Perceived effectiveness of induction practices by beginning teachers in public school districts in the greater Houston area
The central problem of this study, posed as a question, was as follows: Which induction practices, from among a range of those currently being implemented, are perceived by beginning teachers to be of greatest help during the first year of teaching, taking into consideration a) perceptions of those having had experience with a practice and those who have not had experience with it, b) perceptions of those of different age groups, c) perceptions of those familiar with the school setting and those unfamiliar with the school setting, and d) perceptions related to the evaluative role of the resource person? Fifteen induction practices were identified through a) a literature search and b) a national survey of 72 school districts. A questionnaire, designed to obtain ratings and rankings of these practices, and demographic data of age and familiarity of setting, was completed by 289 beginning teachers in public school districts of the greater Houston area. Thirty volunteer respondents were interviewed personally. Induction practices, among the 15 considered, perceived as most helpful by mean rating and/or median ranking were: -Opportunities to share teaching problems with a friend among the faculty. -Ready access to discussing teaching problems with a non-evaluating facilitator. -Having an experienced teacher asssigned as a "buddy." -Ready access to discussing teaching problems with a knowledgeable educator outside the school setting and not associated with the college where preservice training took place. -Meetings in the district before the first day of school. Beginning teachers who had experienced the practices rated 8 of 15 higher than those who had not experienced them, but 2 practices (both involving formal meetings) were rated lower by those who had experienced them. Younger teachers rated meetings at the college prior to school more helpful than older beginning teachers. Those unfamiliar with the setting rated conferences with non-evaluating facilitators before school more helpful than those familiar with the setting. Based on the findings, beginning teachers perceive a need for 1) relationships with knowledgeable, non-judgmental educators in their environment, 2) availability of a wide range of practices, 3) more relevant contents of induction meetings, 4) early awareness of expectations of evaluating supervisors, 5) ongoing ready access to a non-evaluating facilitator whose specific work is to support them through the challenges of the first year. There was, in addition, evidence of support for the role of faculty of the preservice training institution as part of a consortium offering induction assistance to the beginning teacher.