Conceptualizing induction through professional development activities
Bickmore, Steven Tueller
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This dissertation is a case study of one novice teacher s induction into the teaching profession. It discusses the high attrition rate of novice teachers over the last twenty-five years despite the increased educational research focus on mentoring during the same period. The literature review focuses on methods of retention beyond mentoring. The results suggest that a bundling of supports including professional development, orientation, and observing other teachers would be a more effective approach to retention than mentoring alone. Shelly, the novice teacher participated in a professional development program during her first two years of teaching. The professional development program supplemented the mentoring and other induction activities provide by Shelly s school. The case study analysis looked at the artifacts from three professional development program activities, concept maps, think pieces, and interviews. Using these artifacts, Shelly discussed her conceptualization of the induction process. She also used these artifacts as a source of conversation about teaching and induction with other teachers in the professional development collaborative. The analysis discovered that during her first two years of teaching Shelly explored three teacherly spaces, her classroom, the wider school community, and the professional develop group. During the first year Shelly focused inward on familiar influences and support as she learned to teach in her classroom. As a result, the space and colleagues of the professional development group were more important than the wider school community in her first year. It was only in the second year of her induction, as she became more confident in her abilities that she turned her attention outward to the support provided by the wider school community. The implications suggest that multifaceted support both within the school community and from other educators outside of the novice s school might provide support that would produce higher levels of retention. Another implication is to study second year teachers to find out why they stay in the profession and how they felt supported during their induction. Why teachers leave is well documented. We need more documentation on the reasons novice teachers give for staying.