Title: Workforce watch
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090862/00011
 Material Information
Title: Workforce watch
Series Title: Workforce watch
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education, College of Education, University of Florida
Publisher: Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education, College of Education, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: February 2004
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Bibliographic ID: UF00090862
Volume ID: VID00011
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Retaining and Supporting First

Year Teachers

Have You Considered the Elements of Successful
Induction and Mentoring Programs?


There is a critical shortage of special
education teachers nationwide. By
the year 2005, there will be more than
200,000 special education vacancies.
Yet, recruitment strategies alone may not
solve the problem. It is estimated that at
least 40 percent of new special educa-
tors will leave the field before their fifth
year of teaching.
Lack of professional support is often cited
as the primary reason why teachers leave
the field. In addition to improving work-
ing conditions, what can school districts
do to support beginning teachers and
encourage them to stay?


New teacher induction and mentor-
ing programs can influence a first year
teacher's decision to continue teach-
ing. Such programs increase short-term
retention rates-usually into the second
year-by offering school districts a ve-
hicle for helping first year teachers deal
FEBRUARY2004 with the multitude of factors that contri-
FEBRUARY 2004
PB-11 bute to the stressful and difficult nature
_of that first year.


STUDIES IN SPECIAL
EDUCATION


Although definitions of induction pro-
grams vary, most provide systemic and
sustained psychological and instructional
assistance to beginning teachers. In
general, induction programs have been
found to increase first year retention by:


* Improving instructional effectiveness.
* Promoting satisfaction in teaching.
* Providing a way to orient new teachers
to the district and the school culture.
Certain features enhance the success of
induction programs for beginning special
education teachers. Read on to gain in-
sights from the research.

Have You Considered the
Elements of Successful Induction
Programs for Special Education
Teachers?
Having a mentor is the most frequently
cited feature associated with new special
education teacher satisfaction and suc-
cess. Other notable program features
include:
* Provide information and help with un-
derstanding special education policies
and procedures, making instructional
modifications, adapting curriculum,
and managing student behavior.
* Direct new teachers to materials and
resources within the school system.
* Assist new teachers in developing col-
laboration skills.
* Emphasize emotional support for the
complex job requirements required of


Induction and mentoring
programs may influence
a special education
teacher's decision to
remain in teaching-Have
you considered program
elements that may increase


success?









I = SPECIAL EDUCATION WORKFORCEWATC INSIGHTS FRO RESARC


special educators (e.g., men-
toring, consultation, use of
reflection journals, stress man-
agement workshops).

Effective features in general edu-
cation teacher induction pro-
grams also benefit new special
education teachers. The following
characteristics should be incorpo-
rated into special education in-
duction programs:
* Provide mentors. Mentors
who are teaching the same
grade and/or subject area are
perceived by new teachers as
more effective.
* Promote a culture of shared
responsibility and support.
Veteran teachers are com-
mitted to helping beginning
teachers improve.
* Encourage frequent interac-
tions between new and ex-
perienced teachers. Regular
interaction opportunities pro-
vide for both formal and infor-
mal exchanges.
* Acknowledge a continuum
of professional develop-
ment. Induction activities and
expectations for new teachers
take into account differences
in skill levels between novice
and veteran teachers.
* De-emphasize evaluation.
The focus in induction pro-
grams is on assistance and
support.
* Communicate clear pro-
gram goals and purposes.
New teachers understand
that induction activities are
designed to promote their
personal and professional
well being, improve student
achievement by improving
their instructional perfor-
mance, orient them to the
school culture, and encourage
them to remain in teaching.


* Address relevant issues. In
addition to emotional sup-
port, beginning teachers may
benefit from assistance in such
areas as classroom manage-
ment, instruction, stress and
workload issues, time man-
agement, and developing pos-
itive relationships.
* Provide fiscal and political
support to the program. Pro-
vide compensation to mentor
teachers in the form of finan-
cial compensation, increased
status, release time, and/or
load reduction.


Have You Considered
Strategies to Enhance the
Mentorship Component of
Induction Programs for New
Special Education Teachers?
Mentoring often is either the ma-
jor activity or sole activity of for-
mal special education teacher
induction programs. This is for
good reason-beginning special
education teachers report that
their mentor contributed signifi-
cantly to their meeting expecta-
tions for themselves and their stu-
dents, helped to build their sense
of competence and confidence in
teaching, and influenced their de-
cision to stay in teaching.

Strategies that may be used to en-
hance the mentorship component
of new special education induc-
tion programs include:

* Assign mentors who are
special educators. New
teachers tend to ask for more
help and receive more qual-
ity assistance when the mentor
has comparable job responsi-
bilities. In fact, it's often more
important to assign a men-
tor who has comparable spe-
cial education responsibilities,
even if it means going outside
of the new teacher's building.


* Provide opportunities for
frequent contact. New spe-
cial education teachers report


greater levels
of satisfaction
and success in
teaching when
they have fre-
quent mentor
contact.


* Orient men-
tors and
new spe-
cial educa-
tion teach-
ers. Prior to
beginning the


Induction and
mentoring pro-
grams are only
one strategy for
reducing attri-
tion. Challenging
work conditions
also must be ad-
dressed.


program, provide participants
with an orientation.

For More Information

Information reported in this brief
was based on the COPSSE re-
search synthesis, New Teacher
Induction in Special Education,
prepared by Cynthia C. Griffin,
Judith A. Winn, Amy Otis-Wilborn,
and Karen L. Kilgore. The docu-
ment is available on the COPSSE
web site at www.copsse.org.

.I CENTER ON
PERSONNEL
STUDIES IN SPECIAL
SE EDUCATION
About COPSSE
The Center on Personnel Studies in Spe-
cial Education is funded by the Office of
Special Education Programs of the U.S.
Department of Education [cooperative
agreement #H325Q000002]. COPSSE
research is designed to inform scholars
and policymakers about beginning teach-
er quality, effective initial preparation, and
the effects of preparation alternatives. The
Center is directed by Drs. Paul Sindelar
and Mary Brownell. The policy briefs were
produced by Warger, Eavy & Associates.
University of Florida, 300 Norman Hall,
PO. Box 117050, Gainesville, FL 32611
352-392-0701 (X283), www.copsse.org

Opinionsexpressed herein
do not necessarily reflect he
views ftheUS Department
f iar ijo of Education




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