The innovative professional potential of beginning teachers: an ecological resources perspective
Beginning teachers enter the workplace with creative and innovative ideas, certain ideals, and the potential to provide a powerful learning environment for their colleagues. But, they quickly revert to more traditional ways of teaching and many leave the teaching profession early. As a consequence, we are at risk of losing beginning teachers’ valuable innovative professional potential. This PhD project aims to develop and elicit the understanding of beginning teachers’ innovative professional potential, its manifestation, and ways to maintain and strengthen it in practice, for the benefit of schools, teachers and students.
Currently, the dominating discourse in theory and practice is mainly focused on the deficits of beginning teachers, that have to be resolved in the first years of practice. We identify the need for an additional perspective that focuses on the resources of beginning teachers. Moreover, we identify the need to study the beginning teacher in the school as ecological system: within the complex and dynamic interactions in the school. From an ecological resources perspective, this research project therefore aims to map what the nature and features of beginning teachers’ innovative professional potential are, how it manifests and develops in the interactions between actors in the school, and how it can be maintained and strengthened in these interactions. We aim to contribute to a theoretical and practical understanding of the manifestation and development of innovative professional potential of beginning teachers in (interactions within) the school, and to sustainable innovation practices. For example, the outcomes of this research project can inform schools and teacher induction programs on how to strengthen the manifestation of the innovative professional potential of beginning teachers.