Anna Du Plessis

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Teacher effectiveness and quality teaching receive international attention. This in-depth exploration of the implications of out-of-field teaching for teacher quality has unveiled complex teaching and learning environments. The out-of-field phenomenon defines teachers teaching outside their field of training or education (Ingersoll, 2002). The perspectives of educational directors, principals, teachers and parents across two countries suggest that out-of-field teaching practices are significant to content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. This qualitative investigation reveals information through interviews, observations and document analyses regarding the relations among real-life experiences, out-of-field teaching practices and perceived quality of teachers. The findings focus attention on leadership perceptions, understanding and decisions, school improvement policies and support programmes in relation to out-of-field situations in schools. The paper concludes with recommendations for education policies and further research on teacher quality linked to the out-of-field phenomenon.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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