Induction of New Teachers into the Teaching Profession: Research Summary
Name of Organisation/service provider: Centre for Development Enterprise (CDE)
Name of Project / Intervention: Research on Induction of New Teachers into the Teaching Profession
Duration of Project: January 2015 - October 2015
Province, area: National
This document summarises the key findings of a research study undertaken by the Centre for Development Enterprise to explore a range of teacher induction models that could be tested and implemented in the South African context.
The research was conceptualised by the CDE with the input of the Department of Basic Education (DBE), the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the Zenex Foundation.
The DBE and DHET acknowledge the importance of providing induction for its teachers. They argue that an induction programme can offer invaluable support at this first crucial stage of a teacher’s career.
CDE used a variety of research methods to investigate teacher induction. These included:
- Literature review: Both local and international literature was reviewed to establish the range of models and lessons for effective implementation.
- Stakeholder engagement: This involved conducting interviews with key stakeholders to establish their views about induction, specifically the role of induction and the possible models that could work in the country.
- Costing model: Following the literature review and discussions with the stakeholders, two models were costed based on their viability (based on the view of stakeholders) in the South African context.
International Literature Review
While there are varying definitions of induction, this report defines it as a medium term process of not less than a year and involves a formal programme of professional support to make sure that a new teacher is able to establish the necessary competence to become a professional educator and operate effectively in the school and classroom.
It typically involves mentorship to provide professional direction and assistance, as well as emotional support. It can include networked learning opportunities, action research and exposure of the teacher to new learning opportunities and educational thinking through individuals, peer groups, seminars and conferences.
The literature suggests that investing in induction of NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) is a cost-effective way of keeping them in the profession after the high cost of initial teacher education (ITE) and ensuring that they reach the peak of their performance as quickly as possible.
The literature identifies three broadly different approaches to teacher induction. These can be typified as:
- A ‘Western’ professional model where the individual teacher takes up his or her first teaching post after graduating and is supported one-on-one by a trained mentor in order to gain specific professional skills, including those of classroom management, teaching techniques, assessment modalities and administrative compliance.
- An ‘Eastern’ school community model where the new teacher is inducted into teaching through communities of practice in the school and the local community served by the school. As with the ‘Western’ model, there is focus on mentorship and lesson observations, but these are more community activities rather than individual ones.
- An ‘ad hoc’ approach, which is typically the default position in African countries and other developing nations. It consists of multiple modes of orientation and induction borrowed from the Western and Eastern approaches. Very few African countries have policies and for the few that do have policies that refer to induction, there is little evidence of teacher induction in the majority of under-resourced and dysfunctional schools.
The literature suggests that the best results are achieved in countries where induction involves a purposeful, structured approach which is context specific and combines the intensive mentorship of the Western approach with sense of school community and collective responsibility from the Eastern approach. This approach is evident in Canada, Australia and Germany.
South African literature review
The research indicated that there is little published and documented work on induction in the country.
Despite the prioritisation in DBE and DHET policy documents and the proposal by the South African Council of Educators (SACE) to make induction mandatory, there are a few orientation programmes and only one induction programme in the country. None of these programmes have been implemented on a large scale and none of them have been evaluated.
In addition, the capacity to implement induction remains a challenge at a number of levels. Firstly, the cost to implement an induction programme is extremely high. Secondly, SACE’s administrative capability to monitor and manage this process is weak. Thirdly, there is a lack of capacity and skills to train and implement induction across the sector. This includes lack of capability to monitor and manage this process and availability of mentors at school and district level.
An Induction initiative for new Teachers
The study found that the only active induction programme in the country is called the Joint Mentoring Project which is being implemented in the Western Cape. The project involves supporting a group of 30 NQTs over a two-year cycle.
Although the project has not been independently evaluated, the project does use a number of tools to monitor the project. This includes attendance registers, classroom observation schedules and reflection discussions with the teachers. PSP has indicated that the teachers they support rarely drop out of teaching in their first few years, and are more confident and competent than those that are not on the programme.
This involved conducting of interviews with 18 education stakeholders from 16 organisations.
The following are key findings from the stakeholder engagement process:
- There was widespread agreement amongst stakeholders that induction should serve to bridge the gap between university-based teacher education and the realities of teaching.
- There was strong agreement that mentorship should represent a core feature of an induction programme.
- The selection process of mentors was viewed as being crucial to the effective implementation of any induction programme. There is widespread acknowledgment that facilitators and mentors must have the relevant expertise and experience to support new teachers.
- There was agreement that an induction programme should be at least one year long.
- After deliberation, it was agreed that teacher induction be offered as a post-degree programme.
- After deliberation it was agreed that teachers must be given provisional registration with SACE until they successfully complete induction.
Two models for induction in SA
Following the literature review and stakeholder engagement process, two models were identified and costed for implementation in South Africa: a less intensive centralised model and a more comprehensive school-based model. The induction period for both models was assumed to be one year long.
Model A: Centre-based model
- A NQT will be allocated to a facilitator through a national or provincial system organised centrally by a dedicated DBE directorate or institute working with a provincial department.
- The facilitator, based at District Teacher Development Centres (DTDCs), education district offices or other accessible nodes, would be trained by universities or other registered institutions using audited programmes delivering a nationally accredited course.
- NQTs would be trained at a central location, four times a year, during vacations using national training modules supported by technology.
- Teachers would be assigned temporary or provisional SACE registration following successful completion of their ITE degree at a university. At the end of the one year induction period, the teacher would be assessed for registration against professionally developed practice standards by SACE or an authorised quality assurance agency once facilitators believe that they are ready.
Model B: School-based model
- Each NQT will receive training from a centralised location 4 times per year.
- Each NQT is allocated a school-based mentor.
- The school-based mentor will be trained and certified by universities or other registered institutions.
- School-based mentors would have a reduced workload in recognition of this service.
- The school-based mentors could call on support from the trained centre-based facilitators, who would be based at designated centres.
- Teachers would be assigned temporary or provisional SACE registration following successful completion of their ITE degree at a university. At the end of the one year induction period, the teacher would be assessed for registration against professionally developed practice standards by SACE or an authorised quality assurance agency once mentors believe that they are ready.
The centre-based induction approach is more cost-effective than the school-based model. The former does not require capacity at school-level and instead requires more national, provincial and district-level management and capacity. The school-based approach has significant challenges with respect to implementation, firstly because of the lack of capacity at school level and secondly because of the challenge of implementing a teacher substitute system that varies from school to school.
The researchers believe that the most viable option with the resource and capacity constraints is the centre-based model. It is hoped that over time the capacity within the system and in service providers to provide effective induction to teachers will grow in the country.