Student teachers’ understandings of poverty: insights for initial teacher education

Dean Robson* (Corresponding Author), Peter Mtika, Archie Graham, Lindsay MacDougall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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This study aims to understand how student teachers think about poverty in the context of rising rates of child poverty as they begin their initial teacher education (ITE). Globally, increasing numbers of school age children living in poverty is a pressing concern for teachers. Previous research has suggested that student teachers may hold negative stereotypical attitudes towards children and families living in poverty, which may influence their future professional practice. However, given the importance of ITE as a site for teacher preparation there is a need for further research into student teachers’ views of poverty in the context of increasing levels of child poverty. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected using a survey questionnaire comprising closed response and open-ended questions, and analysed using descriptive statistical techniques and thematic analysis, respectively. Our findings suggest that, on entry to their ITE, the student teachers in this study largely held ‘multidimensional’ understandings of poverty. The student teachers also recognise poverty as a real issue affecting children and young people. These findings offer insights for initial teacher preparation in view of the challenges emerging from increased rates of child poverty.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-117
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Education for Teaching
Issue number1
Early online date13 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Initial teacher education
  • poverty
  • student teachers
  • children
  • young people
  • Education


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