A Model to Support the Development of Professional Capital in Trainee Teachers: A Constructivist Grounded Theory

Sophie Cole*, Richelle Duffy

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper shares findings from a constructivist grounded theory study, exploring Trainee Teachers’ perceptions of their teaching and learning experienced during university-based teacher education programmes, specifically the theoretical components. Findings led to the development of a model of program design, pedagogy and teaching strategies that were successful in creating opportunities to build Professional Capital. This paper aims to share this model, highlighting the significance of Professional Capital amidst challenges in English Teacher Education, and to suggest implications for application of the model within broader workforce development.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 trainee teachers from four English universities. To support the development of the theoretical framework, researchers employed inductive and iterative constant comparative methods aligned with constructivist grounded theory to sensitise concepts and codes, which were verified using theoretical sampling.

Informed by the findings of this study, a model is presented which highlights that participants developed human, social and decisional capital during their academic programs helping them to widen their perceptions of what counts as educationally important, beyond narrow performativity measures that are pervasive in a school system. By actively adopting a transformative pedagogy and employing constructivist approaches to curriculum design and delivery, optimal learning environments for learners to build their professional capital can be provided.

Practical implications
These findings may prove valuable to Higher Education academics as a model when designing and delivering professional, student-centred programmes. There are also implications for policymakers seeking to redesign initial teacher education towards schools-led and practice-oriented approaches, who wish to consider the perceptions, values and motivations of trainee teachers.

The findings highlight the significance of teacher trainees’ active engagement with academic literature and theory, in terms of contributing to the development of their professional capital, resilience and professional commitment.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Professional Capital and Community
Early online date26 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Mar 2024

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