Exploring beginner teachers' perceptions of school support to enhance their capability sets in relation to teacher education policy
Esau, Dorothy Elizabeth
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The National Policy Framework for Teacher Education and Development in South Africa of 2006 (NPF) outlines seven principles which underpin this policy as expressed in the Norms and Standards for Educators (2000). These principles require a teacher to be: a specialist in a particular learning area, subject or phase; a specialist in teaching, learning and assessment; a curriculum developer; a leader, administrator and manager; a scholar and lifelong learner; and a professional who plays a role in community development, citizenship education, and pastoral care. Beginner teachers have difficulty adapting to these new roles as they have not had efficient exposure to the actual, often harsh realities of the classroom situation as it unfolds on a daily basis. A qualitative research approach is employed in the research study to explore beginner teachers' perceptions of school support to enhance their capability sets in relation to teacher education policy. Generally, a qualitative study lends itself to developing an understanding of a particular phenomenon of interest without formulating a hypothesis. In this explorative study, the investigation was underpinned by the elements of Amartya Sen's Capability Approach which include "Freedoms", "Unfreedoms", "Capabilities" and "Functionings" (Sen 1992). These elements were used to understand the nature of beginner teachers' competences and the impact of policy on their performance. In this regard, the achievement of quality learning outcomes concerning the basic competences of beginner teachers could be linked to Sen's vision for reaching achieved functionings (those valuable activities and situations that make up a person's well-being, which is also referred to as that which a person ultimately manages "to be and to do").