01 SES 07 B, CPD for newly-Qualified Teachers
Parallel Paper Session
Inclusive education is the entitlement of all children and young people to quality education, irrespective of their differences, dispositions or disabilities (Moran, 2007). The enactment of Irish legislative policies in support of inclusion since the early 1990’s has resulted in students with a wide range of special educational needs attending mainstream schools. This necessitates that teachers have the knowledge, skills and competencies to address the teaching and learning needs of an increasingly diverse population.
Sustaining effective teaching and learning during times of radical change, as this period represents, requires ongoing and critical reflection upon beliefs and practices, and sophisticated understanding of the cognitive and motivational principles underpinning new forms of learning and teaching in schools (Kearns & Thatcher, 2007). The National Project on Teacher Induction (Ireland) strives to support newly qualified teachers (NQTs) in addressing students’ diverse learning needs.
This study aims to explore (1) mentors’ self-efficacy at the beginning and end of the induction period for NQTs, during the 2010-2011 period, (2) it examines the extent to which mentors’ perceptions’ of their teaching competencies and that of the NQT cohort is reflected in their supportive roles (3), it explores similarities and differences in the priority learning areas identified for NQTs by mentors, principals and by the NQTs themselves (Killeavy and Murphy, 2006). Teacher efficacy measures were derived from a scale adapted by O’Donnell (2009) based on earlier scales by Tschannen-Moran, M., & Woolfolk Hoy, A. (2001).
One theoretical framework underpinning this study is that of social cognitive theory. According to social cognitive theory, human functioning should be regarded as the product of a dynamic interplay of personal, behavioural, and environmental influences. Of all the thoughts that affect human functioning, and standing at the very core of social cognitive theory, are self-efficacy beliefs, "people's judgments of their capabilities to organise and execute courses of action required to attain designated types of performances" (Bandura, 1986, p.391). Self-efficacy beliefs provide the foundation for human motivation, well-being and personal accomplishment in such a way that unless people believe that, their actions can produce the outcomes they desire, they will have little incentive to act or to persevere in the face of difficulties. Because "people's level of motivation, affective states, and actions are based more on what they believe than on what is objectively true", how people behave can often be better predicted by the beliefs they hold about their capabilities than by what they are actually capable of accomplishing (Bandura, 1997, p. 2).
References Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman. Coolahan, J. (1993). Professionalism in context. In D. Swan & M. Leydon (Eds.), Teachers as professionals, 1–5. Dublin, Ireland: Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland. Earley, P., & Bubb, S. (2004). Leading and managing continuing professional development. London:Sage. Grant, C., & Zeichner, K. (1981). Inservice support for first year teachers: The state of the scene. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 14, 99–111. Hargreaves, A., & Fullan, M. (1998). What’s worth fighting for out there? Toronto, Canada: Ontario Public School Teachers’ Federation. Killeavy, M. (2001). Teacher education in Ireland: The induction and continuing professional development of primary teachers. European Journal of Teacher Education, 24, 115–133. Killeavy, M., & Murphy, R. (2006). National pilot project on teacher induction: A final report. Dublin, Ireland: Irish Government Publications. O’ Donnell (2009) Inclusive Education Policy: Teachers’ Efficacy Beliefs for Including Pupils with Special Educational Needs in Irish Mainstream Primary School. Unpubilished Doctorate Thesis, St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Dublin. Smith, T. M.,&Ingersoll, R. M. (2004). What are the effects of induction and mentoring on beginning teacher turnover? American Educational Research Journal, 41, 681–714.
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