23 SES 14 B, Teacher Retention and Attrition: An International Inquiry
Research Background: Throughout the western world, the development of teachers and their retention is an escalating problem. This theme appears repeatedly in literature originating in The Netherlands (Stokking, Leenders & Van Tartwyk, 2003), Canada (Fantilli & McDougall, 2009), the United States (Ingersoll, 2004) and Israel (Orland-Barak, 2010), among other nations. Even Finland with its enviable Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores and “trust through [teacher] professionalism” focus experiences retention and attrition issues (Heikkinen, Jokinen, & Tynjälä, 2012). According to an Australian Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) report, “…teaching is becoming…a career of ‘movement in and out’ and the ‘out’ may be permanent. There is a need for further, more detailed study on the movement in and out of teaching, particularly in the younger age cohort” (Skilbeck & Connell, 2003, pp. 32-33).
Session Description: Growing concerns about teacher retention and attrition, along with the severity of its effects, prompted a team of international researchers to investigate the identified phenomena nationally and internationally. In this symposium, researchers from four countries will present papers. A discussant from a fifth nation will respond.
Research Questions: (1) What is the status of national teacher attrition and retention in literature and policy documents? (2) What do national case studies on teacher attrition and retention reveal about the circumstances leading to teachers leaving the profession? (3) What can be done about teacher retention and attrition nationally and internationally?
Objectives: (1) to examine national literature bases and policy documents; (2) to identify factors surrounding teacher attrition and retention; (3) to humanize statistical accounts; (4) to outline complexities underlying lived phenomena; (5) to see if reasons for leaving can be addressed through preventative measures; (6) to argue that the problem warrants international investigation.
Methods/Methodology: This inquiry follows a mixed method research design. Quantitative methods are employed to determine national/international trends; qualitative approaches are used to interpret interview data presented in the symposium. The national research findings result from “serial interpretation” (Schwab, 1954/1978) of multiple sources of data across different participants/sources of literature. Next steps include analyses across participants as units of study and across countries as units of study to ascertain similarities and differences. Recommendations and actions will be suggested to abate the teacher attrition and retention phenomena both nationally and internationally.
Strengths of the Collaborative Research Approach: Working collaboratively, the group of international researchers is stronger than the sum of its individual researcher parts. The academic knowledge created and mobilized through this collaborative research project serves social and practical purposes and addresses national and international goals. The shared inquiry addresses grave teaching and teacher education concerns that exist in westernized nations, albeit in different forms and at different rates.
Outcomes/Results: Early study reveals much data that has been hidden from, or ignored by, policymakers. Certain themes repeat themselves across national/international data sets. Countries with advanced states of teacher attrition can assist others concerning what does/does not work. Common international terms are urgently needed to capture attrition at various junctures of teachers’ careers.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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