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First-Year Teacher Perceptions of Classroom Experiences and Teacher Induction in a Midwestern School District Cheryl Torok Fleming June, 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "First-Year Teacher Perceptions of Classroom Experiences and Teacher Induction in a Midwestern School District Cheryl Torok Fleming June, 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 First-Year Teacher Perceptions of Classroom Experiences and Teacher Induction in a Midwestern School District Cheryl Torok Fleming June, 2004

2 Purpose of the Study To discover first-year teacher perceptions of their classroom experiences during their first year in the classroom. To discover first-year teacher perceptions of the role teacher induction programs play in assisting first-year teachers to deal with the challenges of their first year in the classroom.

3 Theoretical Frameworks Phases of First-Year Teacher Development Assumptions about Adults as Learners Learner-Centered Principles Constructivism Veenman, Moir, Tetzlaff & Wagstaff Knowles American Psychological Association Bruner

4 Description of Population Practicing K-6 classroom teachers in Midwestern City School District. Completing their first year in the teaching profession following graduation from accredited colleges or universities. Professionally trained teachers, teaching in a single-grade classroom. Willing and capable of participating in the study.

5 Review of Methodology Interpretive, qualitative methodology Utilized: Semi-structured interviews Poetry written by the beginning teachers Print material directly related to the teacher induction program Field notes

6 Review of Methodology Names of participants obtained from program director Invitation letters sent: 17 of 21 participated Consent forms signed Interview protocol utilized Interviews audiotaped and transcribed Data analyzed through open coding for themes and categories Poems analyzed for themes Induction program documents reviewed

7 Review of Methodology Categories: Development of Self as Teacher Pre-service Preparation Interpersonal Relationships Actions and Tasks Associated with Teaching Induction into the Teaching Profession

8 Results 1 1. How do first-year teacher challenges and the nature of the school context affect beginning classroom experiences? Challenges: Asserting student discipline Addressing childrens social issues Lack of administrative support Insufficient resources Unfamiliarity with curriculum Uncertainty of how to fit into school culture Difficulty dealing with conflicts

9 Results 1 Positives: Supportive school culture and proactive principal. Negatives: Authoritarian pedagogy, lack of care for others, over-concern for physical plant, and veteran-oriented culture.

10 Results 2 2. How did the teacher induction program under study support first-year teachers? Need: Orientation Mentoring On-going training or staff development Both human and logistical support Observe master teachers in action Opportunity to discuss and problem-solve

11 Results 2 Concerns: Orientation too rapid, sketchy Not all first-year teachers received mentor support Meetings did not offer needed information No opportunities to visit model classrooms No opportunities to discuss or share resources No opportunities for feedback

12 Results 3 3. How would first-year teachers describe the ideal first-year teacher induction program? Include both orientation and training prior to the start of the school year Provide visits to model classrooms Support interactions with other teachers to problem- solve and share resources Assign a mentor in the same building as the new teacher Ensure administrative support for new teachers

13 Results 4 4. Which needs of adult learners were most effectively addressed by the induction program under study? Ideal: Build on past experiences Share new ideas with colleagues Quick and varied pace Safe, comfortable environment Time for reflection

14 Results 4 Real: Few opportunities to relate new experiences to past experiences Meeting topics predetermined by others Little variety in meeting format Limited opportunity for input Feelings of isolation and inadequacy remained

15 Results 5 5. Which needs of adult learners did the teacher induction program under study fail to address? Few needs of adult learners met Same pace, same training for all No opportunity to discuss or network with other new teachers No reflective component No opportunity for input or feedback Orientation only at start of school year Inconsistent communication with program directors Lack of safe, comfortable learning environment

16 Conclusions Participants in this study experienced problems which are common to first-year teachers. Participants believed they entered the profession with adequate subject area knowledge. Participants believed they lacked sufficient background in classroom management, childrens social issues, student discipline, and interpersonal skills.

17 Conclusions Participants viewed personal qualities of perseverance, flexibility, willingness to work hard, organization, and confidence, as key to success. Supportive building principal, colleagues, and school culture were viewed as keys to surviving and thriving in the first year in the classroom. Human as well as logistical support were necessary. Participants desired to network with others through study or discussion groups.

18 Conclusions Induction programs need to be well-organized and planned, based on both the needs of adult learners and those of new teachers. Include: Orientation Mentoring Training Emphasis on improving teacher skills Useful and relevant topics Opportunities for participant feedback

19 Recommendations 1. Include all three components of effective induction programs. 2. Provide new teacher study groups. 3. Supply on-going training beyond the first year. 4. Offer orientation in both August and January. 5. Facilitate visits to model classrooms. 6. Establish school-university partnerships or professional development schools.

20 Implications of the Study: Program Directors Review current research on adult learners prior to planning programs. Incorporate time for new teachers to form colleague connections. Arrange new teacher visits to model classrooms. Improve communication among new teachers, administrators, and other educators. Assign mentors in the same school as the new teachers.

21 Implications of the Study: School Administrators Support new teachers and mentors through non-threatening, open communication. Visit classrooms in a non-evaluative capacity. Establish a supportive, professional school culture. Provide time for new teacher visits to classrooms of teacher colleagues.

22 Implications of the Study: College and University Faculty Strive to increase realistic pre-service preparation opportunities. Provide early experiences with actual classrooms. Include coursework in addressing conflict, working with diverse populations, managing student discipline, and addressing state standards. Establish school-university partnerships or professional development schools.

23 Implications of the Study: First-Year Teachers Be aggressive, outgoing, and persistent in seeking a teaching position. Be organized from the start of the school year. Ask questions. Establish realistic expectations for oneself. Demonstrate self-confidence. Find ones own style. Seek opportunities to network with colleagues.

24 Recommendations for Future Research Conduct a quantitative study on this topic, using survey research. Compare induction programs of several school districts. Compare teacher induction to similar programs used in business/ industry. Study the needs of second-career and veteran teachers returning to teaching. Investigate the effectiveness of professional development schools. Replicate the current study in 5 years. Consider the relationship of pre-service college/ university size to new teacher success.

25 Cheryl Torok Fleming June, 2004

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