Areas of Induction Support and Teacher Learning During the Induction Phase

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Mentoring Practices

Mentors are required to perform different functions to address the needs of beginning teachers. The Ministry of Education of Ethiopia stipulates that beginning teachers are entitled to get professional assistance and advice by a mentor selected from senior and experienced members of the teaching staff in their schools and from external supervisors (MoE, 2004). The Ministry entrusts several duties to the mentors. As stated in the CDP/Induction guideline (MoE, 2004), mentors are in charge of providing emotional/personal support and professional assistance to beginning teachers. They also have to engage in discussion and keep records on all completed professional development activities, classroom observations and meetings conducted. In addition, mentors are required to evaluate activities and assignments accomplished by beginning teachers and check the progress they make in the classroom, as per the induction modules. Finally, mentors have to submit assessment reports to school directors at the end of every semester.
Ballantyne, Hansford & Packer (1995) identify four main functions that beginning teachers expect their mentors to perform. First, beginning teachers need personal support. They need the chance of talking to a person who encounters and overcomes difficulties they face, and who shares their feelings and gives them guidance and support. Second, they require task-related assistance and advice from their mentors. Within few weeks of teaching, beginning teachers need guidance, information, suggestions, resources and actual support on ways in which school activities are done. These involve how to cover the required subject matter, evaluate and report students‟ improvement and manage different requirements. Particularly, mentors who teach the same grade level are in a suitable position to share resources, plan together, and demonstrate successful teaching actions.
The third mentoring function that beginningteachers deem valuable is problem-related assistance and advice. Beginning teachers would like to get someone to talk about problems and help them to find solutions. Within the first several weeks of teaching, they need to get support in the treatment of classroom behaviour problems. At the end of the first term, discipline problems and meeting students‟ learning needs are the main areas of concern for beginning teachers. The fourth mentoring support needed by beginning teachers is critical reflections and feedback on practice. During the second term of teaching, most beginning teachers confirmed that they develop self-confidence in accomplishing their teaching task and finding solutions to problems. In this period, participants reported two main changes in their method of teaching: first their focus changed from their own teaching to student learning and second, they developed flexibility from previously selected teaching styles due to classroom requirements. This is the right time to begin critical reflection and feedback. Some beginning teachers may become reluctant to change their teaching styles depending on classroom situations. These beginning teachers need more support from their mentors – that is, more feedback and guidance during reflection in order to enable them to be watchful of the situations and decide on a style that satisfies the particular classroom situation. Most of functions of mentors stated by the MoE (2004) and Ballantyne, Hansford, & Packer (1995) are generally similar. However, the functions identified by Ballantyne, Hansford, & Packer (1995) are well stated and inclusive and hence more credible to refer to in this investigation. As discussed earlier, there are various ways in which the mentoring system could address these needs, such as by providing personal/emotional support, social support and professional support.
In the Ethiopian context, one of the ways in which the mentor‟s assistance is given is through a portfolio guide. According to the CPD/Induction guidelines (MOE, 2004), the portfolio is supposed to contain testimony of professional learning activities done by beginning teachers such as action researches, sample lessons, and feedbacks on classroom observation. The mentor needs to guide the beginning teacher to organize the portfolio in such a manner that it covers essential components. Each element that should be included in the portfolio needs to be properly worked out and the mentor has to influence the process and finally has to witness that the work of the beginning teacher meets the requirement. The guidelines also suggest that the mentor-beginning teacher conversation should also be used as another essential tool for mentoring support. The mentor and the beginning teacher are expected to meet regularly: before beginning a professional development activity of the week, while the work is in progress and when it is completed for reflection and exchange of feedback. In the same way, the mentoring support is also provided through classroom observation and feedback. The mentor and beginning teacher are expected to meet before and after the classroom observation. Researches on effective mentoring suggest a need to shift focus towards instructional mentoring (Alliance for Excellent Education 2004; Gless, 2012), or what is also called educative mentoring (Feiman-Nemser, 2008).

Classroom Observation

Classroom observation is another important component of a comprehensive induction programme (Wong, 2005). One of the rationale for endorsing induction support is that beginning teachers often lack the practical knowledge and experience of teaching (Feiman-Nemser 2001; Langdon et al., 2012) and they need to get the chance to learn from good teaching practices of experienced teachers (Wong, 2005). The best way to fill this gap, according to these researchers, is to set opportunities for beginning teachers to host classroom observations, to observe experienced teachers‟ classrooms, to participate in lesson preparation, model teaching, reflection, and evaluation of students‟ work. In the Ethiopian context, the CPD/induction guideline incorporates classroom observation as one component of induction. The beginning teacher is required to host two classroom observations every semester (MoE, 2004).

Reflective Practice in Teachers

‟ Professional Growth In the last two decades, reflection has been accepted and has become the main area of discussion and practice in teacher education (Loughran, 2006). It is advanced in many ways as being helpful to prospective teachers to review and, as necessary to change prior experiences, beliefs, knowledge and to form their identities and practices as teachers. Reflective practice is based on the assumption that the individual is impartial, cognizant of him/herself and able to make logical analysis. Based on this assumption reflection is viewed as an instrument that can be acquired and used in a variety of situations (Rovengo, 2006). Consequently reflective practice is given high importance to promote teacher professional development (Golby & Viant, 2007). Critical reflection, and participatory inquisition in particular, are more useful for the improvement of the beginning teachers‟ effectiveness, inspiration, teaching morale and gratification than mere transmission (Ritcher, Kunter, Ludtke, Klusmann, Andrs and Baumkert, 2011). Penso, Shoham and Shiloah (2001) also argue that reflective practice is a vital part of effective teaching and training. Hence, beginning teachers should regularly check their practices of teaching and the different parts of their training and engage in critical self-study to improve their work and profession. In the Ethiopian case, reflection is accepted as a tool for implementing the teacher education reforms in general, and the induction course in particular. Reflection is embedded in the school-based study. The induction modules contain several reflection questions that every beginning teacher is required to reflect on.

1.1 Background of the Study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Objectives of the Study
1.5 Significance of the Study
1.6 Research Design and Overview
1.7 Scope of the Research
1.8 Definition of Key Terms and Abbreviations
1.9 Organization of the Thesis
2.1 Teacher Education and the Role Induction in Teachers’ Professional Development
2.2 Professional Growth of Beginning Teachers
2.3 Beginning Teacher Induction
2.3.1 Importance of Beginning Teachers
2.3.2 Essential Components of Quality Induction Programme
2.3.3 Areas of Induction Support and Teacher Learning During the Induction Phase
2.3.4 Basic Models of Induction Programmes Basic Orientation Model Beginning Teacher Development Model Transformative Induction Model
2.3.5 Teacher Induction Practices Orientation Seminar and On- the- Jo Training Mentoring Practices Classroom Observation Reflective Practice in Teachers’ Professional Growth Learning Portfolio Action Research as a Means to Promote Professional Growth of Teachers’ Networking
2.3.6 Constraints on Teacher Mentoring and Induction
4 Theoretical Framework
3.1 Research Approach
3.2 Site and Case selection
3.3 Data Collection Techniques and Strategies for Data Analysis…
3.4 Reliability and Validity of the Research
3.5 Ethical Considerations
4.1 Assessment of the Induction Course’s Structure
4.2 Implementation of Beginning Teachers Induction
5.1 Implementation of Beginning Teacher Induction

Teacher induction and the continuing professional development of teachers in Ethiopia: Case studies of three first-year primary school teachers

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