This thesis examines the relationship between trainee teachers’ social class backgrounds
and their early professional identity development in placement schools. Reasons why they
seek to train in specific schools and how trainees’ social class backgrounds affect their
choice of placement schools is explored.
The concepts of dispositional understanding and habitus are used to develop an
understanding of the social class values trainee teachers bring to an initial teacher training
course and consequently, how these concepts are made manifest during training
My epistemological position as a qualitative researcher defines the framework for how I
gather and interpret my data. Using interviews that explore social backgrounds and details
of placement experiences provides data that is rich in personal detail, as well as giving
insight into how trainees perceive their training placements and early career professional
The findings indicate that trainees research their school-based placements in order to
ensure that they have an increased chance of successfully completing their training. This
leads to trainees preferring placements in what they perceive to be successful schools.
Making such choices reduces the potential for failure through coming into contact with
school students who may, through the trainees’ perceptions of such students, disrupt
trainees’ progress. In doing so, they seek to detach themselves from students whom they
perceive may damage their chances of successfully completing placements and ultimately,
their entry into teaching. Analysis of trainees’ recall of taught elements of their training
reveals that they privilege information relating to ethnicity, race, gender or religion over
students’ socio-economic status. Finally, analysis of policy shows that with future changes
to initial teacher training there are implications for courses due to elimination and
recruitment to schools in areas of social deprivation.
|Date of Award