The occupational socialisation of student teachers during school experience

Por: Anthony Laker, Julia Craig Laker e Susan Lea.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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The purpose of the study was to investigate how the forces of occupational socialisation are experienced by students while on school experience (SE). Field experiences such as SE, contribute in no small degree to the socialisation of student teachers into teachers (Laker & Jones, 1998 and Laker, Craig Laker & Lea, 2003). Indeed, it may be that their vulnerability as apprentice teachers makes them especially susceptible to occupational socialisation. This study was an attempt to understand the critical elements of this process


Thirteen students were interviewed during the week following their last school experience. The interviews were semi-structured and focused on issues that had originated from a study of the literature on student concerns and on occupational socialisation. The interviews were taped, transcribed and subject to content analysis by constant comparison methods. The trustworthiness of the data was established by triangulation techniques of member check and literature comparison.


The findings of the study indicated that occupational socialisation starts while the students are still training. School experience was a prime locus of this process. The research produced evidence of individual maturation and gaining of tacit knowledge over the course of a series of school experiences. It was suggested that this represented a symbiotic relationship where both areas of development were interdependent and that socialisation was an interactive process within and between these two developmental areas. There were a number of aspects critical to occupational socialisation. These were the importance of significant others such as teacher-tutors, the acceptance of the students into the world of teachers, the transition from perceiving oneself as a student to perceiving oneself as a teacher, and the development of a reflective approach to the continuing process of professional development.

Discussion / Conclusions
This study has provided evidence that occupational socialisation begins with the first school experience, with the powerful suggestion that it is highly influential. Whether this needs to be countered, controlled or condoned is a discussion for the profession, but let us be under no illusion that the higher education experience is only one of the influences that enables one to ‘be’ a teacher.


[1]. Laker, A., Craig Laker, J. & Lea, S. (2003) Sport, Education and Society. 8(1), 73-89.
[2]. Laker, A. & Jones, K. (1998) European Journal of Physical Education, 3(2), 200-224.



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