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Improving Teacher Induction Andrew J.Wayne, Peter Youngs, and Steve Fleischman


o new teacher can be wholly prepared for the first day of school. In assuming responsibility for the success of their students, new teachers must quickly leam how to assess students' knowledge, plan the curriculum, set expectations for classroom behavior, and build relationships with parents—all while designing and delivering daily lessons. Whether they enter teaching through an emergency-certification route or after imiversity coursework and student teaching, all new teachers have a lot to leam. Unfortunately, schools do not operate like hospital emergency rooms, where experienced personnel routinely watch novices work, spot their mistakes, give advice, and model new techniques. New teachers leam mostly through trial and error. Knowing that, many schools have sought to help new teachers leam on the job through induction programs. What We Know In 1990, if you had asked a group of new teachers whether they received mentoring or participated in an induction program, about half of them would have said yes. By 2000, the proportion had jumped to about four of five (Smith & Ingersoli, 2004). Researchers still lack a clear defini tion of what induction means, however. What schools call "teacher induction" may consist of as little as a one-day orientation pnjgram or a casual assignment of another teacher to act as a mentor. Most states mandate some induction services, but these services do not necessarily include feedback on 76 EDI'CATIONAI, LF.ADERSHIH/MAY 200^

A comprehensive induction package could make a real dent in teacher attrition, according to researchers.

teaching, a forma! evaluation process, or targeted training (Fideler & Haselkom, 1999). Fewer than 1 percent of teachers get what the Alliance for Excellent Education (2004) calls a "comprehensive" induction package: a reduced number of course preparations, a helpful mentor in the same field, a seminar tailored to the needs of beginning teachers, strong communication with administrators, and time for planning and collaboration with other teachers. Such a package could make a real dent in teacher attrition, according to researchers who have investigated the variables that correlate with teacher tumover. For example, studies suggest that new teachers are more likely to continue teaching in their schools of origin when they receive mentoring from teachers in tlieir subject areas (Cohen, 2005; Smith & Ingersoll. 2004). We will eventually know more about teacher induction as a result of a largescale U.S. Department of Educationsponsored study that will randomly assign schools to treatment and control groups. Teachers at treatment schools will receive induction services akin to the "comprehensive" package, and teachers at control schools will receive only what is normally provided. That study will be complete in 2008. For now, only one study of teacher reten-

tion has used a random-assignment design; that study found that new teachers who received mentoring were more likely to stay in their school district (Lopez, Lash, Schaffner, Shields, & Wagner, 2004), An important related question is, Can induction programs improve the instructional practice of new teachers? Randomassignment studies have not answered this question clearly (Lopez et al, 2004). Tlie conventional wisdom holds that teachers typically improve their instruction a great deal during their first few years of teaching. Experts claim that induction programs can accelerate the process, especially it such programs provide training targeted to beginning teachers' needs and pair new teachers with carefully selected mentors who are given the necessary time and training (Anderson & Pellicer, 2001; Shields et al., 2004), What You Can Do State and district policymakers are providing resources to make induction programs more comprehensive, but research shows that much depends on the principal. Principals and other school leaders must extend their roles beyond performance evaluation to include instructional support—and not just help with classroom management.

Administrators can work closely with mentors and other teachers to focus on novices' instructional growth (FeimanNemser, 2001; Youngs, 2002). Research on principal leadership and induction indicates that school leaders can promote instructional development among beginning teachers in several ways: • Insist on quality mentoring. Principals can facilitate mentoring by creating time for new teachers and mentors to meet and to observe in one another's classrooms (Feiman-Nemser & Parker, 1992; Uttle, 1990). Principals should ensure that mentors receive training and have expertise in the same content area and grade level as the new teacher. Principals can also directly encourage mentors to focus on improving new teachers' instruction rather than on merely providing moral support (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2004). • Integrate new teachers into schoolwide learning opportunities. Beginning teachers can leam from collaborative work in departments or grade-level teams and from schoolwide professional development (Kardos, Johnson, Peske, Kauffman, & Liu, 2001). Principals should establish regular meeting times for sucb work (Smylie & Hart, 1999). • Promote learning during evaluation. Principals can help new teachers acquire and leam to apply contentspecific pedagogical knowledge through classroom observations, post-observation conferences, and other direct consultation (Danieison & McGreal, 2000; Stein & D'Amico, 2002). Principals can also connect new teachers to external sources of professional development that address their individual challenges, such as setting consistent expectations for students or integrating assessment into instruction (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2004).

Educators Take Note

Susan Villani's book Mentoring Programs for New Teachers (2002). An older but still excellent resource is Learning the Ropes, published by Recruiting New Teachers (Fldeter & Haselkom, 1999). When developing such programs, remember that although new teachers need support, forcing them to participate in too many learning activities can adversely affect their teaching. Principals must be realistic. Sometimes the best way to strengthen induction is to allow the new teacher some discretion about which activities he or she would find most valuable. 13 References Alliance for Excellent Education. (2004). Tapping the potential: Retaining and developing hig/>quality new teachers. Washington, DC: Author. Anderson, L., & Peilicer, L (2001). Teacher

peer assistance and review: A practical guide for teachers and administrators. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Cohen, B. A. (2005). llnhancing the "learning profession ": Improving teacher retention with teacher induction. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Maryland, C^ollege Park. Danieison. C, & McGreal, T. L. (2000). Teacher evaluation to enhance professional practice. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Feiman-Nemser, S. (2001). From preparation to practice: Designing a continuum to strengthen and sustain practice. Teachers College Record, I03((>), Feiman-Nemsfr, S., & Parker, M. B. (1992). los Angeles mentors: Local guides or educational companions.^ East Lansing, MI: National Center for Research on Teacher Learning. Fideler. E., & Haselkom, D. (1999). Learning the ropes: Urban teacher induction programs and practices in the United States. Belmont, MA:

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Rccmiting New Teachers. Inc. Kardos, S. M . Johnsoti, S. M., Peske. H. G., Kauffman. D . & Liu, E. (2001), Counting on colleagues: New teachers encounter the professional cultures of their scliools. Educational Administration Quarterly. J7(2), 250-290. little, J. W. (1990). The mentor phenomenon and the social organization of teaching. In C. B. Courtney (Ed.), Review of research in education. 16 (pp. 297-335). Washington, I3C: American Educational Research Association. Lopez, A., Lash, A., Schaffner, M,, Shields, P.. & Wagner, M. (2{K)4), Revieiv of research on tbe impact oftiegitining teacher induction on teacher quality and retention. Menlo Park, CA: SRI Intemationai. Shields, P., Haslam, B,. l^Guarda. K., Lopez, A., I^sh, A.. Schaffner, M., et ai. (2(K)4). Identification and description of promising models of teacher induction. Menlo Park, C\\ SRI hitemational. Smith. T, M,, & Ingersoll, R. M. (2(M)4). Wliat arc the effects of induction and mentoring on beginning teacher turnover? American Educational Research Journal. 4/(3), 681-714. Smylie, M., & Hart, A. (1999). School leadership for teacher learning and change: A human and social capital development perspective. Inj. Murphy & K. S. Louis (Eds.). Handbook of research on educational administration (2nd ed.) (pp. 421-441). San Francisco: Jos.sey-Bass. Stein, M. K.. & D Amico. L. (2002)- Inquiry at the crossroads of polic)' and learning: A study of a district-wide literacy initiative. Teachers College Record, 104(7). 1313-1344. Villani. S. (2002). Mentoring programs for new teachers: Modeis of induction and support. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Youngs, P. (2002). State and district policy related to mentoring and new teacher induction in Connecticut. New York: National Cotnmission on Teaching and America's Future.

Andrew J. Wayne is a Senior Research Analyst at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Peter Youngs is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. Steve Fleischman, series editor of this column, is a Principal Research Scientist at AIR;

Improving Teacher Induction  

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