Paper Session Joint Session NW 01 with NW 18
Associated with the retention, success and well- being of novice teachers is their inauguration into professional communities of practice (Strong, 2009), typically referred to in the extant literature as induction and mentoring (I&M). Studies of the nature and significance of this transition phase have populated the teacher education literature over the past twenty-five years (Wang, Odell, & Schwille, 2008). This body of work has consistently confirmed the benefits of the I&M experience for those teaching schools (Ingersoll & Strong, 2011). For example, school studies demonstrate how induction programmes have the potential to positively influence novice teachers’ professional development and children’s learning (Richter et al., 2011); particularly when situated in schools with comprehensive induction programmes (Britton, Paine, Pimm, & Raizen, 2003). Central to the success of these programmes are leaders who actively support and resource the process (Youngs, 2007); and professional relationships (e.g. between mentor and mentee) that adopt a teacher inquiry stance to build knowedge of practice (Hobson, Ashby, Malderez, & Tomlinson, 2009). Despite these identified benefits less is known about the experience of new teachers who are initiated into the teaching profession in early childhood educational (ECE) settings. It is to this sector we turn our attention to garner understanding of this essential experience. More specifically our purpose was to capture the multifaceted nature of I&M by examining concerns of multiple stakeholders about policy, leadership, resourcing, mentoring along with other component features by asking:
- What are the perceptions held by educators in ECE organisations of comprehensive induction and mentoring?
- How do work conditions support or constrain the induction and mentoring process?
The work of educators is conceptualised by numerous studies as complex (e.g. Radford, 2006). Such complexity is characterised by non-linear and multi-layered interactions (Haggis, 2008); and it is within these multifaceted and relational ECE organisations that the new teacher is initiated into the profession (Langdon, Alexander, Ryde, & Baggatta, 2014). This multi-layered complexity is also compounded by the differing ECE private and public systems, and the level of teacher training and qualifications held by teachers in those settings (Martin-Korpi, 2005; OECD, 2006). The differing systems mean the context that new teachers are inducted into is likely to range in quality because of the varying level of the teaching qualifications, with many having no or low-level qualifications, particularly in low socio-economic areas (Siraj-Blatchford, 2010).
Taking into account the relatively low level or absence of qualifications in the ECE sector it is not surprising that I&M of new teachers is a much less familiar concept than in other educational sectors (Whitebook, Gomby, Bellm, Sakai, & Kipnis, 2009). These authors report that in the majority of countries induction tends to be offered as a regulatory compliance to teachers in early childhood programmes, i.e. where it is not required for licensing and becomes a cost to the centre rather than the state induction is less likely to occur. However ECE teachers are increasingly gaining degree qualifications (Mitchell, 2007); and within Europe, United States of America, the United Kingdom and other countries professional development activities are linked to an established set of teacher competencies (Whitebook et al., 2009). The situation is in flux, while systematic ECE induction and mentoring support of novice teachers to meet these competencies at a national level is rare, there is professional recognition of its importance. Thus, the opportunity to gather information from a national stratified representative sample to investigate induction and mentoring from key ECE stakeholders’ perspectives makes this study an important contribution to the literature. These findings are further enriched through a qualitative investigation into how work conditions influence the induction mentoring process.
Britton, E., Paine, L., Pimm, D., & Raizen, S. (2003). Making sense of induction Comprehensive teacher induction (pp. 296-331). London: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Haggis, T. (2008). Knowledge must be contextual: Some possible implications of complexity and dynamic systems theories for education research. In M. Mason (Ed.), Complexity theory and the philosophy of education. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. Hobson, A. J., Ashby, P., Malderez, A., & Tomlinson, P. D. (2009). Mentoring beginning teachers: What we know and what we don't. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(1), 207-216. Ingersoll, R., & Strong, M. (2011). The Impact of Induction and Mentoring Programs for Beginning Teachers: A Critical Review of the Research. Review of Educational Research,, 1-33. Langdon, F. J., Alexander, P. A., Ryde, A., & Baggatta, P. (2014). A national survey of induction and mentoring: How it is perceived within communites of practice. Teaching and Teacher Education, 44, 92-105. Martin-Korpi. (2005). The Foundation for lifelong learning in Children in Europe. Curriculum and assessment in the early years, (9). Mitchell, L. (2007). Early childhood education services in 2007: key findings from the NZCER national survey. Wellington: NZCER. New Zealand Teachers Council (Producer). (2011). Guidelines for Induction and Mentoring Programmes and for Mentor Teacher Development in Aotearoa New Zealand OECD. (2006). Starting Strong 11: Early Childhood Education and Care. Paris: Organisation for economic co-operation and development. Radford, M. (2006). Researching Classrooms: Complexity and chaos. British Educational Research Journal, 32(2), 177-190. Richter, D., Kunter, M., Ludtke, O., Klusmann, U., Andrs, Y., & Baumkert, J. (2011). How Different Mentoring Approaches Affect Beginning Teachers' Development in the First Years of Practice. Paper presented at the meeting of American Education Research Association 8-12 April, New Orleans. Siraj-Blatchford, I. (2010). Early Childhood Matters: Evidence from the effective pre-school and primary education project. London:Routledge. Strong, M. (2009). Effective Teacher Induction and Mentoring Assessing the Evidence. New York: Teachers College Press. Wang, J., Odell, S. J., & Schwille, S. A. (2008). Effects of teacher induction on beginning teachers' teaching - A critical review of the literature. Journal of Teacher Education, 59(2), 132-152. Whitebook, M., Gomby, D., Bellm, D., Sakai, L., & Kipnis, F. (2009). Preparing teachers of young children: the current state of knowledge, and a blueprint for the future. Berkeley: Centre for the study of childcare employment institute for research on labor and employment. Youngs, P. (2007). How Elementary Principals' Beliefs and Actions Influence New Teachers' Experiences Educational Administration Quarterly, 43(1), 101-137.
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