The focus of this paper is to provide an analysis into the key research in the area of new teacher induction.
Section one outlines why school sectors and leaders should invest in induction for new teachers. In any organisation, it is difficult to smoothly and effectively bring new employees in. But for schools this challenge is heightened by the unique position of new teachers: unlike the graduates of other professions, new teachers are required from day one to assume the full responsibility of their role. Australian education systems and schools that are committed to lifting teacher quality need to consider the role of induction in helping to bring in new teachers, focusing on three key areas: 1. Engaging high potential teachers. 2. Building a professional performance and development culture. 3. Moving beyond the ‘sink or swim’ mentality for new teachers.
In section two we discuss induction in the education context, focusing on its role as a formal program for beginning teaching, a phase in the teacher lifecycle as well as a process of socialisation. We also consider what the existing literature tells us about the elements of an effective induction program. While there is no universal best practice, there are key themes which emerge from the literature.
Section three considers the current state of induction practice in Australian schools. While there is limited data available on the effectiveness of existing efforts, it is clear that a lot is already being done.
Section four looks to the future and considers where to from here for Australian schools. School leaders do not need to search for new solutions, however they do need to consider how to implement the existing knowledge base in the context of their own schools. We look at the key lessons from successful school systems internationally, which reveal that:
- They see induction as one contributing part in a holistic approach to education designed to improve student outcomes.
- They establish teaching as public practice, rather than private practice as a critical enabler.
- They invest time and resources in induction.
Finally, section five recognises that in seeking to implement change, it is culture, leadership and clarity that are the keys to success.