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ERIC Identifier: ED269406
Publication Date: 1986-00-00
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education Washington DC.

Current Developments in Teacher Induction Programs. ERIC Digest No. 5.

The evolution of induction programs began twenty years ago as schools began to explore schemes to help the beginning teacher enter the teaching profession. The literature cites studies of beginning teachers' problems in every area of teaching from instructional techniques to classroom management. Veenman's (1984) literature survey focuses on the problems as perceived by beginning teachers and the behavioral changes which teachers undergo as they react to those perceptions. His characterizations of beginning teachers are drawn from the education literature in Great Britain, Australia, and the United States. Veenman provides extensive international references which describe attempts to assist beginning teachers through induction programs containing common objectives and procedures.

Authors have debated different ways to smooth out the induction of new teachers into school systems: extending preservice to five years, introducing internships, and establishing induction programs for the first one-to-three years of teaching are the three ways most often mentioned. Since 1980, many state legislatures have mandated induction programs such as "Entry Year Assistance Program," "Beginning Teacher Helping Program," "Assistance /Assessment," and "Teacher Mentor Program." A few states have gone so far as to specify program content and to design the delivery system. Most programs have been established so recently that effectiveness studies are not yet available.


A few years ago education professionals referred to the first three years of teaching as "induction." BITING THE APPLE by Kevin Ryan and others, is one book among many depicting the plight of beginning teachers left to flounder in isolation as they attempt to deal with their first year of full teaching responsibilities. Today, "induction" implies a planned, organized orientation procedure.

Formal induction programs provide continuity between the closely supervised preservice experience and the assumption of full classroom responsibilities (Hall 1982; Griffin 1985). Inexperience accounts for most of a new teacher's problems. Student teachers have not survived a series of instructional failures, experienced class boredom (or their own), discovered a wall of class learning resistance, or felt the isolated entrapment of teaching "forever." Student teachers do not typically experience the nonteaching demands of meetings, paperwork, supervision of extracurricular activities, and student/parent conferences. McDonald and others (1980-83) assert that a new teacher worries about being "in charge" of a class, losing control of the class, over- and underestimating students, and evaluation.

From the school administration's viewpoint, induction programs socialize the beginning teacher (Schlechty 1985; Galvez-Hjornevik 1985). Schlechty (1985) defines induction as the implantation of school standards and norms so deeply within the teacher that the teacher's conduct completely and spontaneously reflects those norms. School administrators are also intent upon recruiting and retaining high quality teachers. Thus the induction period is used to assess new recruits' strengths and weaknesses and to bring their performances up to school standards.

The teaching profession regards induction as the first step in staff development, as a link between student teacher and professional, and as the cable of communication between state agencies and school districts, between public policy makers and teachers' organizations (Hall 1982). Huling-Austin (1985) succinctly states the highest goal obtainable by most induction programs: "To provide the support and assistance necessary for the successful development of beginning teachers who enter the profession with the background, ability, and personal characteristics to become acceptable teachers."


In 1979, Educational Testing Service funded a survey of the history and evaluation of induction programs (McDonald and others 1980-83). Many types of teacher orientation programs are listed in this report along with reasons for their establishment. Galvez-Hjornevik (1985) lists eleven programs for beginning teachers established between 1968 and 1978. Andrew (1981) describes a New Hampshire induction program which is unique because it does not collaborate with institutions of higher education, yet provides a teacher's sole route to recertification. Moreover, it is neither federally nor state funded. Defino and Hoffman (l984) document special purpose induction programs (eg. for rural teachers) in Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, Vermont, West Virginia, Washington and Alaska. Varah and others (1986) provides an extensive survey of teacher induction literature and reports on one of the longest running induction programs, the Teacher Induction Experience, implemented in 1974 by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Since 1980 the state legislatures of Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Arizona, Oregon, and North Carolina have mandated the establishment of programs for beginning teachers. Defino and Hoffman (1984) describe these and other current projects in Nevada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. Galvez-Hjornevik (1985) and others have recorded a wide variety of new programs. Among the more frequently examined in the literature are the California Mentor Teacher Program (California Department of Education 1983), the Oklahoma Entry Year Assistance Program (Elsner 1985), the multiple induction programs studied by researchers from the Research and Development Center for Teacher Education (R&DCTE) at the University of Texas in Austin (Griffin 1985; Huling-Austin 1985) and the Career Development Program of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina (Schlechty 1985). So many induction programs are presently being developed that the November 1985 issue of EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP and the January-February 1986 issue of the JOURNAL OF TEACHER EDUCATION are devoted to induction issues. Additionally, the Association of Teacher Educators' Commission on the Induction Process in conjunction with the R&DCTE has produced a national directory of induction programs.


Other than the subjective feedback of induction program participant surveys, there have been few studies published containing "hard data" (Griffin 1985). Professionals saw induction programs as a way to mature teachers faster, to retain teachers by acquainting them with the system, and to avoid the type of frustration which invites good teachers to give up teaching. Such objectives take time to realize and additional time to develop measuring devices (Elsner 1984).

Reports of studies conducted by R&DCTE of induction programs have recently been released. Griffin (1985) cites some observations that induction program developers would do well to note. Current induction programs have shown great potential to alter the behavior of beginning teachers. Inductees, as new employees in any profession, have shown a willingness to adjust to their new surroundings even when the behavior runs contrary to theory and practice taught in teacher preparation programs.


The abundance of different types of induction programs has increased the demand for a comparative examination of programs. Griffin (1985) observes the need to explore the influence of legislated demands on program content and delivery systems. He suggests that mandated program objectives should be examined to measure their consistency with actual implementation of induction programs. Huling-Austin cautions that mandated induction programs often limit their scope of effectiveness to the minimum standards as legislated. This tendency argues further for careful examination of program intent, content, and consequent results.

The most apparent product of the massive implementation of induction programs, thus far, has been the overwhelming demand for research on common program concerns: assessment, evaluation, specification of induction contents, and the definition of program objectives.


Andrew, M. D. "Statewide Inservice without College and Universities: New Hampshire's Quiet Move toward Teachers' Control." JOURNAL OF TEACHER EDUCATION 32(1) January-February 1981: 24-28.

California State Department of Education. "California Mentor Teacher Program. Program Advisory." Sacramento, CA: Califonia State Department of Education, 1983. ED 241 473.

Defino, M. E. and J. V. Hoffman. "A Status Report and Content Analysis of State Mandated Teacher Induction Programs." Report #9057. 1984. ED 251 438.

Elsner, K. "First Year Evaluation Results from Oklahoma's Entry-Year Assistance Program." Paper presented at annual meeting of the Association of Teacher Educators. 1984. ED 242 706.

Galvez=Hjornevik, C. "Teacher Mentors: A Review of the Literature." Research and Development Center for Teacher


The intent of all induction programs is to transform a student teacher graduate into a competent career teacher. Schlechty (1985) suggests that signs of effective induction programs can be observed in the attitudes and behaviors of the faculty and administration: support of school norms and the general conformity of teacher performance to those norms. He presents a framework for evaluation of induction programs which can be translated into a checklist of eight program qualities. His framework is intended to apply to induction programs of vastly differing content and delivery structures. Four program characteristics show the influence of other professions:

1. The program explains to the inductees that the process of their selection is based on special requirements and that induction training is crucial to their future success.

2. The induction process is divided into progressive stages of achievement.

3. The program cultivates mutual support within peer groups.

4. The training is oriented toward long-term career goals.

The remaining characteristics apply directly to the needs of beginning teachers:

5. Administratively-set expectations and norms of teacher conduct are clearly articulated and disseminated.

6. Teachers must assimilate a professional vocabulary.

7. New teachers receive supervision, coaching, demonstration, and assessment.

8. The responsibility for supervision should be distributed throughout the faculty in a tightly organized, consistent, and continuous program.

Foster (1982) and Griffin (1985) emphasize the importance of specifying program objectives in behavioral terminology and the necessity for continuous feedback among program participants. Griffin further cautions program developers on the inappropriate use of research results as definitions for expected teacher behavior. Program objectives should be concretely stated expectations of teacher behavior which reflect specific school standards.

Several references point out that induction programs should contain three information sources: the community, the school, and the teaching profession. All must be introduced to the beginning teacher, with emphasis on teaching as an area of life-long learning (Hall, 1982). Special needs programs (e.g., those which introduce the new teacher into a rural or urban environment with which the teacher has had no previous experience) most often use this approach (Defino and Hoffman, 1984).


There is no shortage of proposals for program content (Griffin and Hukill, 1983; Galvez-Hjornevik, 1985; Zimpher, 1985). Topics of importance are usually taken from surveys of senior teachers and administrators who are experienced in the evaluation of shortcomings of first-year teachers. To vastly varying degrees, all programs contain elements of faculty and facility introduction, classroom management, student discipline, and professional obligations. A new teacher needs to be exposed to a variety of teaching techniques and evaluation processes. Some programs equally instruct and assess the beginning teacher; others emphasize assistance to the teacher rather than using the program as an indicator of the beginner's competency. Crucial problems arise when evaluation is mistaken for assessment and induction programs are used as wash-out programs. Schlechty (1985) emphasizes that new hirees in any field are hired with the expectation that they will "survive" the induction process and start on their way to full-term careers.


The development and implementation of a wide variety of induction programs is well-documented, including descriptions of their delivery systems. Like the terms "induction" and "internship," many elements and intents of teacher induction programs are borrowed from other professions. Business and medicine are the most common (Galvez-Hjornevik, 1985; Schlechty and others, 1984). Some are based on academic induction, such as formal seminars and informal workshops on the system and what is expected of the beginning teacher. Teacher induction started from the introductory lecture and, in some school systems, has evolved into sophisticated multipurpose programs. The following are brief descriptions of some of the most prevalent induction program components.

Internship Status. Beginning teachers enter as teaching interns, often at reduced salary. The intern combines full teaching responsibility (albeit at reduced class loads) with academic studies. These programs may lead to a master's degree, an advanced level of certification, a high rung on a career ladder or a fully qualified teaching certificate after one to three years of program participation (Defino and Hoffman, 1984).

The Mentor. Beginning teachers are assigned to a senior teacher in their area. The senior teacher supplies information, and oversees the daily maturation of the beginner's teaching and classroom management skills. Continuous helping contact between the beginner and the senior teacher (theoretically) provides the support and problem-solving resources for expedient teacher development.

The Committee. Beginning teachers are each assigned to an induction committee. The committee is a professional development team designed to supervise, provide information to and train the beginning teacher in school-approved classroom techniques and procedures. The committee usually consists of the school principal, a consultant on curriculum and instruction, and a peer teacher, the latter often as a mentor. The administrators are responsible for instruction, assessment, and evaluation; the peer teacher provides daily guidance and program continuity. Often the duties of the peer teacher include evaluation as well as helping the new teacher adjust to the professional environment (Defino and Hoffman, 1984; Schlechty and others, 1984).

The Committee, Plus or Minus. In some programs the induction committee serves not one inductee but many. In other programs the committee is supported by a separate group of trained evaluators, which removes the onus of evaluation from the committee/inductee relationship (California State Department of Education, 1983; Galvez-Hjornevik, 1985). Other forms of the committee include department-based team teaching and interdepartmental teacher coaching. These programs of teachers-helping-teachers are not restricted to benefiting beginners but are also applicable to developing the skills of experienced teachers.

Orientation Seminars. The seminar is used to instruct inductees on subjects that the administration deems important, issues that peer teachers have found essential or helpful, and concerns expressed by the participating inductees. It is almost never the sole component of an induction program. More sophisticated programs address each group's concerns directly by providing separate seminars for inductees, peer teachers, school administrators and consultants. (Foster, 1982; Galvez-Hjornevik, 1985).

Experts' opinions of what ought to constitute an induction program are based on existing programs in nonteaching professions and proposed programs which address documented areas of beginning teachers' needs. Not all induction concerns of other professions transfer to the education profession. Not all proposed solutions will work. Future analysis of programs in existence will reveal what induction formats work and which need to be replaced with other techniques.

The above components are hardly a complete listing of possible induction approaches, nor have all combinations of these formats been tried in existing programs. In spite of twenty years of professional concern with the initiation of new teachers into their working environments, much more work needs to be done in developing good programs, and many schools have yet to implement any teacher induction program beyond the pre-Labor Day welcoming speech.


California State Department of Education. CALIFORNIA MENTOR TEACHER PROGRAM. PROGRAM ADVISORY. Sacramento, CA: California State Department of Education, 1983. ED 241 473.



Foster, H. L. PREVENTING STRESS AND BURNOUT--A PROJECT THAT WORKED: THE NEW TEACHER AND TEACHER AIDE PROJECT. Institute on Classroom Management and School Discipline, 1982. ED 223 544.

Galvez-Hjornevik, C. TEACHER MENTORS: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE. Austin, Texas: Research and Development Center for Teacher Education, 1985. SP 026-844 (NB. Most of this material appears in JOURNAL OF TEACHER EDUCATION 37(1) (Jan-Feb 1986):6-11.

Griffin, G. A. and H. Hukill, eds. "First Years of Teaching: What are the Pertinent Issues?" Report #9051. Austin, TX: Conference Proceedings, Research and Development Center for Teacher Education, 1983. ED 240 109.

Griffin, G. A. "Teacher Induction: Research Issues." JOURNAL OF TEACHER EDUCATION 36(1) 1985:42-46.

Hall, G. E. "Induction: The Missing Link." JOURNAL OF TEACHER EDUCATION 33(3) (May-June 1982):53-55.

Schlechty, P., and others. "The Charlotte-Mechlenburg Teacher Career Development Program." EDUCATION LEADERSHIP 42(4) (Dec.l984- Jan. 1985):4-8.

Schlechty, P. "A Framework for Evaluating Introduction into Teaching." JOURNAL OF TEACHER EDUCATION (36)1 (Jan.-Feb. l985): 37-41.

TEACHER MENTORING. ERIC DIGEST. Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education, 1986.

Zimpher, N. L. THE FRANKLIN COUNTY/OSU INDUCTION PROJECT. Columbus, Ohio: Department of Educational Policy and Leadership, The Ohio State University, 1985.


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