32 SES 11 A, Schools as Learning Organizations
The aim of this study is to examine the characteristics of an ecological school culture conducive to the retention of novice teachers. Twenty novice teachers were selected randomly from 20 different schools in Israel. The qualitative research findings revealed that an ecological school culture conducive to the retention of novice teachers possesses a multi-dimensional framework characterized by categories such as organizational practices, peer communication, individual aspects, community, working condition, and teacher status. The research findings can contribute to reshaping guidance procedures and practices best suited to novice teachers, which will ultimately aid in the retention of quality teachers.
Numerous studies have indicated that a significant number of novice teachers leave the schools in which they work during the first years of teaching (Schaefer, Long, & Clandinin, 2012). The importance of retaining novice teachers derives, among other things, from the fact that the top-quality teachers whom we wish to retain in the education system are the ones who tend to leave (Smith & Ingersoll, 2004). Previous studies indicate that various factors (individual and contextual) can influence the behavior of novice teachers (Johnson, Kraft, & Papay, 2012, Dupriez, Delvaux, & Lothaire, 2016), particularly their tendency to leave or remain in the education system (Borman & Dowling, 2008). Recent studies (Mason & Matas 2015; Schaefer et al., 2012) describe the need for multi-dimensional assessment since only this type of assessment - which encompasses both the individual and contextual factors - can properly express the complexity of the factors responsible for retention. Considering this, the main objective of this study is to examine an ecological school culture which may explain the retention of novice teachers in the schools. This study is unique in that it examines a multi-dimensional model through which it will be possible to ascertain the factors associated with the retention of novice teachers which stem from the individual, the school, and the school environment. The current study is an offshoot of Bronfenbrenner’s (2005) ecological social model, examining and updating it into a model that allows the presentation of the various aspects associated with the world of novice teachers and their retention in the schools. This ecological model facilitates the description of social constructs between the novice teachers and their environment, with adjoining levels influencing each other. The current study is unique in that it focuses on the question: What are the characteristics of the ecological school culture that arise from Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model (2005) which may explain the retention of novice teachers in the schools?
Participants The participants in this study included 20 novice teachers (14 women and 6 men) from 20 middle schools and high schools in Israel. The sample was representative of schools from the various districts and sectors (both secular and religious government schools) and portrayed the gender ratio among teachers and educators in the Jewish sector (Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, 2016). A novice teacher was defined as a teacher with up to three years' seniority, of which the internship period was counted as the first year. The three-year criterion is derived from previous studies and from the Israeli context whereby teachers are granted tenure after three years (Ingersoll, 2012; Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, 2016). Data collection After receiving permission from the Ministry of Education we contacted the 20 school principals at random. After explaining the study aims, we requested permission to interview one novice teacher from their school. All the principals gave their consent and asked the school office to provide us with a list of novice teachers and randomly contacted one teacher from each list. Approximately 80% of the teachers responded affirmatively after receiving a detailed explanation of the study. The identity of the teachers interviewed was not revealed to the school. All participating teachers were guaranteed anonymity and signed their consent to be interviewed. Each interview lasted approximately 90 minutes. A semi-structured interview was used to examine the array of individual and environmental factors related to the retention of teachers. Data analysis The participants' names were altered in the presentation of the findings to maintain their anonymity. The analyses were performed using a three-stage process (Blair, 2015). During the first stage, open coding was performed on the units of narratives that had been collected. These were then grouped into sub-categories according to their common properties. The second stage consisted of axial coding, in which the sub-categories were grouped into categories. The third stage entailed selective coding, whereby the sub-categories were grouped into broader, more-inclusive core category. The coding stage was performed by two lead researchers and two research assistants who were doctoral students of education. The researchers performed the coding independently and separately and then met to discuss the core category, categories, and sub-categories that had been formulated. There was a 90% agreement among all researchers.
Five main categories were derived from the interviews. The most dominant category that the teachers referred to was “organizational practices”, followed by “peer communication”, individual aspects , “community”, and “working conditions and teachers’ status. The research findings yielded a unique model of ecological culture intended to explain the retention of novice teachers, which fills the gaps that exist in Bronfenbrenner’s model (2005). The model that emerged from this study simultaneously and measurably describes all the dimensions with which novice teachers interact on a daily basis. It also enables us to understand which dimensions are dominant in relation to others and to focus on them when developing and designing mentoring programs for novice teachers. During the course of the research, several aspects recurred within the various dimensions. The foremost of these was mentoring and support, which were perceived as the foundation for the induction and retention of novice teachers. The mentor's necessity as a significant factor in teacher retention in the education system was found in previous studies (Buchanan et al., 2013). Our study' however, shows that many teachers receive, or at least expect to receive, guidance and mentoring from the school administration, too, throughout the year. Most of the teachers participating in our study felt that the guidance and support they received from the school administration was minimal to unsatisfactory. Another significant factor for teachers is partnership and inclusion. Teachers maintained that openness and the possibility of sharing their hardships as novice teachers were extremely important in their communication with their peers, the professional team, and the administration. They also needed to feel partners in the school processes, including making decisions pertaining to the anticipated changes and objectives they were expected to attain. In this study, we present in detail the various dimensions from the most to the least dominant.
Blair, E. (2015). A reflexive exploration of two qualitative data coding techniques. Journal of Methods and Measurement in the Social Sciences, 6(1), 14-29. Bronfenbrenner, U. (2005). Making human beings human: Bioecological perspectives on human development. Sage Publications. Buchanan, J., Prescott, A., Schuck, S., Aubusson, P., Burke, P., & Louviere, J. (2013). Teacher retention and attrition: Views of early career teachers. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(3), 8. Burke, P. F., Aubusson, P. J., Schuck, S. R., Buchanan, J. D., & Prescott, A. E. (2015). How do early career teachers value different types of support? A scale-adjusted latent class choice model. Teaching and Teacher Education, 47, 241-253. Dupriez, V., Delvaux, B., & Lothaire, S. (2016). Teacher shortage and attrition: Why do they leave? British Educational Research Journal, 42(1), 21-39. Fernet, C., Guay, F., Senécal, C., & Austin, S. (2012). Predicting intraindividual changes in teacher burnout: The role of perceived school environment and motivational factors. Teaching and Teacher Education, 28(4), 514–525. Retrieved from: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2011.11.013 Ingersoll, R. (2012). Beginning teacher induction: What the data tells us. Phi Delta Kappan, 93(8), 47-51. Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics (November, 2016), Annual Migration and Attrition of Teachers, 1991-2016, Announcement in the media. Lindqvist, P., Nordänger, U. K., & Carlsson, R. (2014). Teacher attrition the first five years–A multifaceted image. Teaching and Teacher Education, 40, 94-103. Mason, S., & Matas, C. P. (2015). Teacher attrition and retention research in Australia: Towards a new theoretical framework. Australian Journal of Teacher Education (Online), 40(11), 45. Peters, J., & Pearce, J. (2012). Relationships and early career teacher resilience: A role for school principals. Teachers and Teaching, 18(2), 249-262. Pogodzinski, B. (2015). Administrative context and novice teacher-mentor interactions. Journal of Educational Administration, 53(1), 40-65. Ronfeldt, M., Loeb, S., & Wyckoff, J. (2013). How teacher turnover harms pupil achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 50(1), 4-36. Rots, I., Aelterman, A., Devos, G., & Vlerick, P. (2010). Teacher education and the choice to enter the teaching profession: A prospective study. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(8), 1619-1629. Schaefer, L., Long, J. S., & Clandinin, D. J. (2012). Questioning the research on early career teacher attrition and retention. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 58(1), 106-121. Zhukova, O. (2018). Novice teachers’ Concerns, Early Professional Experiences and Development: Implications for Theory and Practice. Discourse and Communication for Sustainable Education, 9(1), 100-114.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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