Dissertation Defense Announcement: Jonathan Medina

Monday, September 18, 2017 2:00pm - 5:00pm

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Ed.D. Dissertation Defense

Staying Afloat as a New Teacher: A Case Study Evaluation of a Middle School Induction Program

Committee: Dr. Angela O’Donnell (Chair), Dr. Alisa Belzer, Dr. Nora Hyland

Location: GSE Room 347

Abstract

Almost half of new teachers leave the profession or change teaching jobs in their first five years (Ingersoll & Smith, 2004).  Unfortunately, when turnover is high, students suffer because they learn from inexperienced or unqualified teachers (Sutcher, Darling-Hammond & Carver-Thomas, 2016).  However, to improve teacher quality, schools should invest in induction.  As of 2000, 80% of schools have implemented induction programs that attempt to provide support through mentoring, collaboration, and/or workshops (Ingersoll & Smith, 2004). At a suburban middle school, turnover has led to the development of an induction program with more interventions. Utilizing Situated Learning Theory, this case study sought to evaluate whether the induction program addressed the challenges first, second, and third-year teachers faced.  Data collection included transcripts from semi-structured interviews and one-legged interviews, in addition to observational write-ups, written artifacts, field notes, and survey results. The findings indicated:

•      Teachers felt supported, although they struggled to articulate how they were assisted, while administrators were more elaborate.

•      First-year teachers struggled with management, formative assessment, school procedures, and curriculum.  While they sought out mentors, curriculum teams, supervisors, and expertise from workshops, some still had difficulties with school procedures and curriculum interpretation.

•      Second-year teachers struggled with curriculum, planning for special education classes, and pressures to perform.  While they consulted with mentors and curriculum teams, they still had difficulty lesson planning.

•      Third-year teachers had fewer struggles and focused on better meeting the needs of students. 

•      Peer-observations, mentoring relationships, and evaluative feedback were perceived to be the most effective induction supports.  Other supports were also identified as effective, although teachers acknowledged areas for improvement.

After compiling the findings, recommendations included:

•      Expanding the selection criteria for mentors.

•      Providing a basic overview of school procedures during new teacher training.

•      Providing summer time for mentors and mentees to peruse the curriculum.

•      Shortening the duration between initial and follow-up workshops.

•      Creating more opportunities for peer-observations.

•      Encouraging grade-level departmental teams to develop norms.

•      Engaging in reflective dialogue as part of curriculum teamwork.

•      Establishing monthly check-ins with first-year teachers.

Overall, it is perceived that adherence to the recommendations could strengthen Communities of Practice and enhance teacher retention and development.

     

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