Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Student Well-Being

Commission Urges Comprehensive Induction Programs for Teachers

By Joetta L. Sack — March 28, 2008 3 min read

The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future is calling on states, districts, and higher education institutions to offer formal teacher-induction programs that last for years and offer more than just individual mentoring.

The Washington-based group studied such systems in several foreign countries and across the United States. Its findings were released here in a policy paper this month.

Not only does the induction period need to be longer—up to three years—but in most cases the purpose of induction needs to be more clearly defined, said Tom Carroll, the president of the private commission formed in 1994. The organization wants to see more comprehensive programs that bring new teachers into the field, in addition to helping them work in their classrooms.

CarrollT

“We’re trying to change people’s perception of what induction should be about,” Mr. Carroll said. Ideally, in the commission’s view, induction would include mentoring of individual teachers as part of a package of services. “We can’t just say ‘mentoring,’ because that means too many things to people,” he added.

More than half of new teachers receive mentoring or coaching to some extent, but only about 1 percent undergo a comprehensive induction program, according to Mr. Carroll. The policy paper defines induction as “both a phase—a set period of time—and a network of relationships and supports with well-defined roles, activities, and outcomes.”

Good induction systems, the paper says, should include such elements as opportunities to observe and be observed by other teachers, common planning time to work with colleagues and share lessons, participation in an external network of teachers, and giving teachers enough time to focus on their induction.

A Model System

Induction is one way of training teachers to become more effective and engaged in their jobs, and keeping them in the classroom— top priorities for the commission.

At a seminar the group held here Aug. 15-16 to follow up on last year’s Summit on High-Quality Teacher Preparation, a range of strategies was discussed for ensuring that teachers are well qualified, including the use of comprehensive induction programs. A second meeting is planned for this fall.

Richard W. Riley, the U.S. secretary of education during the Clinton administration, called on universities to improve their colleges of educations, and to better train their graduates to build partnerships within schools and within communities.

“Induction Into Learning Communities” is available from the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.

“That support starts with new teacher-induction programs,” said Mr. Riley, a co-chairman of the teaching commission.

Although comprehensive induction systems are common in several other countries, including New Zealand, Japan, and France, they have only recently gained widespread popularity in America.

The New Teacher Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has designed a two-year model teacher-induction program that includes an on-site adviser, assessments to foster a teacher’s goals, and professional development that includes interaction among teachers.

Ellen Moir, the center’s executive director, said the model has not only dramatically improved teacher retention, but also the quality of those novice teachers.

“Teacher retention is important, but accelerating teacher development, helping them become outstanding teachers, and improving student learning is what we’re really aiming for,” she said.

About 40 percent to 50 percent of new teachers receive no induction, a statistic the commission also wants to change. “They’re handed the keys to their rooms, and people wish them a good year,” Mr. Carroll said.

In contrast, he added, 80 percent to 90 percent of teachers who go through high-caliber induction programs stay in the field for five years or more. One prominent researcher estimates that at least 40 percent of new teachers leave before that mark.

Ms. Moir said she thinks induction is still only a part of a larger scaffold for building a good school. Her group, she said, is also working with administrators to produce more dynamic leadership that entices teachers to stay.

“We know that, even with a very outstanding comprehensive induction program,” Ms. Moir said, “a new teacher won’t stay at a school at the end of their induction unless it’s a thriving practice.”

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
The 4 Biggest Challenges of MTSS During Remote Learning: How Districts Are Adapting
Leaders share ways they have overcome the biggest obstacles of adapting a MTSS or RTI framework in a hybrid or remote learning environment.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Superintendent, Dublin Unified School District
Dublin, California (US)
Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates
Superintendent, Dublin Unified School District
Dublin, California (US)
Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates
ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT, HUMAN RESOURCES
Larkspur, California
Tamalpais Union High School District
Special Education Teachers
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13

Read Next

Student Well-Being Children and COVID-19 Vaccinations: What to Know
As states roll out vaccination plans, teachers may be near the front of the line. But vaccines for most kids are months away.
4 min read
Houston Health Department LVN Alicia Meza prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 3, 2021, at a Houston Health Department's COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Houston.
A nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month at a clinic run by the Houston Health Department.
Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle via AP
Student Well-Being Opinion Student 'Compliance Does Not Equal Engagement'
Four educators share suggestions for how schools can maintain student engagement, especially during the teenage years.
15 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Student Well-Being Opinion How to Cultivate Confidence in Students
Help students calibrate their learning to be just-hard-enough—because experiencing a series of small wins can be transformative.
3 min read
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Whitepaper
Building a Trauma-Informed Learning Environment
Download this white paper to learn how to recognize trauma and gain strategies for helping students cope and engage in learning.
Content provided by n2y