Beyond the romanticism of the fictional governess: Transforming the work identity of the Remote Education Tutor

Presentation


Peel, Karen and McLennan, Brad. 2023. "Beyond the romanticism of the fictional governess: Transforming the work identity of the Remote Education Tutor." AARE 2023: Australian Association of Research in Education Annual Conference. Melbourne, Australia 26 - 30 Nov 2023 Australia.
Paper/Presentation Title

Beyond the romanticism of the fictional governess: Transforming the work identity of the Remote Education Tutor

Presentation TypePresentation
AuthorsPeel, Karen and McLennan, Brad
Year2023
Place of PublicationAustralia
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttps://www.xcdsystem.com/aare/program/PJRPyvc/index.cfm?pgid=2998
Web Address (URL) of Conference Proceedingshttps://www.aareconference.com.au/program-3/
Conference/EventAARE 2023: Australian Association of Research in Education Annual Conference
Event Details
AARE 2023: Australian Association of Research in Education Annual Conference
Parent
AARE Annual Conference
Delivery
In person
Event Date
26 to end of 30 Nov 2023
Event Location
Melbourne, Australia
Abstract

This presentation reports on the research findings of the Capricornia Project to highlight the work of Remote Education Tutors (RETs). Central to the delivery of distance schooling is the RET who acts as a conduit between the distance education teacher and the student. Accountable for the face-to face supervision of students, the RET's work encompasses that of a Governess, Home Tutor, Parent or Family Tutor, or Distance Education Tutor, yet limited literature exists that details the demographics and the work identity of the RET. The significance of this project lies in its potential to recognise and develop a career pathway for RETs through formal credentialing as a juncture for enhancing the sustainability of quality educational support for students.

The Capricornia Project research used a sequential, exploratory, mixed-methods approach in which the results of Phases 1 and 2 have informed the implementation of Phase 3 in seeking future career pathway recommendations. Statistical data were collected in 2021 from an Australia-wide survey (N = 575) that included three measures across demographics and workplace perceptions. These data underwent descriptive analysis to confirm that the RETs require complex capabilities to perform their role within a structured framework. Drawing on these initial findings, questions were designed, and in 2022, semi structured interviews were conducted with eight currently practising RETs who all were working in geographically isolated locations. Findings from the subsequent thematic analysis provided a deeper insight into the work of RETs that confirmed that they build healthy relationships based on trust, meet challenges optimistically with a solution focus and require pedagogical competencies to organise, communicate, teach and manage the everyday tasks in the schoolroom.

Constraining this occupation at this time is the reality that there is no formal qualification available for RETs in Australia. This research is about transforming the work identity that is potentiated by specific credentialling for RETs towards developing a career pathway with a knowledge base and skillset. Without this, it appears the role of the RET risks being overlooked as a substantive educational occupation.

ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390399. Education systems not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Southern Queensland
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