Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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A Seychelles case of beginning teachers' perspectives of support and challenges in their pursuit of effective teaching practices

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posted on 2021-11-14, 00:13 authored by Confait, Steve Paul

Supporting teachers at the start of their career can help them to develop their pedagogical practice, and to understand the educational, political, and school systems within which they teach. Similarly, effective support can enhance the professional development and learning of beginning teachers, and contribute towards their overall path towards greater effectiveness, ensuring quality teaching. Recent education reforms in the Seychelles have placed an expressed focus on improving quality teaching.  This study explores the support for and challenges faced by beginning teachers in the Seychelles in their efforts to implement effective teaching practices. In order to understand the phenomenon of beginning teacher support, a mixed methodology within an ethnographic, sociocultural framework with an emphasis on qualitative data was used. Research was conducted in two sequential phases within the Seychelles: in-depth, site-based qualitative cases studies of three beginning teachers and their school-based contexts, followed by a national quantitative survey completed by 56 beginning teachers. The qualitative phase generated data through interviews (with beginning teachers, deputy heads, and heads of department), document analysis and classroom observations in three schools across the main island, Mahe.  The findings of this research identified that both the policy context and the more localised practical factors such as resource allocation, confidence in working with student diversity, and collegial relationships, combined to contribute to how beginning teachers experienced their induction period. The research revealed that whilst the central policy advocates for a school-based mechanism that would support and evaluate beginning teachers, schools' policies and practices around induction were for the main part, inadequately supporting beginning teachers. These results highlighted that the developmental and learning needs of beginning teachers were not clearly understood, either by school leaders or by beginning teachers. This limited understanding combined with a general conservative approach towards teaching within the schools impacted on how beginning teachers were supported and how they learnt from their pedagogical practices. The findings showed how participating beginning teachers endeavoured to align themselves with their schools' expectation for effective teaching, challenging their own beliefs about effective practice. In order to comply with routine expectations, they embraced predominantly teacher-centred practices, rather than a student-centred approach to their teaching.  In view of the ongoing effort to augment the quality of education in the Seychelles, supporting beginning teachers could be recognised as part of this endeavour. For effective ongoing support, the research findings identified the need for contexts where open dialogue around teaching is culturally encouraged, and that embrace effective support policies, professional learning, and development for all teachers. It is in such contexts that beginning teachers are more likely to work alongside colleagues, address their professional issues, and join in the collective endeavour to improve their own and their students' learning and achievements.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

930202 Teacher and Instructor Development

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Educational Psychology and Pedagogy


Bourke, Roseanna; Starkey, Louise