01 SES 11 B, Beginning Teachers and Foothold in Induction
General description on research questions, objectives and theoretical framework
On one hand, we know that a high quality in teacher competences are essential for students’ ability to achieve a high learning outcome (Nordenbo et al, 2008).
On the other hand, we also know that there are considerable challenges for the newly qualified teacher (NQT), who often work in a classroom isolated from colleagues, and left alone with both successes and failures (Ingersoll and Strong, 2011; Johnsen and Birkeland, 2003). This could affect the NQT’s possibilities in developing high quality teaching the first years in the profession, which consequently may affect students’ learning process. Statistics show that 17% of NQT leaves the teaching profession within the first year of teaching (Jonassen, A, 2016).
In Denmark, the BA in Teacher Education is a 4-year (240 ECTS) competence based program. The program comprises the teacher’s foundational competences, teaching subjects, teaching practice and a bachelor project. Traditionally, there is an understanding that NQT should be able to teach skillfully from day one in the profession. Therefore, there has not been a national focus on establishing an induction program to support new teachers. In an international perspective, this is interesting because it is different from other European countries. The support in Denmark has been arbitrary in different municipalities or individual schools (Bjerkholt and Hedegaard, 2010). However, even though the Teacher Education is competence based, we believe that some skills can only be developed in practice (Grimen and Molander, 2008), and therefore we suggest that a Danish induction program could both qualify NQT teaching and support their intentions of staying in the profession.
At VIA University College, the research program “Mentoring and Counselling” is trying to design and implement an induction program for NQT in Danish schools. The project is called: “Newly qualified teachers and their foothold”. Our aim is to design an induction program that optimizes the new teachers’ start of their careers by emphasize continued professional development.
From international and national research, we know that induction programs has the best chance of success if the programs are context-sensitive (Wang et al, 2008) and therefore we have developed a list of principles that can be applied in putting together a local induction program. These principles include mentoring, cooperation with colleagues, network groups, observation, management support, and more.
It is important that the mentor is educated in counselling, and understands that professional development for the NQT rests upon educative mentoring with a bifocal perspective (Bradbury, 2010; Ginkel et al, 2016)
The project cooperates with a municipality in Denmark on developing an induction program at the local schools. In Denmark, there are national policy regarding the overall aim and subject objectives for the Danish public school, but the municipalities has the responsibility to govern the schools so they fulfill the aims and objectives.
Together with the municipality, the research project has agreed that all schools must find a mentor and this mentor must attend a 2-day mentor course; also, describe a plan for the school’s induction program; time resources for both mentor and NQT for counselling, and network meetings for NQT. Furthermore, the schools can supplement this with other elements from the above-mentioned list of principles.
Our presentation will focus on the project’s cooperation with four schools in the municipality. We collect data on the implementation of the induction program, with special attention to the experiences of the NQT’s professional development. Therefore, our presentation will focus on research question 3.b below. The research questions for this part of the project: How can a teacher induction system be designed and implemented in a Danish context? a. What challenges can be identified along with developing and implementing teacher induction program in a Danish municipality. b. Which experiences for NQT can be identified in the four schools regarding the implementation of the induction program and the attention to professional development? The project uses the Design Based Research approach (Akker et al, 2006), and we have identified the DBR’s 4-phased cycle at four levels and contexts in our cooperation with the municipality and the schools: • Central administration - general framing of content and resources, • Developing mentor competencies • School - strategy descriptions and implementation • Mentor-mentee cooperation In phase 1 in the DBR-model, we have conducted a survey for all NQT graduates in the last three years (Frederiksen, Krøjgaard & Paaske, 2017). Furthermore, we have written a review of reviews on the international research on Teacher Induction Programs and conducted focus group interviews. In phase 2, we have cooperated with a municipality on development of a prototype for a local induction program. In phase 3, we are currently implementing and observing the induction program in the municipality in an iterative process. Data collection: • Meetings between the central administration, a few principals, the teacher’s union and the researchers • Our findings (phase 1, 2) have been presented for the school principals • Mentors from all schools has participated in a two-day course planned and executed by the researchers • The schools have described the local form and content of their induction program • Researchers observes the implementation process at four schools, mainly observations, interviews and digital diaries • NQT participates in network groups. There is a facilitator from the municipality administration, and they meet three times during the first year.
Expected outcomes/results In this presentation, the findings will focus on the possibilities for the NQT to continue the professional development. How does the school culture and the mentors promote and support this development? The findings will be based on the relation between the digital diaries and the interviews with NQT, the outcomes from the mentor course and induction program from each school. This will be related to the challenge in creating iterative processes at four context-levels at the same time – and the lack of communication between the levels. As mentioned, it will be with a focus on how NQT have experienced the first year of their career. Did they feel supported? Did they experience educative mentoring? Are they aware of the students learning? Etc. (Bradbury, 2010) We have been observing and collecting data since August 2017 and we continue until the end of June 2018, and we have not made any conclusions yet. However, we have observed indications of a positive professional development for several of the participating NQT, and we have witnessed lots of dialogue between mentor and NQT with elements of educative mentoring (Bradbury, 2010) pointing towards a professional direction. We have also observed situations with personal support, mentor promoting socialization (EVA, 2013) and mentor responding to immediate needs instead of long-term development. Many data indicates that implementing a teacher induction program at four levels (mentioned above) is a challenge and might take years. There is a lack of communication between the levels which results in losing the sense of meaning. The school culture, the choice of mentor, the ideas of mentoring, and the possibility for iterative processes at all levels shows some complications.
References: Akker, J.V.D., Gravenmaijer, K., McKenney, S. & Nieveen, N. (Ed.). (2006). Educational Design Research. London & New York: Routledge. Bjerkholt, E & Hedegaard, E. (2010). System Promoting New Teachers´ Professional Development. In G. Fransson & C. Gustafsson (Ed.), Newly Qualified Teachers in Northern Europe. – Comparative Perspectives on Promoting Professional Development. University of Gävle. Bradbury, L. U. (2010). Educative Mentoring : Promoting Reform-Based Science Teaching. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 94(6), 1049–1071. https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.20393 EVA Danmarks Evalueringsinstitut. (2013). TALIS 2013 OECD´s Lærer- og lederundersøgelse (OECD's Teaching and management survey). Danish Ministry of Education. Frederiksen, L.L., Krøjgaard, F. & Paaske, K.A. (2017). Lærerstart og fodfæste i et livslangt karriereforløb https://www.ucviden.dk/portal/files/44628052/L_rerstart_og_fodf_ste_m._bilag_1_6.pdf Grimen, H. & Molander, A. (2008). Profesjon og skjønn. In A. Molander and L.I. Terum (Ed.), Profesjonsstudier. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. 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, 81 (2), 201-230. Johnson, S.M. & Birkeland, S. E. (2003). Pursuing a ”sense of success”: New teacher explain their career decisions. American Educational Research Journal, 40(3), 581-617. Retrieved from https://projectngt.gse.harvard.edu/files/gse-projectngt/files/johnson-birkeland_aerjournal_fall03.pdf Jonassen, A. (2016, August 13). Hver sjette nyuddannet lærer dropper folkeskolen inden for det første år (Every sixth newly qualified teacher leaves the municipal school within the first year). Politiken. Retrieved from: http://politiken.dk/indland/uddannelse/art5632312/Hver-sjette-nyuddannet-l%C3%A6rer-dropper-folkeskolen-inden-for-det-f%C3%B8rste-%C3%A5r Nordenbo, S.E., Søgaard Larsen, M., Tiftikci, N., Wendt, R.E. & Østergaard, S. (2008). Lærerkompetanser og elevers læring i barnehage og skole: Et systematisk review utført for kunnskapsdepartementet, Oslo. In Evidensbasen. København: Dansk Clearinghouse for Uddannelsesforskning, DPU, Aarhus Universitet. Wang, J., Odell, S.J. & Sharon A.S. (2008). Effects of teachers’ induction on beginning teachers teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 59(2), 132-152.
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