentoring practices. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 35(7), 30–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hudson, P., & Bird, L. (2015). Investigating a model of mentoring for effective teaching. Journal of Teaching Effectiveness and Student Achievement, 2(2), 11–21.Google Scholar
  29. Hudson, P., & Millwater, J. (2008). Mentors’ views about developing effective English teaching practices. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 33(5), 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Iancu-Haddad, D., & Oplatka, I. (2009). Mentoring novice teachers: Motives, process and outcomes from the mentor’s point of view. The New Educator, 5(1), 45–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ievers, M., Wylie, K., Gray, C., Ní Áingléis, B., & Cummins, B. (2013). The role of the university tutor in school-based work in primary schools in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. European Journal of Teacher Education, 36(2), 183–199. Scholar
  32. Jaipal, K. (2009). Re-envisioning mentorship: Pre-service teachers and associate teachers as co-learners. Teaching Education, 20(3), 257–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Johnston, D. (2010). ‘Losing the joy’: Student teachers’ experiences of problematic relations with host teachers on school placement. Teacher Development, 14(3), 307–320. Scholar
  34. Klopper, C. J., & Power, B. M. (2014). The casual approach to teacher education: what effect does casualisation have for Australian University Teaching? Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39(4), 101–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kwan, T., & Lopez-Real, F. (2005). Mentors’ perceptions of their roles in mentoring student teachers. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 33(3), 275–287. Scholar
  36. Le Cornu, R. (2015). Key components of effective professional experience in initial teacher education in Australia. Melbourne: Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership.Google Scholar
  37. Leonard, S. (2012). Professional conversations: Mentor teachers’ theories-in-use using the Australian National Professional Standards for Teachers. An International Journal of Teacher Education, 37(12), 46–62.Google Scholar
  38. Levine, T. (2011). Features and strategies of supervisor professional community as a means of improving the supervision of preservice teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(5), 930–941. Scholar
  39. Lynch, D., & Smith, R. (2012). Teacher education partnerships: An Australian research-based perspective. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 37(11).
  40. McCarthy, J., & Quinn, L. (2010). Supervision in teacher education. International encyclopedia of education (pp. 615–621).
  41. McDonough, S., & Brandenburg, R. (2012). Examining assumptions about teacher educator identities by self-study of the role of mentor of pre-service teachers. Studying Teacher Education, 8(2), 169–182. Scholar
  42. McQuillin, S. D., Straight, G. G., & Saeki, E. (2015). Program support and value of training in mentors’ satisfaction and anticipated continuation of school-based mentoring relationships. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 23(2), 133–148. Scholar
  43. Morrison, C. (2014). Teacher identity in the early career phase: Trajectories that explain and influence development. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(4), 91–107. Scholar
  44. Murray, J. (2014). Teacher educators’ constructions of professionalism: a case study. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 42(1), 7–21. Scholar
  45. Price, A., & Willett, J. (2006). Primary teachers’ perceptions of the impact of initial teacher training upon primary schools. Journal of In-Service Education, 32(1), 33–45. Scholar
  46. Punch, K. (2009). Introduction to research methods in education. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  47. Roehriga, A., Bohnb, C., Turnerc, J., & Pressley, M. (2008). Mentoring beginning primary teachers for exemplary teaching practices. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24, 684–702.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Spendlove, D., Howes, A., & Wake, G. (2010). Partnerships in pedagogy: refocusing of classroom lenses. European Journal of Teacher Education, 33(1), 65–77. Scholar
  49. Srivastava, P., & Hopwood, N. (2009). A practical iterative framework for qualitative data analysis. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 8(1), 76–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group [TEMAG]. (2014). Action now: Classroom ready teachers. Retrieved from
  51. Tracy, S. (2013). Qualitative research methods: Collecting evidence, crafting analysis, communicating impact. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  52. Turner, B., Abercrombie, N., & Hill, S. (2006). The Penguin dictionary of sociology. London, United Kingdom: Penguin.Google Scholar
  53. Uusimaki, L. (2013). Empowering pre-service teacher supervisors’ perspectives: A relational-cultural approach towards mentoring. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(7), 45–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. van Velzen, C., Volman, M., Brekelmans, M., & White, S. (2012). Guided work-based learning: Sharing practical teaching knowledge with student teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 28, 229–239. Scholar
  55. Walkington, J. (2007). Improving partnerships between schools and universities: Professional learning with benefits beyond preservice teacher education. Teacher Development, 11(3), 277–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. White, E. (2014). Being a teacher and a teacher educator: Developing a new identity? Professional Development in Education, 40(3), 436–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia
  2. 2.Southern Cross UniversityGold CoastAustralia

Personalised recommendations