Sustenance of Teachers: Induction Programs Introduction During the last few decades the schools have started implementation of induction programs for the new teachers in attempt to initiate and retain high quality professionals (Galves-Hjornevik, 1985).
There are many types of induction programs with the newest of them offering the induction techniques of nonteaching professionals. However, both new and old induction programs for new teachers have much in common, as they are organized in a similar way, being divided into segments as follows – introduction, instruction, assessment, and adjustment components. With the introduction of the new programs, more segments are integrated into them. Examining the induction programs for new teachers it becomes possible to explore and assess how the induction programs influence the professional growth of the new teachers. The present paper examines induction programs for new teachers, provides a critical literary review, and outlines the most important components of a good induction program. Induction Programs: Regulations According to the scholars, the regulations for the statutory induction period were first outlined to provide the newly qualified teachers with a bridge from initial education to effective professional practice (Bubb, et al.
2002), with a sustainable foundation for the long-term continuing professional growth, and with support in order to help the beginning teachers to make their contribution to raising school standards and to the school improvement. Under the induction program, the beginning teachers are given a lighter teaching timetable compared with other teachers working in the school, a description of the job, which makes no unreasonable demands, the continuing meetings with the school induction teacher with half termly reviews of the newly qualified teachers’ progress, a specialized programme of support, monitoring and assessment tailored to the teachers needs, the objectives, which are informed by the areas for development defined in the career entry profile in order to facilitate the teachers efforts in meeting high induction standards, at least one observation of the new professionals’ teaching each half term with the written and oral feedback, and finally, the assessment meeting and report at the end of each term, 8 procedures to air grievance at school and local education authority level (Bubb, et al. 2002).
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The Key Stages in the Induction Program According to the legislation, all state schools in England are obliged to provide an induction period. Although other schools have no such an obligation, they still have an option to provide induction period for the new teachers in case they wish. For example, the following education establishments can provide an induction period: non-maintained special schools, independent schools in case they teach the National Curriculum, and sixth form colleges. There are schools, which cannot provide induction period, such as pupil referral schools, the schools that need special measures, independent schools, which do not teach the National Curriculum, and tertiary colleges, other than sixth form colleges (Bubb, et al.
So, the major aim of all induction programmes for new teachers is to facilitate the process of transformation of a new student teacher graduate into a competent professional teacher. For example, Schlechty (1985) considers that the major attributes of the effective induction programmes for new teachers are observed in the administration attitude and behaviour and in the faculty (Components of Good Teacher Induction Programs, 1986).
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This can be observed through the support of school norms and standards, and general conformity of the new teacher performance to these norms and standards. Schlechty also offers guidelines for assessment and evaluation of the induction programs for the new teachers. These guidelines for assessment can be used in the form of a checklist comprising of eight major induction program qualities. Schlechtys guidelines are aimed to be utilized in the assessment of the induction programs, which significantly differ in content and delivery structures.
There are four major characteristics of Schlechty’s framework aimed to show the impact of other professions: The induction programme explains to the participants that the process of their selection was based on specific requirements. It also shows that the induction training is very important for the teachers’ future success; The process of induction is planned so to be split into progressive stages of achievement; The induction programme is aimed to evoke the feeling of mutual support within the participants’ groups; The induction programme is primarily oriented toward long-term professional goals; The other characteristics apply to the needs of the new teachers: The norms and administratively-set expectations of teacher conduct are thoroughly and concisely defined, articulated and disseminated (Components of Good Teacher Induction Programs, 1986); The new teachers are expected to assimilate a professional vocabulary; The participants of the induction programme get necessary supervision, coaching, demonstration and evaluation; Finally, the responsibility for supervision is evenly distributed throughout the faculty in a consistent, well organized and continuous programme. Foster (1982) and Griffin (1985) place an emphasis on the importance of specifying programme goals in behavioural technology (Components of Good Teacher Induction Programs, 1986).
There is also awareness of the importance of continuous feedback amoung the new teachers taking part in the induction programmes. Griffin also warns the developers of the induction programme of potentially inappropriate utilization of the research results as definitions for expected teacher behaviour technology (Components of Good Teacher Induction Programs, 1986).
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The induction programme goals must precisely outline the expectations of teachers behaviour with regards to specific school standards.
Some sources also indicate that the induction programmes for new teachers should also contain three information sources, such as the school, the community, and the teaching profession. All these major concepts should be introduced to the new teacher. According to Hall (1982) importance also should be given to the necessity of teaching as an area of life-long process of learning (Components of Good Teacher Induction Programs, 1986).
Defino and Hoffman (1984) point out that the special needs programmes, for example the induction programs aimed to introduce the beginning teacher into an urban or rural environment with which the beginning teacher has had no previous experience often use this approach (Components of Good Teacher Induction Programs, 1986).
Areas Covered by the Induction Programmes The vast majority of the researchers (Griffin and Hukill 1983; Galvez-Hjornevik 1985; Zimpher 1985) agree that there are many areas that might be covered by the induction programmes, as there are many proposals for the content of the induction programme (Components of Good Teacher Induction Programs, 1986).
Thus, according to the researchers, the topics, which are of any significant importance are generally taken from the surveys of administrators and senior teachers experienced in the assessment of shortcomings of the new first-year teachers.
The induction programmes are, therefore, generally comprise of the elements of facility and faculty introduction, student discipline, classroom management, school and school dicstrict expectations, professional conduct, and professional obligations (Components of Good Teacher Induction Programs, 1986).
The beginning teacher faces the necessity to examine a number of teaching methods and evaluation processes. However, the induction programmes differ significantly in what concerns the process of instruction (Bubb, et al. 2002).
For example, some induction programmes focus attention on the assistance to the beginning teacher rather than utilizing the induction programme as an indicator of the new teachers professionalism and competency. Some induction programmes are stricter as they equally instruct and assess the first-year teacher.
It should be also taken into consideration that the problems occur when evaluation of the first-year teacher is treated in the capacity of the assessment test, and the induction programms for new teachers are utilized as co-called wash-out programmes (Bubb, et al. 2002).
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In this respect, Schlechty (1985) notes that new hirees in any field are hired with the expectation that they will “survive” the induction process and start on their way to full-term careers” (Components of Good Teacher Induction Programs, 1986).
The Implementation of the Induction Programmes According to the researchers, the overall process of shaping and implementation of induction programmes for the new teachers is thoroughly documented with numerous extensive and comprehensive descriptions of their delivery systems (Components of Good Teacher Induction Programs, 1986).
Galvez-Hjornevik (1985) and Schlechty (1984) note that similar to the fact that the term induction’ was borrowed from other professions, many intents and elements of the induction programmes for new teachers were also borrowed from other professions (e.g. medicine and business).
Some of the methods used in induction programmes are based on the academic induction (e.g.
informal workshops, formal seminars, and a set of expectations for the new teacher).
The process of induction usually begins with the introductory lecture and sometimes evolves into sophisticated and complex multipurpose programme. The most common induction programme components are as follows: Internship Status This component implies that the first-year teachers start working as tecahing interns, often at minimal or reduced salary. Under this status, the new teacher usually combines academic studies with the full teaching responsibility (at reduced class loads).
Defino and Hoffman (1984) assert that this component of the induction programme often leads to an advanced level of certification (a masters degree), higher level of a career ladder, or to a fully qualified teaching certificate after 1-3 years of a new teacher’s participation in the induction programme. The Mentor The first-year teachers are usually assigned to a senior teacher in the school, who specializes in their area of study. The mentor serves as a source of information, and usually oversees and guides the maturation of the new teacher, his or her teaching skills, as well as classroom management skills. The process of overseeing occurs on a daily basis.
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This ongoing contact is aimed to provide the young teacher with necessary support and facilitate the process of problem-solving the new teacher needs. Mentor is also conductive to the new teacher’s efficient professional development. The Committee The Committee also plays an important role, as the new teachers are usually assigned to the induction committee. The induction committee is a professional development team created with an objective to monitor, supervise, provide necessary informaiton to the new teachers and train the new teachers in classroom methods, techniques and procedures, which are approved by school where the new teacher works. The induction committee usually comprises of the school principal, a professional consultant, who is responsible for instruction and curriculum, and a peer teacher, who often acts as a tutor. The administrators in the induction committee usually take responsibility for the instruction of the new teachers, and assessment and evaluation of their activity.
The mentor, as it was already mentioned, supervises, oversees and guides the new teacher on a daily basis. The mentor also provices programme continuity. Defino and Hoffman (1984) and Schlechty et al. (1984) also note that sometimes the mentor is responsible for appropriate evaluation of the first-year teacher and is obliged to help the inductee to accommodate himself to the professional development. Some induction programmes imply each induction committee to serve one new teacher, while in the other induction programmes the induction committee serves not one inductee but many (Components of Good Teacher Induction Programs, 1986).
There are also programmes where the induction committee cooperates with a separate group of trained evaluators, and the process of evaluation occurs with no participation of the committee.
The other forms of induction committee imply interdepartmental teacher coaching or department based team teaching. In these programmes the experienced teachers help new teachers, making the process beneficial for both, the experienced and the new ones. Orientation Seminars Orientation seminars are aimed to provide the new teachers with instruction on subjects and issues that the inductees’ administration and mentors have considered important. The seminars are rarely a sole component of the induction program for new teachers and may be a support group for all participants of the induction programme. More complex seminars emphasise on each inductees, peer teachers, consultants and school administrators concerns (Foster 1982; Galvez-Hjornevik 1985).
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Conclusion In conclusion it may be said that there is no uniform concept of what an induction programme should be.
Each induction program is usually tailored to the needs of each school or new teachers needs. The induction programme in teaching is significantly different from the induction programmes in other areas, because not all induction aspects and concerns related to other professions and areas can be transfered to the education profession. It should be also taken into consideration that not all solutions are viable. Therefore, further more extensive analysis and research of the induction programmes is required to reveal what induction programme formats work satisfactorily, and what types of induction programme should be replaced with more effective methods. The above aspects of the induction programme for new teachers are not a complete listing of possible approaches to the induction programme, nor all combinations of these induction components were used in existing programmes. Despite more than two decades of professional concern with the initiation of the first-year teachers into their first working environment, significantly more efforts, time, and work needs to be done in developing and implementing effective induction programmes for the new teachers.
Bibliography Bubb, Sara, Ruth Heilbronn, Cath Jones, Michael Totterdell, and Maxine Bailey. Improving Induction: Research-Based Best Practice for Schools. London: Routledge Falmer, 2002. Schlechty, P., et al. “The Charlotte-Mechlenburg Teacher Career Development Program.” Educational Leadershi 42, no. 2 (December 1984): 4-8.
Washington, ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education. Components of Good Teacher Induction Programs. ERIC Digest 4. 1986. http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-924/good.htm (accessed April 9, 2008)..