20 SES 07, Culture and Diversity for Pre-Service Teachers, Researching Learning Transitions in Challenging Settings and Retaining New Teachers
In the EU there seems to be a challenge for newly educated teachers being retained in their new jobs. In other words, the transition between study life and working life seems difficult and for too many newly educated teachers so confusing that they give up, leave their job and change their professions. (RETAIN project description Comenius Project:17:2013).
Referring to the theme for this year EERA conference the reason for these challenges could relate to transitions both “from one psychosocial status to another” and “to the transition of communities from one situation into another”. So in reality having full filled ones education and once made this important transition is yet another important change in the development of a professional career be it teacher, social worker, nurse etc.
For teachers many younger and newly educated finds the transition from studies into the teacher profession difficult and a large part of young teachers leave the teacher profession only after a few years of active career. Thus, statistics from UK shows that about half have left the teacher profession within 5 years. A Danish survey from 2011 shows that 11% of the newly graduated teachers, who have experience as teachers, do not expect to continue in the profession. In a study about newly educated teachers it is stated (Fibæk Laursen: 2006:79), that:”… 44 % of the teachers were thinking of changing to another profession. The strains are according to the investigation due to not only the cooperation with children and their parents as it is often stated in the debates. Surprisingly the investigation showed that the relation to the colleagues was just as well seen as a significant straining factor”. Based on these findings and other research results there will be a strong focus on how school management can support the process of retaining newly educated teachers, due to the importance of a leadership which defines, overlooks and develops the working place environment to be inclusive for everybody.
The challenges in this situation are the basis for the project and hence this paper based on this research question: “How and with what ‘tools’ is it possible to develop an inclusive and creative working environment within schools, which is motivating for both teachers and pupils. This furthermore inspires to collaboration between teacher generations, between the school and the outside world, between pupils and teachers, and between teachers and parents. As a consequence of this research question the objective for the RETAIN project is: “... through action research, to develop, test and propose a tool box, containing tools, methods, recommendations and supportive training material that can assist school managers as well as teachers – young or experienced – to create an inclusive and creative working environment together” (RETAIN project description Comenius Project:17:2013).
With the strong focus on school leadership the RETAIN project will be based on a specific theoretical perspective and practical approach developed by The National Research Centre for Inclusive Practice (NVIE/DNCIP) in Denmark called ‘The Inclusion Compass’. The idea behind this Compass is that school management, to develop an inclusive school including newly employed teachers, has to involve all stakeholders e.g. parents, pupils, external consultants, local authorities and the local community and in the context of this RETAIN project and paper ALSO the employees – booth the experienced and the novices. The theoretical approach in this project amongst others draws upon action learning theory and the works by Lave & Wenger (1991), Wenger (1998), Bruner (1993), research done by Bayer and Brinkkjær (2003) and investigations by The European Agency for Development of Special Needs Education (2012).
Bayer, M. og Brinkkjær, U. (2011) Newly Qualified teachers’ careers in the first 18 months”. Page 10 - 22 In: Ulla Lindgren, Finn Hjardemaaal, Sven-Erik Hansen & Ka Sjöholm (eds.). Becoming a Teacher – Nordic Perspectives on Teacher Education and Newly Qualified Teachers. Report from the Faculty of Education, Åbo Akademi University. No 30. Vasa 2011. Bruner; Jerome (1993) Acts of Meaning. Harvard University Press. European Agency for Development of Special Needs Education (2012) TE4I. Teacher Education for Inclusion - Profile of Inclusive Teachers. www.european-agency.org Fibæk Laursen, P: Support af nye lærere. Tidsskriftet MONA (Matematik- og Naturfagsdidaktik), 2006, nr. 1. Københavns Universitet, Institut for Naturfagenes Didaktik, www.ind.ku.dk/mona. Larsen, Doris O, Quvang, Christian & Willumsen, John (2014) Promoting innovative and creative cross professional Competences for Inclusion, Diversity and Sustainability – challenges to educational research. Paper presented at ECER Porto 2014. Lave, Jean & Wenger, Etienne (1991) Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge University Press. Lifelong Learning Programme. RETAIN project description Comenius Project: 17: 2013. Application Form 2013 Call for proposals. National Research Centre for Inclusive Practice (NVIE) (2012) The Inclusion Compass. www.nvie.dk Quvang, Christian & Willumsen, John (2007) Challenges for the inclusive teacher? Report. DNCIP Christian Quvang & Willumsen, John (2009) Innovative co-operation between teachers and experts promoting inclusion. Report. DNCIP Willumsen, John & Quvang, Christian (2015) Index for inklusion i skolen og andre fællesskaber. DNCIP/NVIE (in Print) Wenger, Etienne (1998) Communities of practise. Cambridge University Press.
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