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1 FROM A DISTANCE: SUPPORTING BEGIN NING ALTERNATIVELY CERTIFIED URBAN TEACHERS VIA EMENTORING B y LISA K. LANGLEY A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008
2 2008 Lisa K. Langley
3 In memory of Wright Langley and in honor of Joan Knowles Langley Thank you for instilling in me a love of books and words an appreciation for ones history, and for teaching me the true meaning of unconditional love. I couldnt have asked for better parents.
4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Getting to this point in ones academic and professional life is onl y possible with the support and encouragement of a multitude of people. This is my humble attempt at thanking them all for everything they have done to get me to this moment. I am indebted to my committee chair Dr. Diane Yendol Hoppey and my committee mem bers Drs. Mary Brownell James McLeskey and Nancy Dana Thei r knowledge, passion, and dedication in the fields of special education and teacher education are awe inspiring. Not only have I stood on the shoulder s of giants these past several years, they welcomed me to s it amongst them I cant thank them enough for their support, for their words of wisdom, for making me think beyond what I thought was possible, and for allowing me to be a part of something so much bigger than I ever dreamt was possible. M y life would not be what it is today without the friendships of so many both old ones and new. I would not be the educator that I am today without the friendships of the f aculty, staff and students of Gerald Adams Elementary 19922002. Alyson Adams was pivotal in starting this journey. Had it not been for her initial invitation, I would not be here now. Anne Bishop, my boss at COPSSE who was more like a friend and always knew what to say to keep me going. There arent enough words to express my thanks to Michell York Vicki Tucker and Shaira RivasOtero for all they have done for me and other doctoral students over the years. I am extremely grateful to the eight beginning teachers who volunteered to venture into the unknown and who made this study possible. Katie T ricarico filled the monthly trips to and from Jacksonville with many laughs and great conversation. The COPSSE crew Charlotte Mundy, Suzi Long, Melinda Leko Laura King, Mary Theresa Kiely, Meg Kamman and Jen nifer Heretick kept me lau ghing and sane w hen I felt the exact opposite. Sunny Seo, Dimple Flesner, Aesha Malik, John Sprague, Michelle Jacques, Pam Williamson, Julie King, Laverne
5 Smith Tyran Butler, Brian Trutschel, and Melinda McCoy were my ch eerleaders both here and afar. Th eir phone calls emails, and visits came at the uncanniest of moments giving me the boost I needed. I am indebted to Addie Killen, my best friend, for encouraging me every step of the way From the day I stepped into my first classroom as a beginning tea cher, she has always believed in me and my abilities I have been blessed to have an incredible family that has supported and believed in me my entire life. My mom, Joan Langley, has gone above and beyond the call of mom duty these past several years, taking on the roles of editor, counselor, and cheerleader when needed. My dad, Wright Langley, whose innate skills as a parent are ones I try to emulate everyday with my son and who gave me a childhood full of wonderful memories, was always with me in spirit during this journey. Mark Langley, the consummate older brother, has always looked out for me and provided me with advice and support as a child and as a woman. Little did I know when he asked me the question Why dont you go into teaching? back i n 1990 that it would change the trajectory of my life. I am so thankful for their patience, guidance, love, and for being such incredible role models. My husband Marty Goodkind, provided the emotional and financi al support to achieve this much desired goal, made me laugh during the moments of frustration and doubt and still loved me unconditionally through it all He made the last leg of this journey possible. I am so grateful to him for believing in it and in me. Finally I thank my son Jacob Langley Goodkind, whose birth in the middle of this process has been the highlight of my life. Without him, I wouldnt have lived in the moment, learned to laugh at the simplest of things, and to be in awe of the world around me. He has allowed me to hold the highest title of all that of Mom. Jake --I love you as big as the sky!
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES ...........................................................................................................................9 ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................................10 C H A P T E R 1 INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................12 Induction and Mentoring ........................................................................................................16 Ementoring .............................................................................................................................20 Limitations ..............................................................................................................................23 Definition of Terms ................................................................................................................23 Overvie w of Remaining Chapters ..........................................................................................25 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ........................................................................................27 Definition of Alternative Routes to Certification ...................................................................27 His tory of Alternative Routes to Certification ........................................................................28 Importance of Induction .........................................................................................................34 The Role of Mentoring ...........................................................................................................39 Ementoring .............................................................................................................................47 Summary .................................................................................................................................55 3 PROGRAM DESCRIPTION ..................................................................................................57 The University of Florida Mentors and Online Support for Teachers (MOST) .....................57 Participant Description ....................................................................................................57 Preparation Description ...................................................................................................58 S chool Based and District Mentor Support ............................................................................58 4 PROGRAM EVALUATION METHODS .............................................................................69 Summative vs. Formative Evaluation .....................................................................................69 Data Collection .......................................................................................................................70 Data Analysis ..........................................................................................................................73 5 EVALUATION FINDINGS ...................................................................................................76 Essential Elements ..................................................................................................................76 The Role of Trust .............................................................................................................76 Providing Meaningful Support ........................................................................................81
7 Utility ......................................................................................................................................84 Monthly Assignments/Tasks ...........................................................................................84 Videos and Video Library ...............................................................................................89 Educational Articles ........................................................................................................91 Program Weaknesses ..............................................................................................................93 Too Much of a Good Thing .............................................................................................93 Resources .........................................................................................................................96 Communication Options ..................................................................................................97 Time ........................................................................................................................................99 Earlier Start ....................................................................................................................100 Technological Aspects ..........................................................................................................101 Assumptions of Technological Expertise ......................................................................102 Contradictions .......................................................................................................................104 More Time Together, but no Time to Give ...................................................................105 Insights, Rec ommendations, and Ideas .................................................................................106 Differentiation ...............................................................................................................106 Audio Taping .................................................................................................................107 Videotaping ...................................................................................................................108 Coordinating Face to Face and Online Them es ............................................................108 2nd Year Wishes ....................................................................................................................109 Closing Comments ................................................................................................................111 6 REFLECTIONS FROM THE PROGRAM DEVELOPER .................................................113 Need for Funding ..................................................................................................................114 Need for Improvements ........................................................................................................115 Implementation Phase I: Prior to Start of Program .............................................................115 Implementation Phase II: During Program ..........................................................................122 Implementatio n Phase III: End of Program .........................................................................124 Overall recommendations .....................................................................................................124 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................127 7 AFTERWORD .....................................................................................................................129 A P P E N D I X A SYLLABI .............................................................................................................................133 B SCREEN SHOTS .................................................................................................................156 C NSRF PROTOCOL EXAMPLES ........................................................................................167 D MOST TEACHER SEMI STRUCTURED INTERVIEW PROTOCOL ............................171 E SURVEY ..............................................................................................................................175 F THEMES AND PATTERNS ...............................................................................................188
8 G JOURNAL EXCERPTS .......................................................................................................196 H IRB CONSENT LETTER ....................................................................................................200 I MONTHLY ACTIVITIES AND TASKS ............................................................................202 J ACTIVITY REPORTS .........................................................................................................218 REFERENCES ............................................................................................................................226 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................................239
9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 31 Participant demographics ...................................................................................................68
10 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doct or of Education FROM A DISTANCE: SUPPORTING BEGIN NING ALTERNATIVELY CERTIFIED URBAN TEACHERS VIA EMENTORING By Lisa K. Langley December 2008 Chair: Diane Yendol Hoppey Major: Curriculum and Instruction As the number of alternatively certified tea chers entering the teaching workforce continues to grow annually, issues of retention and attrition become heightened when up to one third of alternatively certified beginning teachers abandon a field they have just entered. Comprehensive induction progra ms that include a strong mentoring component become even more critical in helping to retain these teachers who are often employed in schools that provide minimal support and mentoring. Online mentoring has been found to be a viable option for beginning te achers who are faculty of schools with limited physical and monetary resources. This invest igation will explore how online mentoring, also known as ementoring, can be integrated with other induction components to deliver an effective induction program f or alternatively certified beginning teachers currently teaching in a large urban school district. The investigation will further add to the literature base on effective induction programs, online mentoring, and alternatively certified beginning teachers. Guiding the evaluation and research methods were the following core research questions: 1. How can ementoring be used to enhance beginning teacher support and the induction process?
11 2. How can ementoring be used in conjunction with face to face interactions (meetings and school based mentoring) to enhance beginning teacher support? 3. What elements of an ementoring program promote and/or hinder alternatively certified beginning teachers ability to interact, reflect, engage, and implement their learning? Fin dings will be useful in helping to better understand the dynamics of mentoring via an online forum and maximize the potential of ementoring within a comprehensive induction program.
12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The first years of a beginning teachers career have been found to be the most challenging emotiona lly, mentally, and physically. The struggles and the conflicts that confront new teachers have been well documented and researched for decades ( e.g., Feiman Nemser, Schwille, Carver, & Yusco, 1999; Kardos & Johnson, 2007; Kauffman, Johnson, Kardos, Liu, & Peske, 2002; Lortie, 1975; Schmidt & Knowles, 1995; Veenman, 1984) Not only are beginning teachers in the midst of pivotal years that determine much of who they become as educators, they are also in precarious positions as to whether they survive and remain in the educational field (Gold, 1996; Rogers & Babinski, 2002) Reports indicate that as many as one third of beginning teachers quit within the first three years of their careers and only half remain in the field after five years ( Alliance for Excellent Education, 2004; Ingersoll, 2002; National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, 2003) Idealistic and unrealistic expectations of themselves and their students soon give way to disillusionment with the realities and demands of classroom life. Lack of basic supplies, poor administrative support, feelings of isolation, low salaries, large class sizes, and students with significant behavior issues are just some of the many reasons many beginning teachers flounder in their initial years with many leaving teaching altogether (Moir & Gless, 2001; Rogers & Babinski, 2002; Stansbury & Zimmerman, 2000; Veenman, 1984) Y ears of research attest to the isolation and struggles that beginning te achers experience during their first years yet education still neglects its most vulnerable the beginning teacher (Boreen & Niday, 2000; Fulton, Yoon, & Lee, 2005; Gold, 1996; Heider, 2005; Kelley, 2004; Lortie, 1975; Rogers & Babinski, 2002) Few professional positions expect their new hires to work at a level of sustained pr oficiency, and yet the majority of beginning teachers are not afforded apprentice status by their principals or districts. Beginning teachers are assigned full
13 teaching loads and held to expecta t i ons of being accomplished in their planning and management without the benefit of working under the guidance of an experienced teacher or having a reduced workload. It is little wonder that one thi rd of todays beginning teachers will no longer be teaching in 2011 given the expectations and pressures they now face as 21st century educators. The growth of alternatively certified teachers in the wo rkforce has been significant. A recent study by the N ational Center for Education Information (2006) found there were approximately 50,000 individuals who entered the teaching profession via alternative route (AR) programs out of the 200,000 who graduate from teaching preparation programs annually (Rosenberg, Boyer, Sindelar, & Misra, 2007) Unlike traditional teacher preparation programs, AR program s allow individuals to earn a license to teach without completing a traditional university teacher preparation program. Graduates of AR programs typically have minimal course work and, if required to complete an int ernship program, have often done so while simultaneously taking courses an d holding noneducation jobs. Preparation programs for AR exist that are quite rigorous and imitate traditional certification programs, but many AR programs are fast track, offering certification with little or no pedagogical content as well as little or n o subject matter preparation (Humphrey & Wechsler, 2007; Rosenberg et al., 2007) As a result, many AR graduates are ill prepared to teach the students they will have in their classrooms. The growing complexity of teaching in todays educational climate is also a factor in beginning teacher retention. Legislative mandates such as the No Child Left Behind A ct (N CLB) have heightened the expec tations that todays teachers be highly qualified regardless of their preparation routes. Regardless of pathway to teaching, teachers today are expected to
14 provide quality, differentiated instruction that will not only manifest itself in student learning and achievement but also will produce adequate test results. Beginning teachers receive l ittle assistance from over extended veteran teachers and school administrators which places many AR beginning teachers in vulnerable positions during their first years of teaching. Left to fend on their own, these teachers quickly burn out with feelings of being overwhelmed, isolated, and unsupported (Duke, Karson, & Wheeler, 2006; Rogers & Babinski, 2002) Some beginning AR teachers transfer to other schools and districts that are able to provide them with the support they critically n eed during those initial ye ars others, as many as 30% will abandon a field they have just entered (Ingersoll & Smith, 2003; Jorissen, 2003) Furthermore, many AR beginning teachers are recruited to tea ch in urban schools where chronic and persistent shortages of qualified teachers abound (Ingersoll, 2004; Johnson & Kardos, 2008; Jorissen, 2003; Klecka, Clift, & Cheng, 2005; National Commission on Teaching and Amer ica's Future, 2003; Stotko, Ingram, & BeatyO'Ferrall, 2007) Even with financial incentives created to entice beginning teachers to urban schools and teacher recruitment programs such as Teach for America and Troops to Teachers Ingersoll (2004) has found, that on the average, over 20% of urban schools faculty leave annually. Low salaries, inadequate administrative support, chronic discipline problems, minimal parental support, lack of faculty input concerning school matters, being required to impleme nt a multitude of initiatives and programs to increase student achievement scores, as well as a dearth of basic resources often make working conditions intolerab le for urban teaching faculty. These factors in turn create a constant turnover of the veteran teachers leaving novice teachers few experienced teachers to turn to for advice, support, and mentoring (Ingersoll, 2004; Jonson, 2002; Stotko et al., 2007)
15 Studies have found that in some urban districts attrit ion rates can run as high as 50%, not only costing districts millions of dollars annually to recruit and train replacements, but also creating a domino effect adversely affecting student achievement, teacher morale, overall school environment and further exacerbating the revolving door syndrome currently plaguing the educational field (Darling Hammond, 1997; Ingersoll, 2004; Kapadia, Coca, & Easton, 2007) Wealthier districts can often entice teachers to leave their low SES, urban schools and transfer to more affluent ones by providing them with higher salaries, smaller class sizes, and well stocked classrooms. Those that remain stand a greater chance of leaving their schools as well as the teaching profession substantially sooner than those teachers in high SES schools due to being confronted with issues and obstacles that are characteristic of many low SES schools (Colbert & Wolff 1992; Ng, 2003) Taken together, all of these issues result in making the issue of teacher supply in low SES schools not one of insufficient numbers, but rather a matter of retaining the veteran teaching pool and teachers new to the profession (Ingersoll, 2004) In addition to the resources high SES districts can offer, many also have the financial resources to provide comprehensive induction programs trained mentors, and ongoi ng professional development. And as a result of minimal turnover rates, a faculty of veteran teachers is also available to provide support and mentoring. Unfortunately, many urban schools lack these same resources and are unab le to provide the mentoring and induction that is so critical in the first several years of an educators teaching career. Fed up with the demands placed upon them with minimal support, many AR teachers in these schools transfer to schools with resources their current ones cannot provide or leave the profession altogether (Duke et al., 2006; Johnson, Kardos, Kauffman, Liu, & Donaldson, 2004; Stotko et al., 2007)
16 Induction and Mentoring Quality induction program s have been found to reduce the numbers of beginning teachers leaving the field whether they were prepared by traditional or alternative means (Chubbuck, Clift, Allard, & Quinlan, 2001; Curran, 2002; Duke et al., 2006; Heider, 2005; Kapadia et al., 2007; Kelley, 2004; Moir, 2003; Smith & Ingersoll, 2004; Wong, 2004) Definitions of induction range from Schlechtys 1985 clinical description of induction as a way to develop in new members of an occupation those skill s, forms of knowledge, attitudes and values that are necessary to effectively carry out their occupational roles (Schlechty, 1985, p.37) to a more current definition of induction by the Alliance for Excellent Education, Comprehensive induction is described as a package of supports, development, and standards based assessments provided to beginning teachers during at least their first two years of ful l time professional teaching (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2004, p.11) Q uality comprehensive induction programs have been advocated as an important vehicle for reducing beginning teacher attrition and some research findings suggest this is t he case. Studies and analyses conducted by centers such as the National Commission on Teaching and Americas Future (NCTAF), Public Education Network, New Teacher Center (NTC), Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE) and the Center for Teaching Quality (CT Q) as well as prominent researchers in the areas of t eacher retention and induction ( e.g. Bonnie Billingsley, Sharon Feiman Nemser, Yvonne Gold, Leslie HulingAustin, Richard Ingersoll, Ellen Mo ir, Sandra Odell, Thomas Smith) suggest induction programs, w hen structured well, can positively influence teacher retention and thus diminish teacher attrition rates Comprehensive induction programs are comprised of various components such as structured mentoring from well trained, selected teachers in the same g rade or subject area (Curran, 2002; Moir, 2003; Moir & Gless, 2001; Smith & Ingersoll, 2004) ; time to plan, collaborate and discuss items with their mentors,
17 administration, and/or other faculty leaders (HulingAustin, 1992; Kapadia et al., 2007; Smith & Ingersoll, 2004; Stansbury & Zimmerman, 2000) ; systemic and sustained professional development tailored to beginning teachers needs (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2004; Wong, 2004) ; parti cipation in a network of teachers outside of their school (Kapadia et al., 2007; Kelley, 2004; Smith & Ingersoll, 2004) ; supportive principals and other school administration (Moir & Gless, 2001; Public Education Network, 2003; Wong, 2004) ; and ongoing evaluation and standards based assessment of beginning teachers pedagogical skills (Feiman Nemser, 2001a; Moir, 2003; Stansbury & Zimm erman, 2000) Of all the numerous components that can make up a comprehensive induction program, mentoring by well trained mentors plays a predominant role in diminishing beginning teacher attrition (Alliance for E xcellent Education, 2004; Boreen & Niday, 2000; HulingAustin, 1992; Ingersoll & Kralik, 2004; Odell & Ferraro, 1992; Villar & Strong, 2007; White & Mason, 2006) Like induction, countless definitions for mentoring are found in the literature. Both term s have been used interchangeably due to many induction programs across the United States being comprised solely of mentoring. However, mentoring is just one of the many component options of induction programs and the distinction between the two is an important one. For the purpose of this evaluation, mentoring is defined as a formal coaching relationship in which an experienced teacher gives guidance, support, a nd feedback to a new teacher (Center for Teaching Quality, 2005, p.5) Smith and Ingersoll (20 04) found in their extensive analysis of 19992000 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) data along with preliminary data from the 200001 Teacher Follow Up Survey (TFS) that having a mentor in the same field decreased the chances of beginning teachers leavin g their school by years end (either by transferring to another school or exiting the teaching
18 profession altogether) by approximately 30%. Furthermore, this percentage increased as other key induction components ( e.g., common planning time, collaboration with other teachers in their subject area, seminars for beginning teachers, regular communication with their princip al or other administration ) were bundled along with their infield mentors (Ingersoll & Kralik, 2004; Smith & Ingersoll, 2004) Similarly, Ingersoll and Kralik (2004) determined from their value added anal yses of teacher induction that C ollectively the studies do provide empirical support for the claim that assistance for new teachers and, in particular, mentoring programs have a positive impact on teachers and their retention (p. 1). Odell and Ferraro s follow up survey study (1992) of 141 teachers in their 4th year of teaching found that 96% of the original teachers who participated in a collaborative university/school teacher mentor program their first year of teaching were still actively teaching. T heir survey results found that the mentoring beginning teachers received had a positive influence upon their attitudes toward teaching. Furthermore, the participants rated the emotional support they received from their mentor as the most valuable aspect o f their mentoring experience followed by support with instructional strategies and securing resources/materials for their classrooms (Odell & Ferraro, 1992) Kardos (2004) in her survey study of 315 first and second year teachers found that mento ring in general did not have a significant effect on new teachers. However, when beginning teachers were assigned mentors from the same grade level and school and were given opportunities to discuss issues, they were more likely to be satisfied with their jo bs and were more likely to remain teaching. Clearly, mentoring is no t a defined science nor is it easily implemented to produce the same effects in all settings. However, decades of mentoring research points to the overall
19 effectiveness of mentoring in helping to retain our teachers. One thing is certain from studies on mentoring as well as numerous reports produced by NCTAF, NTC, AEE, CTQ, and other foundations as well as research found in handbooks such as the Teacher Educations Yearbook on Rese arch on Teacher Induction is that mentoring is not just happenstance. Mentoring requires planning, funding, buyin and training (Moir, 2003; Rainer, 2006; Tellez, 1992) Pressure from administration and/or altrui stic motives on the part of the experienced teacher to mentor a beginning teacher does not guarantee that quality mentoring will occur. In many cases, it is only a glorified bud dy system that is created. As Moir (2003) notes, In the buddy system model mentors are neither trained for their new role nor given time to carry out its demands. In other words, new mentors are treated pretty much as new teachers were, allowed to sink or swim, armed with only intuition and good intentions to keep them afloat (p. 4). Achinstein and Athanases (2006) express similar concerns as to why mentor programs flounder and dont reach their potential due to a perception that new teacher mentors come ready made (p. 8). Mentoring can only be as effective as the mentor s involved in the process. Their words serve as a reminder that even with the best of intentions and plans, those enacting the ideas are key to the process. Even with recent study findings of substantial returns on indu ction investment dollars ( Villar & S trong, 2007) and the recognition of school dis tricts of the importance of comprehensive induction programs, few are able to provide the funding needed to implement and sustain such programs. Model induction programs such as Californias Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) program, Santa Cruzs New Teacher Project (SCNTP) and Connecticuts Beginning Educator Support and Training (BEST) are cost prohibitive for most districts due to average annual costs that range from $5,000 to $7,000 per teacher, per year.
20 Districts as well as their university partners are searching for ways in which to provide quality induction programs that include strong mentoring components with minimal cost and personnel requirements, but still maintain a level of quality and effectiveness. Ementoring One promising option that entails substantially less cost than traditional mentoring is ementoring. Also known as cyber mentoring or telementoring, ementoring is defined as a mentoring relationship where the primary form of communication between the mentor and mentee is done via email, website, list serve, discussion board, and/or by some other computer mediated means (ONeill as cited in Price & Chen, 2003). More commonly found in the fields of business and engineering wi th programs such as MentorNet and MentorsOnline, ementoring is a relatively new phenomenon to the educational field (Dockter, Lin, Waterfall, & Muller, 2001; Single & Muller, 2001) Once an anomaly in the area of teacher induction, ementoring and its capabilities in supporting beginning teachers have only recently been focused upon as an effective means of mentoring (Fulton, 2007; Fulton et al., 2005 ; Merseth, 1990) Ementoring for beginning teachers had its start with the Beginning Teacher Computer Network (BTCN) begun in 1987 at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Rather primitive in terms of todays technology, BTCN used a computer network as means of providing support and mentoring to first year teachers wh o had received their masters degrees in education and held permanent teaching credentials in Massachusetts. Merseths 1988 study of 39 beginning teachers using the BTCN found this rudimentary network provi ded beginning teachers emotional s upport and reduced the feelings of isolation that have been found in numerous s tudies on beginning teachers ( e. g., Boreen & Niday, 2000; Lortie, 1975; Rogers & Babinski, 2002; Veenman, 1984). Merseths research on the effectiveness of BTCN as a means of providin g
21 suppor t to beginning teachers helped to establish the positive role computers and technology could play in teacher induction and mentoring (Merseth, 1990, 1991) As techno logy advanced into the 1990 s, the declining cost of computers as well as public Internet access made what was once a luxury, a norm in society as well as in education. Ementoring was then developed into a viable m eans of providing support as the Internet and email became routine means of communication. The Electronic Emissary Project (EEP), an extensive ementoring program for students begun in 1993 at the University of Texas further built upon experiences of BTCN in using computer networks to provide support and mentoring. Still in existence, EEP matches volunteer, subject matter experts around the world with K 12 students. Exchanges are done asynchronously via email and deal with a wide range of topics such as rainforest, acid rain, folktales, AIDs, etc. (Harris, 1994) Although labeled as a matching service and geared for students, the success of the EEP has added greatly to the ementoring research base. The successes o f EEP have also helped to inform two of the more noted and successful online learning communities based in the United States that currently offer emen toring for beginning teachers Tapped In created by TSI International and the Teachers Learning in Networked Communities (TLINC) program created by the National Commission on Teaching and Americas Future (NCTAF) and funded by AT&T (Fulton et al., 2005 ) Tapped In, created in 1997 to provide a w eb based learning environment that brings together educators from around the world to learn, collaborate, share an d support one another, allows mentees to seek out mentors and viceversa Tapped In also provide s opportunities for veteran and beginning teachers alike to participate in topical discussions and online courses.
22 Although Tapped In encourages individuals to join, many universities and districts use their platform as a means to offer high quality online professional development experiences and support to more teachers cost effectively. For a minimal fee, organizations can become tenants within the site and have access to the latest in online technology, along with the online learning strategies and support needed to us e online technology effectively (SRI International, 2007, p.1) TLINC currently provides support for a limited number of beginning teachers in three geographic regions Colorado, Memphis and Seattle and use s the Tapped In platform as a means of support delivery. TLINC, like BTCN was designed specifically to support new teachers (Fulton et al., 2005 ) The successes and failures of programs such as CKTN, Tapped In, TLINC and others have helped to inform and shape ementoring within the field of education as it is known today. A s more districts face budget cuts and limitations, ementoring is becoming a feasible option for many cashstrapped districts that want to provide their beginning teachers support a nd mentoring, but are unable to do so due to limited funding and/or lack of mentor teachers. Few would propose that ementoring should replace quality, onsite interactions between school based mentors and mentees, but when faced with monetary and/or physic al restrictions, ementoring becomes a practical option in which school districts can provide additional, effective, and quality mentoring to their beginning teachers with minimal cost. The purpose of this program development and evaluation study is to bett er understand how a tailored ementoring experience provided support for eight beginning teachers during t heir first year of teaching. By evaluati ng and determining what ementoring components were the most and least effective in providing support to the ei ght beginning teachers, a better
23 understanding can be gained in how to craft future ementoring programs. Additionally, this study will provide information on how ementoring programs can be used in conjunction with school based (faceto face) mentoring to enhance beginning teacher support systems. Limitations One of the limitations to this study is the dual role I played as rese archer and program developer. As the program developer, I was privy to the inner workings and dynamics of the group that I might not have been afforded otherwise. Had I not possessed this duality of roles, my perspective would not have been as wide in scope. However, this wide perspective can also allow certain biases to form. In order to diminish these biases, I used peer debri efing and peer examinations of my findings as well as a reflective journal to capture my thoughts about the processes involved in the creation of the program as well as the findings. Additionally, the small, contextualized sample of eight alternatively c ertified, beginning urban teachers limits the generalizability of the findings. Data was collected from only a small gr oup of first year, alternatively certified teachers in one of the largest school districts in Florida so it would be inappropriate to generalize these fi ndings to all beginning, alternatively certified teachers. However, the findings should provide insight and guidance in helping to cr eate similar ementoring programs for beginning teachers. Definition of Terms For the purposes of this s tudy, it is useful to have a common understanding of terms that will be used throughout this program evaluation. These definitions are for clarity purposes only and in no manner represent a definitive terminology. Ementoring, synonymous with online ment oring and cyber mentoring, can be a formal or informal mentor relationship that provides mentoring electronically though some form of computer mediated means such as email, wikis, websites, and other electronic environments
24 Ementoring allows the mentee and mentor to communicate and interact in a variety of electronic venues without the deterrent of distance and time limitations due to the 24/ 7 accessibility computer communications provide. A multitude of definitions and interpretations exist in t he lite rature for the term i nduction and the term is often used interchangeably with mentoring. For this study induction was viewed as a phase that marked a transition from being a student of teaching to that of one being a teacher of students. Although inducti on can entail several years and phases, the participants in this study were enrolled in a one year, beginni ng teacher induction program. An induction program will be used to term the formal program of support and professional development the beginning tea chers were given over the course of the school year. Comprehensive induction program s entail a multitude of elements and are not limited to these essential components: structured and regular mentoring experiences with a trained mentor, planned induction program s reduced teacher workloads that give mentors and mentees time to meet, and communication venues that allow timely exchanges between mentors and mentees Comprehensive induction programs differ from the more general induction programs found in s chools as they entail many more structured components and often receive funding in which to carry out their objectives and sustain the various induction elements. Pivotal to induction programs whether they are comprehensive or not is the mentoring component. Mentoring, like induction has a plethora of definitions within the literature and is often used synonymously with induction. However, mentoring, a key stra tegy within induction programs pairs a beginning teacher with a veteran teacher creating a fo rmal coaching relationship in which an experienced teacher gives guidance, support, and feedback to a new teacher (The Southeast Center for Teacher Quality 2004)
25 Like the terms mentoring and induction, definitions of alterative certificatio n abound within teacher education literature resulting in varying interpretations of the terminology. Although I used the specific qualifications of the National Cente r for Alternative Certification to define the program the eight teachers were enrolled in, Adelmans (1986) definition provides a less detailed definition for the reader, Alternative certification programs are those teacher preparation programs that enro ll noncertified individuals with at least a bachelors degree, offering shortcuts, special assistance, or unique curricula leading to eligibility for a standard teaching credential (p.2). The term program evaluation will be used a s a diligent investiga tion of a programs characteristics and merits (Fink, 1995, p.2) with the purpose of providing a det ail ed account of the programs effectiveness as well as to assess the programs merit and worth. The opposite terms synchronously and asynchronously are used in this evaluation to describe how communication occurs in online environments. The term s ynchronously will be used to describe communication exchange s that occur at the same time. Likewise, the term asynchronously will be used to describe communication exchanges that occurred at different times. Overview of Remaining Chapters The remainder of this dissertation provides an overview and evaluation of an ementoring program that was created to support eight alternatively certified beginning teachers located in five urban schools during the 200708 school year. Chapter 2 examines the literature related to alternative certification, induction, mentoring and e mentoring. Chapter 3 provides a detailed description of the ementoring program and its participants. The methodology used to evaluate the progra m is described in Chapter 4 while the findings of the evaluation are discussed in Chapter 5. Chapter 6 contains recommendations from the program developer. This dissertation
26 concludes with an afterword in Chapter 7 updating the current context and developments that have occurred since the completion of the program.
27 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERA TURE The purpose of this evaluation study is to determine the effectiveness of a tailored ementoring program that was created over the course of a school year for eight alternatively certified beginning teachers i n fi ve urban, elementary schools. A review of the literature was conducted to understand what is already known about alternatively certified teachers and the roles induction and mentoring play in providing support to first year teachers. To further under stand how mentoring particularly a customized ementoring program could provide support to alternatively certified urban teachers just beginning their teaching careers, a review of the research was also conducted on literature pertaining to online mentori ng. Definition of Alternative Routes to Certification The re are many definitions as to what constitutes an alternative route (AR) program. Definitions range from the simplistic, every licensure avenue outside of traditional based college programs (CohenVogel & Smith, 2007, p. 733) to the more descriptive, Alternative certification programs are those teacher preparation programs that enroll n oncertified individuals with at least a bachelors degree, offering shortcuts, special assistance, or unique curricula leading to eligibility for a standard teaching credential (Adelman, 1986, p.2) For the purposes of this evaluation, the qualifications established by the National Center for Alternat ive Certification will be used as they better define the nature of the AR program completed by the eight beginning teachers involved in this study and these qualifications include: Candidates for these programs pass a rigorous screening process, such as p assing tests, interviews, and demonstrated mastery of content. The programs are field based and have as the goal a permanent teaching credential. The programs include coursework or equivalent experiences in professional education studies while teaching.
28 Candidates for teaching work closely with trained support providers. Candidates must meet high standards for completion of programs. (Feistritzer & Cohen, 2000 as cited in McKibbin, 2001) History of Alternative Routes to Certification Alternative routes to certification (AR) have grown considerably in number and variation since the ir beginnings in the early 1980s Created as a means to help increase the teacher applicant pool after reports and studies conducted in the 1980s predicted a looming need for a vast number of quality teachers (Adelman, 1986; Feistritzer, 1994) AR p rograms allowed individuals with degrees in noneducation backgrounds to earn a license to teach without completing a tra ditional university program. Although New Jersey is credited with enacting legislation for alternative routes in 1984, Virginia laid the foundation for alternative routes in 1982 when they allowed provisional teaching certification to individuals who did not graduate from traditional teacher preparation programs (Dill, 1996; Feistritzer, 1994) The number of AR programs has mushroomed across the country within the past decade for a variety of reasons, including: graduates of traditional t eacher preparation programs never joining the teacher workforce, increasing student populations, class size reduction policies, as well as NCLBs mandate to have a highly qualified teacher in every classroom by the year 2006 (Berry, 2002; Connelly, Sindelar, & Rosenberg, 2004; DarlingHammond & Berry, 2006; Dill, 1996; Feistritzer, 1994; Ingersoll & Smith, 2003; Rosenberg et al., 2007) What began as the answer to an impending teacher deficit as well as concerns over teacher quality has become an established teacher preparatory industry that has grown to include 48 states as well as the District of Columb ia (Adelman, 1986; Feistritzer, 1994; National Center for Education Information, 2006) A 2006 study conducted by the National Center for Education Information found there are approximately 50,000 individuals who enter the teaching profession via AR programs out of
29 the 200,000 who graduate from teaching preparation programs annually, constituting 25% of the annual teaching pool (Rosenberg et al., 2007) In some states such as New Jersey, California and Texas, up to 30% of the teacher workforce is alternatively certified (Boyd, Goldhaber, Lankford, & Wyckoff, 2007) M ore than one third of the current state AR programs have been created since 2000 with over 50% of them having been e s tablished in the last 15 years. T hus AR programs have created a strong foothold within the educational community in a relatively short amount of t ime (National C enter for Education Information, 2006) Alternative route programs have also attracted a diverse pool of candidates into the field who might have pursued other career interests. In some cases, alternative routes have been successful in increasing the number of ethnic minorities such as African Americans and Hispanics (Johnson, Birkeland, & Peske, 2005; Rosenberg et al., 2007; Zeichner & Schulte, 2001) A nother benefit of ARs is their ability to tap into a cache of subject area expertise by increasing the number of midcareer professionals who have used alternative routes to obtain their teacher certification and enter the teaching workforce (Johnson, Birkeland et al., 2005; Rosenberg et al., 2007) Statistics show that increa sing numbers of alternatively certified teachers have helped fill the high numbers of vacancies in hardto staff schools such as those located in rural and urban areas (Ng, 2003; Rosenberg et al., 2007) However, research has also found these beginning teachers are more suscept ible to transferring to schools with higher SES student populations or leaving the field within the first three years of their career (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2008; Hanushek, Kain, & Rivkin, 2004; Ng, 2003) Several factors contribute to this phenomena: lower salaries than neighboring high SES districts; inadequate administrative support; chronic discipline problems; minimal parental support; lack of faculty input
30 concerning school matters; and a dearth of basic resources resulting in working conditions intolerable for urban teaching faculty (Levin & Quinn, 2003; MetLife, 2005) These factors also create a constant turnover of the veteran teaching base, which means novice teachers have few experienced teachers to turn to for advice, support, and mentoring. Stansbury and Zimmer man (2002) warn, This revolving door creates a permanent core of inexperienced teachers who are learning their craft by, essentially, practicing on the students before them (p.12). Thus not only are beginning teachers affected by the lack of a skilled, experienced core teaching faculty, but so too are the very students who need them the most. Further exacerbating t he obstacles hard to staff urban schools face, is the expense associated with teacher turnover for these schools. NCTAFs recent study on a ttrition costs in five school districts found it costs approximately $8,750 to replace an urban teacher vs. $6,250 to replace nonurban teachers (Barnes, Crowe, & Schaefer, 2007) The difference of $2,500 per teacher, per year can quickly add up and creates stressed financial situations in urban schools trying to recruit, train, and retain an already precarious teacher workforce. Although exact costs are difficult given the associated costs of turnover that cannot be accurately calculated (e.g. student achievement gains, prof essional development costs, teachers knowledge b ase, societal implications ), recent studies estimate the costs incurred by US districts to hire, recruit, train and replace the teachers they lose annually at $2.6 billion to $7.34 billion (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2004; Ba rnes et al., 2007) T here is some question as to how competent AR teachers are to teach. Proponents of AR programs such as Feistritzer and Finn argue AR programs have not only helped to fill teacher vacancies across the nation, but have also allowed la rge numbers of individuals into the field with subject area expertise (e.g., math and science) that would be unable to teach otherwise
31 (Feistritzer, 1993; Finn & Madigan, 2001) Opponents of AR programs, such as Da rling Hammond and Berry, argue that although rigorous AR programs exist, many more exist that are inadequately preparing beginning AR tea chers to teach todays students, and many of these teachers are employed in under resourced schools fo und in rural and urban areas. Both Darling Hammond and Berry argue that low AR program admission requirements coupled with streamlined preparation programs that are found in many AR programs can produce poorly prepared beginning teachers that not only affect student achie vement, but also affect retention rates as these teachers are more apt to transfer to schools with higher SES populations or switch to a career unaffiliated with education (Berry, 2001; DarlingHammond, Holtzman, Gat lin, & Heilig, 2005; Zeichner & Schulte, 2001) Humphrey and Wechsler (2006) contend that so much variability exists in terms of the structure of AR programs, that it is difficult to draw any conclusions and the debate surrounding AR programs is based on faulty assumptions about teacher preparation programs of all kinds, whether alternative or traditional (p. 1). Their study of effective characteristics with in seven AR programs found some programs were as demanding in their scope and preparation dema nds as more traditional preparation programs (Humphrey & Wechsler, 2007) Further analysis of the seven programs by Humphrey, Wechsler and Hough (2008) found that non program elements such as adequate supplies and materials, administrative support, collegial atmosphere a s well as the personal qualitie s of each teacher (e.g ., being well educated, having had pr evious teaching expe rience) played critical, contributing roles in the overa ll effectiveness of AR programs (Humphrey, Wechsler, & Hough, 2008) S everal components emerged from their study as pl aying influential roles in creating a successful AR preparation program and mirror findings from similar studies: practical coursework and preparation that focused on applicable strategies
32 (Johnson, Birkeland et al., 2005) ; tailored coursework that prepared graduates to work in urban or low SES schools with low SES populations (Humphrey et al., 2008; Johnson, Birkeland et al., 2005) ; frequent observations and constructive feedback (Humphrey et al., 2008) ; and consistent, quality mentor ing (Gimbert, Cristol, & Wallace, 2005; Humphrey & Wechsler, 2007; Zeichner & Schulte, 2001) Hum phrey and colleagues assert that present and future research should focus on how participants learn, how mentoring components can be strengthened as well as how the programs themselves can be tailored to meet the varying needs of the teachers in training. School context, often overlooked, is increasingly being found to play an instrumental role in the retention of begi nning teachers (Feiman Nemser, 2001b; Griffin, Kilgore, Winn, & Otis Wilborn, in press) Hanushek, Kain, and Rivkins (2004) study of 375,000 Texas teachers found context to play a determining role as to why teache rs of all experience levels stayed within the field, but particularly teachers with 0 5 years of experience. Their study of Texas teachers over the span of 19931996 found that while significantly higher salaries might help in keeping teachers from transf erring or leaving education, improving the working conditions that are associated with educating low SES populations might be a more feasible solution in he lping reduce teacher turnover. These findings further point to context playing a key role in retain ing beginning teachers whether they are alternatively or traditionally prepared. Although context cannot be controlled per se, Humphrey, Wechsler, and Hough (2008) remind us that AR programs can control the support they provide to participants teaching i n various contexts (p. 15) which in turn influence s the overall teaching environment. This support manifests itself in various ways: faculty and staff collegiality, strong leadership and administrative support, as well as ade quate supplies and materials. The authors contend that these factors alone can affect a teachers overall enjoyment of teaching as well as their development. Furthermore, it is these
33 factors taken together that can have lasting effects on how AR teachers perceive teaching and their initial teaching experiences (Humphrey et al., 2008) What still remains inconclusive is whether the attrition rates for the beginning alternatively certified teacher popul ation differs from teachers traditionally prepared. This is due in large part to the numerous variabilities within and across AR programs. Nagy and Wangs study of 142 high school beginning AR teachers found their attrition rate of 13% to mirror that of the national average (N agy & Wang, 2007) Furthermore, Zeichner and Schultes (2001) examination of peer reviewed literature regarding 21 studies of 13 AR programs found that although retention rates varied within the programs, AR pr ograms in general had comparable or higher r etention numbers when compared to traditional programs. However, differences in retention rates between AR and traditional programs surfaced when teachers of particular subjects and grade levels were examined, exposing lower rates of retention for AR teac hers versus their traditionally prepared counterparts. Given that AR programs are now an integral part of education and continue to grow in response to increasing demand, effective ways to develop and retain this specific teacher population need to be e xamined. Two of the more attractive features found with the majority of AR programs are also viewed by some in education as its limitations fewer required courses than traditional preparation programs and minimal to no required field experiences which are a norm of traditional teacher preparation (e.g., Humphrey & Wechsler, 2007) Both create streamlined versions of traditional preparation programs which are enticing to working professionals wanting to become teachers. Substantially less time away from their current employment is needed allowing many to obtain their teaching credentials while still workin g full time and not sacrificing their income. Although minimal required coursework and little to
34 no field experiences allows AR students to abbreviate their time obtaining a teaching credential and result in an increased teacher candidate pool, teacher ed ucation advocates such as Linda Darling Hammond, Barnett Berry, and others would argue that minimal teacher preparation coursework and little to no field experiences only produce minimally prepar ed beginning teachers. They would also maintain that traditional preparation programs along with field experiences are critical in preparing one to be a competent educator (Berry, 2001; DarlingHammond & Baratz Snowden, 2007; DarlingHammond et al., 2005) As a result, this limited coursework and streamlined field experiences may result in the need for alternatively certified teachers to receive further supports than their traditionally trained counterparts. With research attesting to the positive impact comprehensive induct ion programs can have on retaining teachers (Ingersoll, 2003; Moir & Gless, 2001; Smith & Ingersoll, 2004) more needs to be done to ensure beginning AR teachers receive these quality induction experiences that supp ort their transition into the teaching field. Importance of Induction The current educational landscape is one filled with some of the greatest demands on teachers than ever in educations past. Nowhere is this more evident than with the 21st century begi nning teacher. Not only are they expected to work under the numerous tenants and ramifications of NCLB which demands continual student achievement gains regardless of student population and school environment, but dwindling school budgets and continued public scrutiny of teacher quality and student achievement gains place enormous pressures on even the most seasoned of teachers. Comprehensive induction programs can offset the high numbers of beginning teachers that leave the field of teaching within th e fi rst five years of their career. Research on induction has found that induction programs, comprised of multiple components can make a difference in
35 retaining beginning teachers (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2004; American Federation of Teachers, 2001; Odell & Ferraro, 1992; Smith & Ingersoll, 2004) Successful, large scale induction programs such as Connecticuts Beginning Educator and Support Training (BEST), the Santa Cruz New Teacher Project (SCNTP), Cal ifornias Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA), Louisianas Teacher Assistance and Assessment Program (LaTAAP) and Framework for Inducting, Retaining, and Supporting Teachers (LaFIRST), and most recently New York Citys $36 million investment to overhaul their induction program and improve teacher mentoring begun in 2004 have all shown how investments of time and continual funding can make a difference in creating and sustaining induction programs that affect teacher retention, teacher quality, a nd student achievement (Joftus & MaddoxDolan, 2002; Kapadia et al., 2007; New Teacher Center, 2006; Strong, 2004, 2006) Since their varying inception dates, all six programs have produced significant retention ra tes within school districts around the country ranging from LaFIRST s 88% in 20012002 to SCNTPs impressive 89% retention rate for their 19921993 cohort six years later Retention rates such as these lend strong evidence in how well orchestrated inducti on programs can play integral roles in teacher retention (Alliance for Education, 2004; New Teacher Center, 2006). At the beginning of the 21st century, a large teacher shortage was forecasted, suggesting that thousands of teachers would be needed as a r esult of classsize reduction amendments, a wave of teacher retirements, and a continual flow of teachers leaving the field due to unsatisfactory work conditions. Although these factors did and still continue to contribute to the annual number of teachers leaving the field, Ingersolls 2003 research on the teacher shortage phenomenon found shortages within the educational field are primarily a result of pre retirement teacher turnover, and not due to increased numbers of retiring teachers or student
36 enrollment. Ingersoll contends that the issue is better conceptualized as a problem with teacher retention rather than teacher production or supply For this reason, he argues that merely producing higher numbers of teachers to fill the ranks will only be a short term solution for a problem that ultimately needs a long term answer. His report suggests that schools are not simply victims of inexor able demographic trends and there is a significant role for the management and organization of schools in both the genesis of, and the solution to, school staffi ng problems (p. 21). He recommends that full induction experiences are one such way in which school districts can play a role in decreasing the numbers of teachers moving to other schools as well as leavi ng the profession altogether. This suggestion is further explored in his research surrounding the effects of induction and mentoring on beginni ng teacher turnover with Smith and Ingersolls analysis of 19992000 SASS data. Their analysis, involving a s ample size of 3,235 beginning teachers, found that comprehensive induction packages played significant roles in diminishing beginning teachers intent to leave. With no induction support or program, 40% of the teachers in their analysis abandoned teaching after their initial year. A basic induction package that was received by 56% of the teachers in their sample, co nsisted of a mentor and supportive communication from their principal or other administrator, and resulted in a 39% loss of the teachers. The ir third category of induction packages entailed the basic induction program along with a collaboration component that included common planni ng time or regularly scheduled time to collaborate with teachers in their grade level/subject area as well as parti cipation in a beginning teacher seminar. Twenty six percent of the teachers in their study received this induction package and 27% of this group left the field at the end of their first year. Unfortunately, the most effective induction package that resul ted in 8% of t he new teachers leaving was received by less than 1% of the
37 teachers in the analysis. This package included the three induction package components along with participation in an external network of teachers, reduced number of preparations, a nd an assigned teachers aide (Smith & Ingersoll, 2004) Not only did a comprehensive induction experience contribute to retaining begin ning teachers, but it also helped to retain teachers at their respective schools and reduced the number of transfers to less challenging teaching environments. Smith and Ingersolls analysis attest s to the positive effects of mentoring and induction on te acher retention and clearly demonstrates the power of these various induction components when combined with one another. Colbert and Wolffs (1992) study of a collaborative support program between the Los Angeles Unified School District and California State University also resulted in improved retention rates. This three year study involving 120 urban beginning teachers, 24 lead teachers and two support programs consisting of inductionlike components (e.g., cooperative planning, classr oom observations coaching ) resulted in a 95% retention rate of the teachers in the stu dy at the end of three years. Given that researchers have found that up to 50% of teachers quit teaching within their first five years (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2004; Ingersoll, 2002; National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, 2003) these statistics further attest to the importance induction and mentoring programs can have in retaining our newest teachers. Even with mounting evidence that induction programs when done well can greatly influence the retention rates of beginning teachers, there still exist huge variability in the kinds of induction programs that exist within the US. Exemplary programs such as BEST, SCNTP, BTSA LaTAAP and LaFIRST have provided the educational community with effective practices, but how each district implements similar components is often at the mercy of the local school districts budget. Kauffmans 2007 report for the Education Commission of the States
38 (ECS) on state mentoring and induction programs revealed large variability exists in the kinds of mentoring and induction programs found within each state. Of the 30 states that have existing induction programs for beginning teachers, programs ranged from Connecticuts very prescriptive BEST program to Arizonas general program definition of induction leaving the induction process up to the individual school (Kaufmann, 2007a) Furthermore, funding of such induction programs varies greatly among and within states which in turn affects program sustainability and effectiveness. Smiths analysis of st ate induction policies and funding found that while states may mandate induction, few provide the funding to support these programs (Smith, 2007) Similarly, Berry, Hopkins Thompson and Hokes (2003) study of 10 southeast state induction programs found seven of the ten states involved in their study (Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee) had mandatory induction programs while only five of the ten states (Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina) provided state funding (Berry, Hopkins Thompson, & Hoke, 2002) Funding amounts also variedfrom $500 per teacher in the state of Georgia to nearly $3,000 in North Carolina Berry and colleagues noted that these amounts were not sufficient to provide teachers with induction programs similar to Connecticuts BEST or BTSA programs where costs can run upwards of $7,000 per teacher, per year. Al though substantial variation exist s among induction programs, decades of research has resulted in key components and shared characteristics of effective induction programs. Some of these components require a greater investment of beliefs and emotions from school personnel. For example, s chool faculty and administration must buy into the need to mentor new teachers, which in turn creates a supportive and collegial work environment (Brock & Grady, 1998;
39 Gschwend & Moir, 2007; Moir & Gless, 2001) In contrast, other key induction components require an investment of time and money such as: release time and/or reduced teaching loads (Arends & Rigazio DiGilio, 2000; Berry et al., 2002; Gschwend & Moir, 2007; Johnson, 2007) ; program length of one year to two years beyond the in itial induction year (Feiman Nemser, 2001a; New Teacher Center Research Team, 2006) ; time to observe other teachers as well as be observed (Berry et al., 2002; Huling Austin, 1992; Johnson, 2007) ; use of cohorts (HulingAustin, 1992) ; and critical, but constructive assessment o f new teachers skills (Berry et al., 2002; New Teacher Center Research Team, 2006) However, the investment in providing a quality mentoring experience that entails trained mentors with low mentor to new teacher ratios or substantial rele ase time from regular teaching duties and structured mentoring experiences has been the most notable component of comprehensive induction programs (American Federation of Teachers, 2001; Gschwend & Moir, 2007; Ingers oll & Kralik, 2004; Johnson, 2007; Moir & Gless, 2001; New Teacher Center Research Team, 2006; Wong, 2004) It is this powerful component of induction programs that will be discussed in further detail in the following section. The Role of Mentoring A f oundational component of comprehensive induction programs is mentoring. Often used interchangeably with induction mentoring is a component of induction and is a formal coaching relationship in which an experienced teacher gives guidance, support and fe edback to a new teacher. I nduction goes beyond mentoring to provide an extensive framework of support, professional development, and standards based assessments and evaluations (The Southeast Center for Teacher Quality, 2004) Literature related to mentoring in the early 1980s noted its unexplored potential in education, particularly for beginning teachers (Feiman Nemser, 1983; Galvez Hjornevik, 1986) However, much has changed in the past two decades as mentoring programs have continued to
40 grow in their popularity with the number of beginning teachers participating in mentoring programs continuing to increase. T he most recent statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reveals that 70.4% of public school teachers (approximately 3.1 million) with less than four s years of teaching experience had a mentor teacher their first year of teaching during the 2003 04 school year an increase of almost 7% for the 19992000 school year. Furthermore, induction programs e xperienced similar increases d uring this same time (National Center for Education Statistics, 2008). Although these statistics are promising, researchers would agree that definitions and components of mentoring vary greatly among school districts Thus, the sense of optimism surrounding the increased numbers of teachers receiving mentoring should be tempered. C au tion should be used when comparing mentoring programs or making generalized statements attesting to their effectiveness or lack thereof when so much variation currently exist s Smith and Ingersoll (2004) found induction programs varied greatly in terms of purpose, duration, intensity, and structure making comparisons of programs and specific components such as mentoring, difficult if not impossible. Additionally, great discrepancies exist in states that require mentoring programs and as well as the funding provided to support these programs (SRI International, 2000) Kaufmanns 2007 report on st ate induction and mentoring programs found beginning teachers participation in mentoring programs was optional in some states and mandatory in others, while c ompensation ranged from nothing to a high of $6,000 a year. Additionally, programs lasted from t wo semesters to three years and involved varying fulfillment requirements. Interestingly, 43 states have mentoring policies in place for their beginning teachers, whereas only 30 states have established induction policies and six states have neither (Kaufmann, 2007b) These striking differences in compensatio n, program length, and program
41 requirem ents further reaffirm the idiosyncratic nature of mentoring and induction programs found in US school districts and reaffirm a need for what Feiman Nemser labels a professional learning continuum ( p. 1014). Not o nly does her proposed continuum entail strong mentoring and induction components but the continuum begins in preservice teacher preparation and continues through the initial years of a teachers career (Feiman Nemser, 2001a) Ingersoll and Kraliks (2004) review of induction and mentoring studies found that even with significant differences among the studies they reviewed, collectively the studies do provide empirical support for the claim th at assistance for new teachers and, in particular, mentoring programs have a positive impact on teachers and their retention (p. 2). Public Education Networks (PEN) 2002 survey of 200 new teachers found that while only 67% of the teachers surveyed part icipated in a formal mentoring relationship their first year of teaching, researchers found most of the teachers in the study benefited from having a mentor (p.34). Similar findings attest to the positive effect mentoring can have upon beginning teachers (Odell & Ferraro, 1992; Strong & St. John, 2001) Odell and Ferraro found 96% of the 141 teachers involved in their study were still teaching four years after they had received mentoring during their initial year of teaching (Odell & Ferraro, 1992) Similarly, Strong and St. John examined the effects of mentoring with 59 teachers four years after they had participated in the Santa Cruz New Teacher Project (SCNTP) mentoring program. Although their sample size is relatively small, Strong and St. John found that 94% of their teacher s were still teaching seven to eight years after the completion of the program (Strong & St. John, 2001) Adding to the positive effects mentoring can have on the retention of new teacher is the econ omic impact of such programs. Villar and Strongs (2007) recent costbenefit analysis of m entoring programs found that every dollar invested in a comprehensive mentoring program
42 resulted in a $1.66 overall rate of return over the course of five years. With conservative estimates placing the costs associated with teacher attrition at $2.4 billion annually, their analysis is not only promising, but timely given the recent economic environment as well as escalating fuel costs that have negatively impacted school districts budgets across the nation. Golds (1996) review of the literature on beginning teacher induction categorized the support beginning teachers need falls within the two categories of instructional related support and psychological support. Instructional related support includes assisting the novice with the knowledge, skills, and strategies necessary to be successful in the classroom and school whereas psychol ogical support entails building the protgs sense of self through confidence building, developing feelings of effectiveness, encouraging positive self esteem, enhancing self relianc e, and learning how to handle stress (p. 561). Effective mentoring can provide both even though emotional support provided by mentors is most often cited by mentees as being a critical factor in their ability to survive their initial years as teachers (Hollowa y, 2001; Odell & Ferraro, 1992) whereas providing instructional support is more often the focus of mentors with their mentees (Feiman Nemser, Schwille et al., 1999) Interestingly, PENs 2002 survey results reported that many of the teachers in their study did not feel their mentors provided them with specific advice or guidance on how to improve their instructional practices Instead, they reported that mentors provided more psychological support. Responses such as these gi ve evidence to the fine balancing act that mentors must maintain in order to deliver these two kinds of support that mentees both want and need. Achinstein and Athanases (2006) along with FeimanNemser and her colleagues (1999) suggest mentoring in the 21st century should, move beyond emotional support and brief technical advice to become truly educative, focused on learning opportunities that move novices
43 practice forward and challenge their thinking and practice (p.9). Mentors have the ability to s upport beginning teachers in reframing their thinking about students and learning, giving mentoring the capabilities of transforming rather than transferring beginning teacher knowledge. Feiman Nemser and her colleagues (1999) stress the need to move be yond a general recognition that new teachers need support (p. 4) and create mentoring and induction experiences that not only provide the psychological support that G old suggests, but to broaden our conceptions of support to include a greater emphasis on instructional support which in turn entails a greater emphasis on accountability and professional development. They warn that support without development leaves teacher learning to chance (p. 10) and can render induction and mentoring programs ineffectu al in regard to improving the quality of instruction. Time and numbers Critical to the mentoring relationship is time time to meet, watch, discuss, and assist. To mentor effectively mentor teachers and their mentees need time to plan together, observe o ne another, reflect upon issues as well as have the time to simply converse and establish a positive mentoring relationship. Research has found that due to the nature of the teaching day, it is often difficult to find sufficient time for mentoring (Ganser, 1995; Johnson, 2007; Johnson, Berg, & Donaldson, 2005; Wildman, Magliaro, Niles, & Niles, 1992) Quite often mentees and mentors are not afforded release time and/or mentorto mentee ratios are high ranging up to 1:15 (SRI International, 2000) making time to meet, confer, and observe limited or a t times non existent. Without a dedicated time to meet on a recurrent basis, mentor/mentee relationships cannot be effectively maintained and are likely to flounder. L ocation, location, l ocation S uccessful mentor/mentee relationships not only need t ime to meet, but studies have found that location plays a critical role in the relationship. Teaching in the same school and preferably in the same grade level have been found to be instrumental in
44 creating a coherent and effective mentoring relationship (Johnson, 2007; Public Education Network, 2003; White & Mason, 2006; Wildman et al., 1992) Logistical concerns can often hinder the best of mentoring relationships and ease of mentor accessibility can play pivotal roles in a mentees success. Culture and c ollegiality. School cultures that promote and support mentoring are also foundational in sustaining effective mentoring partnerships. School leadership that values induction and mentoring along with collegial support have been found to play a key role in the retention and induction of new teachers particularly th ose in hard to staff schools. MetLifes 2005 survey of 800 teachers with five years of experience or less, found a strong correlation between q uality school relationships (e.g., principal, teaching colle agues, staff ) and a teachers intent to remain at their particular school. Kapadia, Coca, and Listons study of 1,700 Chicago novice teachers resulted in similar findings. Their survey results revealed that the contextual factors of teacher background and preparation, classroom demands, and school level features work in concert to influence novices teaching experience, and by extension, their likelihood to continue in the profession and remain in the same school (p.20). These findings led the authors to recommend that for induction programs and their mentoring components to be effective these contextual elements must be addressed (Kapadia et al., 2007) Moreover, w ithout a school environment that is collegial and conducive to teacher development, the best of mentoring rel ationships are destined to fail. Mentor selection Research on mentoring has also revealed several key characteristics of mentors Moir and Gless (2001) note that mentors need to be critically selected as not all good teachers are good mentors of adults. Selection criteria should include : strong interpersonal skills, credibility with peers a nd administrators, a demonstrated curiosity, and eagerness to learn,
45 respect for multiple perspectives, and out standing instructional practice (p. 112). A study by Wildman, Magliaro, Niles, and Niles (1992) of 150 mentor/mentee dyads echoed similar findi ngs, but noted that the willingness of the experienced teacher to be a mentor (p. 211) was a paramount characteristic for mentors to possess. Mentors must possess a willingness and desire to mentor a novice teacher and not be forced into the relations hip (Gray & Gray, 1985) as well as not become a mentor sim ply for monetary reasons as can be the case in certain mentor/mentee relationships. Although adequate mentor compensation is an important component of mentoring program s, when it is the primary motivation on the part of the mentor in participating, the me ntee is apt to not be afforded co nstructive, critical support. Clearly intentions are important when becoming a mentor, but other factors such as those discussed by Moir and Gless play crucial aspects and should not be overlooked when recruiting teachers to become mentors. Ongoing mentor t raining. Just like mentees, mentors need initial and ongoing training surrounding effective mentoring techniques as well as year long support. Too often it is assumed that simply due to the definition of their titles that mentors need little training other than an introductory, beginning of the school year works hop. Even when mentors meet critical selection cr iteria (Moir & Gless, 2001; Wildman et al., 1992) mentors need to receive ongoing training in how to maintain and promote the mentoring relationship (Achinstein & Athanases, 2006; Gray & Gray, 1985; Ingersol l & Kralik, 2004; Johnson, 2007; Johnson, Berg et al., 2005) Giebelhaus and Bowmans (2002) examination of the influence of mentor training on preservice teachers found cooperating teachers/mentors who received additional training based on the Praxis I II/Pathwise assessment framework resulted in greater reflection, more effective instruction, and more comprehensive planning on the part of the prospective teachers. This study
46 found significant differences on 11 of the 19 Pathwise criteria, suggesting th at systematic training of mentors can positively influence mentees whether they are preservice or in service teachers. Furthermore, Evertson and Smithey (2000) experienced similar results in their study of mentor efficacy after mentors were provided year long training with a rese arch bas ed mentoring program. Their study of 46 mentor mentee pairs found that the 23 mentors who were provided comprehensive training in how to support and mentor effectively resulted in their mentees being better prepared to i nstruct and engage students more efficiently than the mentees of me ntors within the control group. Treatment group mentors were also found to be more comprehensive in their interactions with their mentees (e.g., asked more probing questions that required greater reflection, appli ed conferencing strategies ) than mentors who did not receive the training. Additionally, m entors need to stay abreast of research related to effective mentoring. With teaching being so dynamic, it is inevitable that situations w ill arise that are beyond the initial preparation and training that is typically provided to mentors at the onset of the school year. Ganser (1995) warns that mentor training should not take the route of many teacher professional development programs that are often front end loaded, and place all training and preparation at the beginning of the year rather than providing training throughout the school year Not only do me ntors experienced and beginners need professional development surrounding mentoring and effec tive mentoring practices, but professional development needs to be ongoing to ensure that mentors are well prepared (Achinstein & Athanases, 2006) Clearly, research findings point to the validity and value of mentoring programs (e.g., Achinstein & Athanases, 2006; Boreen & Niday, 2000; Ingersoll & Kralik, 2004; Moir & Gless, 2001) However, it also evident that for such a rather simplistic c once pt, mentoring is multi-
47 faceted and complex. Adding to this complexity is the expanding role of technology within mentoring. Known as online mentoring, telementoring, cybermentoring or ementoring, this newer form of mentoring uses technology as a mean s of delivering mentoring in a variety of ways: email exchanges, online forums, wikis, listservs, etc. Not only is the issue of distance no longer an obstacle by using technology as a means of delivering mentoring, but the constraints of time and fixed s chedules are less an issue in a world that is operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Mentors are afforded a greater audience by the various online forums available as well as being able to provide mentees mentoring and assistance after school hours. With mentor stipends and salaries as well as other personnel related costs making up the bulk of mentoring budgets, districts across the country are looking for ways in which they can still provide quality mentoring while limiting personnel costs Ement oring offers one possible approach. Ementoring Unmistakably, the Internet has profoundly changed how we communicate, interact, and learn. Nowhere is this more evident th an in the field of education. From elementary schools to college and beyond, how and when students learn has taken on entirely different meanings with the proliferation of computers and technological improvements. Educational journals are now filled with terms such as e learning, distance education, virtual learning, hybrid learning environments reflecting how the educational landscape has dramatically changed in a relatively short time span. Once viewed as a passing trend, online learning has grown to include subs tantial numbers of e learners. The Sloan Consortiums recent study of 2,500 colleges and universities found that 3.5 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall of 2006 accounting for approximately 20% of all higher education students This represented a two fold increase in online students from the ir initial 2002 study (Allen & Seaman, 2007) These increasing numbers have le d to a growing research base on learning communities which
48 in turn has led to expanded knowledge within other areas such as online communities, online learning, and ementoring. As noted previously, ementoring is a relatively new form of mentoring within education. Few would suggest ementoring should replace onsite interactions between school based mentors and mentees. However, ementoring becomes a practical option in which school districts can provide additional, effective, and quality mentoring to their beginning teachers with minimal costs and greater flexibility by reducing the obstacles of time and distance Bierema and Merri am (2002) define ementoring as a computer mediated, mutually beneficial relationship between a mentor and a protg which provides learning, advising, encouraging, promoting, and modeling, that is often boundaryless, egalitarian, and qualitatively different than traditional fac e to face mentoring (p.214). Similarly, Single and Miller (2001) describe ementoring as: A relation ship that is established between a more senior individual (mentor) and a lesser skilled individual (protg), primarily using electronic communications and that is intended to develop and grow the skills, knowledge, confidence, and cultural understanding of the protg to help him or her succeed, while also assisting in the development of the mentor. (p.108) Synonymous with terms such as cybermentoring, telementoring, and online mentoring, for conciseness in this literature review the term ementoring will be used. Much of the research base surrounding ementoring in education stems from studies of ementoring occurring between teachers and K 12 students (e.g., Asgari & O'Neill, 2004; Harris, Rotenberg, & O'Brysan, 1997; O'Neill & Gomez, 1998) or ementoring in conjunction with pre service teachers (e.g., Brown & Kysilka, 2005; Price & Chen, 2003; Thoresen, 1997) However, with the proliferation of technology use in society couple d with concerns of beginning teacher retention and continued interest of the mentor s role in retaining teachers, a growing research base focused solely on the ementoring of beginning teachers is beginning to emerge (e.g.,
49 Babinski, Jones, & DeWert, 2001; Eisenman & Thornton, 1999; Gareis & Nussbaum Beach, 2007; Livengood & Moon Merchant, 2004) Bull, Harris, Lloyd, and Short hinted at the potential use of email as a form of support for beginning teachers in their 1989 article The Electronic Academical Village One of the first journal articles to explain the varied uses of email in educational settings, Bull and colleagues discussed the University of Virginias successful use of email as a new means of communicatio n as well as a form of support for student teachers within their teacher education program a mere two decades ago. The first substantial investigation using ementoring with beginning teachers was Merseths study of beginning teachers involved with the Be ginning Teacher Computer Network (BTCN) at Harvard University. Her study, which was conducted wi th 39 beginning teachers found that computer networks (email) provide d substantial emotional support to teachers who were beginning their careers in education. Using process, product and participation data on the participants, Merseth found that the network not only provided participants with greatly needed emotional support, but also promoted greater reflection on the part of the participants (Merseth, 1990) Support via e mentoring Instructional and emotional support, which are c ritical components of mentoring, have been found to be key benefits of ementoring. DeWert, Babinski, and Jones (2003) study of 12 beginning teachers within a volunteer online community found asynchronous communication via email and threaded discussions to not only be effective in providing emotional support and decreased feelings of isolation, but also provided social, practical and professional support. Klecka, Clift, and Chengs (2004) three year study exploring the possibilities of ementoring during the development of their Novice Teacher Support
50 Ementoring project found that such a format for mentoring not only provided emotional support to the participating beginning teachers but also gave them a ve nue in which to acquire additional resources for their teaching. However, Klecka and her colleagues found that in order for the online community to provide an environment that was viewed as safe by the participants and allowed them to communicate openly, trust needed to be established between and among mentors and mentees in order for the ementoring program to be successful in providing support. Similarly, after examining the content, direction, and function of 526 online exchanges among 13 novice and 11 veteran teachers, Gareis and Nussbaum Beach (2007) found that not only did the ementoring forum provide emotional support to the novice teachers, but it also allowed mentors and mentees to discuss the professional practices of beginning teachers that incl uded instructional related issues such as planning for instruction and instructional delivery as well as assessment, classroom management, and professionalism. Interestingly, their analysis on the directions and flow of the postings suggested a more compl ex communication exchange M any of the postings were broadcasted to the group rather than discussed in a one to one manner as would be predicted given the 13 mentees and 11 mentors were located in different sites across the United States and did not have a previous relationship with one another. Communication exchanges were not only comprised of individual to group, but vice versa as well as one onone giving evidence that the online forum provided a multiplicity of interactions and relationships not cha racteristic of conventional one to one mentoring relationships (Gareis & Nussbaum Beach, 2007, p.239) Thus, this forum not only provided support but it also stimulated the development of prof essional relationships among beginning teachers. Despite the small sample size of this study, the amount of data generated and repetitive patterns within the data support the potential
51 of ementoring in fostering emotional and instructional support as well building online learning communities among new teachers. Ementoring and r eflection Reflection, a foundational skill of effective teachers and a pivotal skill in the development of beginning teachers (Schn, 1988; Zeichner, 1986; Zeichner & Liston, 1987) can be fostered wit hin ementoring relationships. This is particularly true in asynchronous exchanges, where participants are afforded the ti me to think and respond thoughtfully, unlike face to face exchanges that require on the spot responses (Palloff & Pratt, 2007) Ementoring also has potential to contribute to beginning teachers development as dialogue opportunities provided online can a llow collaborative conversations to emerge. It is within these collaborative conversations that beginning teachers thinking can be elevated, particularly when questions and discussions initiated by mentors are carefully scaffold ed (Hawkes & Romiszowski, 2001; Whipp, 2003) A study by Hawkes and Romiszowski (2001) analyzed the discourse among 28 teachers in 10 Chicago urban school s and found teachers levels of reflection to be significantly greater online than in faceto face interactions. Using a seven point reflection rubric based on Simmons, Sparks, Starko, Pasc, Colton, & Grinbergs (1989) taxonomy for assessing reflective thinking, they analyzed all online and faceto face communications between the 28 parti cipating teachers Hawkes and Romiszowski found reflection scores were greater in online forums with reflection being sporadic at best when teachers were interacting face to face. They suggest that reflection must either be the goal of faceto face inte ractions or it must be planned to be a part of the process. They further suggest that online forums afford participants the time to step away
52 from the task at hand and give participants time to think and reflect without the pressures of having to respond in the moment. Similar findings were also discovered in Whipps (2003) study of 40 preservice teachers and their exchanges concerning their field experiences in urban schools. Using Hatton and Smiths (1995) categories of reflective writing, Whipp anal yzed the email exchanges among the 40 participants over the course of two semesters. After not observing high levels of reflection within the first semesters exchanges with the majority of the preservice teachers, the design and level of online support w as changed to include greater scaffolding supports (e.g., tailored questioning, increas ed individual communication). These changes resulted in substantially higher levels of reflective responses than the previous semesters exchanges. Whipp found the maj ority of the participants were writing at a level Hatton and Smith categorized as descriptive reflection where they were analyzing reasons particular events and situations within their classrooms and schools were occurring, unlike the previous semester s responses that entailed more reporting of events. Although neither of these studies (Hatton & Smith, 1995; Whipp, 2003) pertained specifically to novice teachers, their findings hold strong implications in how re flection can be fostered within an ementoring relationship, as well as how structured supports have potential for deepening mentees levels of reflection. E ssential ementoring c omponents. Although the ementoring literature is in its infancy, several key components have been found to be essential in making ementoring effective and lasting. Not surprisingly, many of these components mirror those in the general mentoring literature. Gentry, Denton, and Kurzs (2008) recent synthesis of 14 technologically based mentoring studies found: ( a) time to access, reflect, and respond to other members and/or facilitator; ( b) program structure; ( c) trust among member s and facilitator/s; and ( d) a sense of
53 community to be critical factors in the success with the m ajority of the ementoring programs they examined (Gentry, Denton, & Kurz, 2008) Time. TLINC, one of the largest ementoring initiatives to date, involved 734 experienced and beginning teachers, project pe rsonnel, technology coordinators and evaluators and spanned two years A 2007 evaluation of the initiative found time played a critical role within many facets of the project. Not only was time found to be a necessity for facilitator s to establish trust and rapport, it was also necessary to create a viable online support system that reflected the participants evolving needs Additionally, beginning teachers lack of time was found to negatively impact many of the online interactions. For instance, larg e cohort numbers ( e.g., 30 members) provided a wide range of responses per online cohort, but at the same time provided too many responses for participants to be able to read and respond with great thought and reflection. With so little time, teachers als o wanted more one stop shop kinds of resources that would provide them quick access to specific resources and strategies rather than discussions that were more abstract or academic in nature (Metiri Group, 2007) Trust and c ommunity Trust, a recurrent theme in the induction and mentoring litera ture was also found to play a key role in several ementoring projects (Babinski et al., 2001; Klecka et al., 2005; Metiri Group, 2007; Thoresen, 1997) Mentees often noted that ementoring forums allowed them to se ek advice from others without being judged as incompetent or ignorant by their school based colleagues. Furthermore, a sense of community was forged as a result of the online forums and afforded many mentees a safe venue for venting their frustrations reg arding particular s chool situations and personnel without feeling vulnerable or at risk in looking ill prepared and inadequate to teach (Babinski et al., 2001; Bierema & Merriam, 2002; Harris & Figg, 2000; Klecka et al., 2005; Metiri Group, 2007; Thoresen, 1997)
54 Structures and s caffolding. The structure of the ementoring community and the instruction supports provided to teachers have also been found to influence the success of ementoring programs (Palloff & Pratt, 2007; Swan, 2003) Structure entails clear expectations of the participants (Swan, 2003) as well as guidelines that provide the ground rules for member participation and interaction (Palloff & Pratt, 2005) Mentors as facilitators, play crucial roles in establishing the structure of the ementoring venue by making expectations and guidelines clear to the mentees, as well as orchestrating meaningful discussions and activities (Harris & Figg, 2000; Paulus & Scherff, 2008) Ementoring forums cannot be expected to function well under a laissezfaire kind of atmosphere, however Paulus and Scherff (2008) found in their analysis with the onli ne discu ssion of 15 preservice teachers that too much structure and focus on specific topics stifled the more pressing needs of emotional support and dayto day survival skills that the teachers wanted and needed. Their results suggest that a balance needs to be found between structure and flexibility when constructing ementoring programs. Striking a balance. Much has been discovered surrounding the potentials and pitfalls of emento ring in the past two decade s. Greater reflection on the part of participants, em otional support, the ability to communicate 24/7, the ability to share resources, are only a few of the numerous benefits of providing mentoring via a technology platform. Conversely, members of the ementoring community can feel disconnected, too readily accessible, as well as frustrated with the lack of physical and verbal clues that online communications cant provide. Most researchers suggest that ementoring should not be the only form of support first year teachers receive and that faceto face intera ctions are a vital part of the support package beginning teachers need and want (Klecka et al., 2005; Price & Chen, 2003) Furthermore, t he overall effect of ementoring upon the retention of beginning teachers and student achievement is still
55 unknown, but as ementoring becomes more commonplace in education, greater knowledge will help inform these growing concerns within education (Gentry et al., 2008) Kimura (2002) cautions educators who utilize technology that, no matter what technology we employ, it is still the human experience that is most important. Students learn from teachers, the ir peers, and knowledge experts. No one learns from a computer (Kimura, 2002, p.1) Thus, it is imperative to not lose sight of the human element when mentoring online. Ementoring must strike a balance between its utility a nd effectiveness in conjuncti on with the people involved in the mentoring relationship. Summary Some researchers project that half of the teaching workforce will retire between 2000 and 2010 (Johnson, Berg et a l., 2005) The current issues of retention, attrition, induction and mentoring will become even more accentuated given these current predictions. The imperative to retain new teachers becomes critical in stabilizing the high percentages that are leaving the field during the first five years of their teaching careers. Compounding this issue is the large number of alternatively certified teachers entering the teaching workforce and the large proportion of this group that are recruited to teach in high nee d schools. Lack of veteran teachers with high levels of expertise leaves many districts, particularly those located in rural and urban populations, looking for alternative forms of support and mentoring. Further exacerbating the issue of limited teacher expertise are tight budget years that have districts scrambling to find alternative support systems that can be provided cost effectively. Comprehensive induction programs with strong mentoring components have shown to be effective in retaining new teacher s (Fulton et al., 2005; Ingersoll & Kralik, 2004; Smith & Ingersoll, 2004) With the abundant use of technology, ementoring has shown promise as a viable means of mentoring beginning teachers (Brad y & Schuck, 2005; DeWert, Babinski, &
56 Jones, 2003; Merseth, 1990, 1991) However, with its relative infancy as a form of mentoring in education, effective components of ementoring still need further exploration as a means of suppor ting beginning teachers, particularly those in urban schools. The available professional literature come s together to demonstrate the complexities involved in creating a meaningful mentoring and induction experience, particularly for teachers who are alter natively certified. We have known for some time that mentoring and induction take many forms. Additionally, we know that mentoring is in many senses an art form and not just a skill or job assignment. But even with all of its complexities and layers, e m entoring emerges from the lite rature as a promising, new alternative means of delivering me ntoring to beginning teachers. The Mentors and Online Support for Teachers program was created as a means of providing a tailored induction program that included fa ceto face and online mentoring components to eight alternatively certified teachers. T he MOST online component was developed and tailored by the researcher to fit the needs of the eight beginning teachers and was delivered online over the course of the 200708 school year What follows is a detailed description of the MOST ementoring component along with a program evaluation of the elements within the program that were found to be effective and useful, as well as those that were not effective in providing a qualit y online mentoring experience. This program evaluation adds to our knowledge of ementoring as a component of induction programs. Additionally, it provide s insight into the necessary elements needed to make ementoring a useful means of support for alternatively certified beginning teachers.
57 CHAPTER 3 PROGRAM DESCRIPTION The University of Florida Mentors and Online Support for Teachers (MOST) The University of Florida (UF) Mentors and Online Support for Teachers (MOST) program was created as a means of providing a tailored induction program that included faceto face and online mentoring components to eight alternatively certified teachers who graduated from the first cohort of the Duval County Transition to Teaching Elementary Education Apprentice ship Program (TTT) program in 2007. These eight beginning alternative route (AR) teachers currently teach in five low SES schools within the Duval County Public School (DCPS) system. The DCPS system, located in Jacksonville, Florida is the one of the lar gest school systems in the state operating 160 schools serving 125,000 students, and employing 8,715 teachers within its 918 square miles (Duval County Public School System, 2008) Participant D escription Six of the eight beginning teachers were female with two of those being the only African Americans in the group. The remaining six teachers were Caucasian. The teachers shared a range of ages as well as previous professional backgrounds and experiences. The youngest at 26, held a degree in criminology and was still active in the military as a reserve. The oldest member of the cohort was 53, held an MBA and had over 10 years work experience in human resource management. Participant demographi cs are reported in Table 1. The only males in the group both had technology backgrounds which interest ingly beca me a commodity of sorts as they were able to use their skills in exchange for materials and extra support that were not necessar ily given to those without these technological skills and abilities.
58 Preparation Description These beginning teachers received preparation as apprentices in the same AR cohort the year prior. This preparation entailed five courses: Teaching Reading in the Elementary School; Teaching and Learning in Elementary Classr ooms; Guided Inquiry in Elementary Education; Practices in Childhood Educat i on ; and Learning Theory and Assessment. Syllabi for the five courses are included in Appendix A These five classes in tegrated teaching methods, effective practices, classroom management, and lesson planning over the course of a year and were taken while simultaneously completing a yearlong field experience side by side with the elementary teacher of record. Throughout their four daya week field experience, a coach with 10 years of elementary teaching experience, employed through UF but residing in Jacksonville, provided support to each apprentice via lesson observation, planning, and individual meetings. These coaches spent t hree days a week in their assigned school. One day per week was reserved for one of the five classes the prospective teachers were required to take over the course of 12 months. The se classes were taught by the coach as well as instructors affiliated with UF and local area universities. Guest speakers were invited throughout the coursework to share their knowledge regarding particular subject areas or topics. Since the TTT program pays apprentices a stipend as well as all tuition and book fees, all apprentices upon graduating from the program and passing of the required state certification exams are obligated to teach for three years in a highneeds school where at least 40% of the students are on free or reduced lunch. School Based and District Mento r Support Although each school offers varying degrees of resources and support ( e.g., principal, assistant principal, read ing coach), the majority of the teachers did not have consistent or readily available sources to access. All eight beginning teachers were assigned a school based mentor
59 by the building administrator for the 200708 school year, but as evident from several conversations during the face to face meetings and their final interviews, few had contact with their assigned mentors Two primary reasons cited for this limited contact were lack of time on both the mentees and mentors parts to meet as well as grade level disconnects/differences where the mentors location was in a grade level wing or section of the school that wasnt near the grade level class of the mentee. Both reasons have been found to be common obstacles in establishing and sustaining mentoring relationships and are frequently noted in the mentoring and induction research ( e.g., Hudson & Beutel, 2007; Johnson, 2007; Moir, 2003; Rippon & Martin, 2006). An example of this disconnect was evidenced with the assigned mentor of one of the mentees who not only was the assistant principal at her school but was only at the school on a part time basis. Another example was with an assig ned mentor who was in a different grade level and located in a different wing of the school from the mentee. Clearly accessibility is key to mentoring relationships but when mentors are only available three out of the six hours of school or are located s everal wings over, the relationship breaks down and mentees are often left to their own devices for obtaining mentoring. Additionally, qualified mentors are difficult to find at the various schools due to a limited numbers of teachers with the necessary expertise from which to recruit. One of the schools in which two of the beginning teachers were presently teaching had 17 new teach ers for the 200506 school year, making up over one third of the teaching staff. Similarly, another school with one of the eight beginning teachers lost 35% of its staff the same year. Recruiting the remaining veteran teachers as mentors to the novice teachers was also problematic. DCPS mentors are currently paid a stipend of $50 a month for their mentoring of TTT graduates Such minimal
60 compensation makes the task of finding and matching qualified mentors to mentees even more difficult. DCPS does provide support in the form of mentor consultants to TTT program graduates who need additional support in the d istrict. These c onsultants are retired teachers who previously worked in the DCPS system so they are attuned to the specific needs of beginning teachers in Duval County. Interestingly, I was not made aware of this resource until the school year was almost over. W hen the eight teachers were asked to name their mentor consultant in a post interview email, only four knew they had a consultant and only three of the eight teachers were able to name the consultants by name (MOST p ersonal communication, April 23, 2008). Adminis trative support, most notably in the form of school principals, ranged from being consistently supportive to providing sporadic support in two schools that had five of the eight teachers on its staff. These sentiments were expressed in several interviews as well as within the survey comments writ ten by several of the teachers. With principals playing instrumental roles in creating supportive cultures that foster successful induction programs, their importance cant be over stated. All too often beginning teachers hesitate to ask for assistance from those who play evaluative roles in their school settings (Single & Single, 2005) and yet the se professionals are quite often the very people they should be turning to for support. The MOST program was created to provide a customized induction program to the eight beginning teachers and to also enhance the varying levels of support found among the five elementary schools. The ementoring component was designed to provide varying levels of instructional as well emotional/psychological support. Both of these types of support have been found to be critical in the first years of a teachers career (Feiman Nemser, 2003; Gold, 1996; Stansbury & Zimmerman, 2000; Yendol Hoppey & Dana, 2007)
61 Although numerous benefits of ementoring mirror the benefits of face to face mentoring, there are a number of benefits that only ementoring can provide: a greater numbe r of opportunities to interact due to computer s being accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (Heider, 2005; O'Neill, Weiler, & Sha, 2003; Price & Chen, 2003) ; greater opportunities to reflect and respond due to the control of response time in an asynchronous environment (Bierema & Merriam, 2002; Hawkes & Romiszowski, 2001; Tinker, 2001; Whipp, 2003) ; and a record of the interactions and discussions of the participants for documentation and analysis (O'Neill et al., 2003; Paulus & Scherff, 2008) Gr aduates of the T TT program were given the option to use the MOST program as part of their beginning teacher induction requirements for Duval County and also use the sessions as credit towards the University of Floridas (UF) Masters degree program. Eight of the 15 origi nal graduates opted to use the two components to meet their beginning teacher requirements instead of participating in the Duval Count y beginning teacher training, with three of the eight also using their sessions as credit hours. Their decision to use MO ST in satisfying their induction requirements was a critical initial step in establishing buyin to the ementoring component, a key element needed to establish any successful mentoring relationship (Bierema & Merriam, 2002; Charalambos, Michalinos, & Chamberlain, 2004; Wildman et al., 1992) When beginning teacher s are forced into mentoring relationships due to district requirements, their sense of empowerment and control is greatly diminished. This arrangement f urther fuels the power hierarchy often found within school districts. By giving mente e s a choice of mentoring programs, their sense of control over the mentoring arrangement allows them a greater sense of control, empowerment, and equalized decision ma king abilities.
62 A variety of coaches provided online mentoring for these eight first year teachers with the majority of mentoring provided by the MOST site creator Three experienced teachers with over 30 years of combined teaching and supervisor y experiencethe UF professor in charge of overseeing UFs involvement with Duval Countys TTT program, the UF liaison from the 200607 school year, and the sites facilitator/creator (who is also the researcher) delivered support, guidance, and mentoring prima rily via a variety of online communication forums and interactive learning sessions that occurred both in person and online. Using Moodle an open source, online course management system (CMS) created for virtual learning environments and housed on the UF College of Educations server, the MOST ementoring component was created September, 2007. Historically, the majority of ementoring programs have relied predominantly on email exchanges as a means of providing support and mentoring, but the use of the Moodle CMS offered greater versatility A CMS provides an instructor with a set of tools and a framework that allows the relatively easy creation of online course content and the subsequent teaching and management of that course, including various interactio ns with students taking the course (Trotter, 2008, p.21) and allows the site to be customized and used in a number of ways that support productive, online interactions. Although there are host of interactive options offered by Moodles design, MOST predominantly used Moodles forum option as the means of delivering information and providing a platform in which the eight teachers could respond and interact with one another during the monthly sessions In addition, they could communicate via the sev eral c ommunication options that will be explained in further detail in the following chapters Veenmans ( 1984) seminal work on the problems and issues faced by beginning teachers served as a guide in creating the online support framework and supportive literatu re for the
63 beginning teachers (Boreen & Niday, 2000; FeimanNemser, 2001b; Ganser, 1999; Gold, 1996) T he topics for the MOST monthly forums were outlined and used as a starting point in creating the site (Boreen & Niday, 2000; FeimanNemser, 2001b; HulingAustin, 1992; Veenman, 1984) Veenmans analyses of 83 studies published between 19601984 on the perceived problems of beginning teachers found that the problems of disci pline, student motivation, student individualization, assessment, parental interactions, organization of class work, insufficient or inadequate materials and supplies, and dealing with the individual problems of students were the eight most commonly perc ei ved problems of teachers beginning their teaching careers (Veenman, 1984) Building on Veenmans work, r esearchers such as Feiman Nemser, HulingAustin, ODell, and others have found these same issues still haunt 21st century beginning teachers (Feiman Nemser, 2001b; Gold, 1996; HulingAustin, 1992; Kestner, 1994; Odell & Ferraro, 1992; Stansbury & Zimmerman, 2000) Drawing upon this research as well as research on online communities where trust (Chubbuck et al., 2001; Klecka, 2003; Tinker, 2001) limited group size (Charalambos et al., 2004; Chubbuck et al., 2001) expert pedagogy (Chubbuck et al., 2001; Palloff & Pratt, 2007), safety in being able to discuss sensitive issues (Charalambos et al., 2004; Klecka, 2003; Merseth, 1991) and meaningful activities that encourage reflection and discussion (Chubbuck et al., 2001; Kimball, 1995; Tinker, 2001) are key elements in creating effecti ve online learning environments, the preliminary format of MOST was established. The MOST site was originally designed using a cluster format where resources were grouped according to their use (e.g., articles communication, templates ). A customizable report option allowed reports to be generate d that informed the site facilitator regarding how fre quently components were used. These reports provided insight in to the beginning teachers usage of the
64 site, as well as the particular resource s that were used As a result, over the course of the yea r the site was refined and tailored with resourc es that were more apt to be used Monthly interactive sessions were created to build upon the beginning teachers knowledge base by having them collect data on their students and classrooms, actively engage in group discussions, and reflect upon a variety of topics and concerns The initial sessions were created based on Veenmans research, but as the weeks went on, the remaining sessions were tailored to fit the needs and concerns the participants expressed via online as well as during the faceto face meetings that occurred monthly. The nine forums included sessions and tasks on: classroom management, communication styles, conducting readers workshops, describing their current teaching situation/environm ent, resolutions and goals, creating effective centers, technology in their schools, and assessment and accountability. See Appendix I for a description of the nine forums. Due to many of the eight teachers being unable to observe other teachers wit hin th eir school or district, four of the sessions involved viewing and responding to video clips of effective teaching from the Annenberg Foundation (See www.learner.org). The foundation offers a large video library that in cludes footage on model teaching in K 12 classrooms as well as teachers reflecting and commenting on their teaching practices. Similar to ementoring, using video cases as a means of professional development and instruction is a relatively new, but promis ing practice as a means of support for the beginning teacher (Brophy, 2004; Derry, Siegel, Stampen, & the STEP Research Group, 2002 ; Segal, Demarest, & Prejean, 2006; Sherin & van Es, 2005) Sherin (2004) notes that not only does the use of video technologies in teacher education afford the viewer the luxury of time to view and reflect upon what they have seen, but videos also provide teachers the means of viewing
65 alternative teaching strategies as well as a forum in which to engage in fine grained analyses of classroom practice (p.14). Although far from ideal, the videos provided much needed examples of quality teaching geared for specific subjects and grade levels. While providing instructional support was a ke y goal with the MOST ementoring component, providing emotional support w as just as important. Due to teaching in five different school locations, the beginning teachers could not develop a close knit cohort which could help provide this support Keeping these circumstances in mind as well as research findings on the isolation beginning teachers feel as new faculty (Boreen & Niday, 2000; Colbert & Wolff, 1992; Heider, 2005; HulingAustin, 1992; Rogers & Babinski, 2002) seven public communication venues were created on the MOST site: Announcements; The Teachers' Lounge; Katie and Lisa's Thoughts and Wonderings ; The Suggestion Box ; Get one, Give one IDEAS!!!; Great Teacher Books to Read!; and Words of Wisdom and Inspiration. The public communication options allowed the participants to interact with each other and with the experienced teachers by posting suggestions, questions, frus trations, joys, and communicate in general. A s pecial communication option, Just In Time Mentorin g, allowed the beginning teachers to send private, urgent requests for assistance or advice to one of the three experienced teachers mentioned previously. R equests were initially responded to withi n 48 hours by one of the three and then monitored to ensure the issue was being addressed. Although email was not promoted as a means of communicating with the experienced teachers, it too was used as a communicati on option and became the default communication option when teachers were pressed for time and needed a quick means of communicating. A sample of the communications options as displayed within the site is included in Appendix B
66 Finally, the MOST site ser ved as a resource bank that consisted of multiple resource clusters. Each of the clusters contained links to strategies, websites, and recommended books/articles for subject area lesson plans and strategies, instructional methods and teaching strategies, management help, assessment, parent conf erences, and special education. The au dio and video library contained video clips and pod casts of effective teaching practices that completed the site by providing real life examples of exemplary teaching pract ices and techniques. The site was updated and expanded to re flect the needs of the group as well as to provide easy access to recent issues, trends, and str ategies. Monthly face to face meetings allowed the group to meet informally for additional training a nd professional development that complemented the online component. The two hour afternoon sessions were conducted by the prior years UF liaison and MOST site facilitator and were held at the Duval County School Board office. Meetings were structured a long the lines of the online component where guest speakers, presentations, and activities were based upon the needs and requests of the beginning teachers. The three experienced teachers discuss ed items to be covered a week or two prior to the monthly me eting with the UF liaison before the program for a particular face to face session was finalized National School Reform Faculty (NSRF) protocols were frequently used to enhance group communication and promote critical and reflective thinking surrounding the various issues and topics discussed. An example of NSRF protocols is included in Appendix C. Sessions were scheduled for two hours but many stayed after the conclusion of the sessions to talk with fellow beginning teachers or with the UF liaison and MOST site facilitator. These informal conversations not only provided fellow graduates a chance to directly
67 communicate with one another, but also allowed the two experienced teachers the opportunity to provide direct assistance, and inform ed their next steps in planning future online sessions. Sharon FeimanNemser (2001) reminds us that New teachers have two jobs they have to teach and they have to learn how to teac h (p.1026). We designed the MOST ementoring program in hopes of easing the beginning te achers transition into this paradoxical world. Rena Palloff, a n educational leader in the area of online learning communities reminds us that the elements of creating an effective and supportive online community are rather simple: honesty; responsive ness; relevance; respect; openness; and empowerment (Palloff & Pratt, 2007, p.22) As the creator of the MOST ementoring program i t is my hope these six elements were experienced by the eight beginning teachers during the 200708 school year as MOST participants.
68 Table 3 1. Participant demographics Name Initials Age Sex Race Previous Professional Training/Experience Candy CK 26 F Black Criminology Laura LM 27 F White Business Management Carl CB 28 M White Communications/Te chnology Adam AP 29 M White Computer Technology Kathi KZ 33 F White Museum Studies Opal OQ 34 F Black Legal Studies Irene IK 45 F White Construction Management Tina TS 53 F White Business Management
69 CHAPTER 4 PROGRAM EVALUATION M ETHODS The purpose of this evaluation is to understand the effectiveness of the MOST ementoring program that was created over the course of the 200708 school year for eight alternatively certified beginning teachers currently teaching in Jacksonville, Florida. My primary goal as the ementoring facilitator was to develop a tailored mentoring experience that provided effective and timely online support to the eight beginning teachers that was fashioned and shaped around their needs. A secondary goal was that MOST would eventually be institutionalized by DCPS and become a viable component of the DCPS beginning teacher induction program for alternatively certified teachers. MOST was developed to provide beginning teachers with a substantive inducti on option that was geared to t heir individual needs and classroom situations when compared to the districts induction program Guiding the evaluation and research methods were the following core research questions : 1. H ow can ementoring be used to enhance beginning teacher support and the induction process? 2. How can ementoring be used in conjunction with face to face interactions (meetings and school based mentoring) to enhance beginning teacher support? 3. What elements of an ementoring program promote and/or hinder alternatively certified beginning teachers ability to interact, reflect, engage, and implement their learning? Summative vs. Formative Evaluation According to Patton (1997), formative evaluations focus on ways of improving and enhancing programs rather than rendering defini ti ve judgment about effectiveness (p. 67). Typical questions surrounding formative evaluations include: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the program? How can the program be improved? Whats working well and what isnt working well?
70 What are the reactions of clients, staff, and others to the program? What are their perceptions about what should be changed ? (Patton, 1986) Summative evaluations are aimed at determining program results and effects, especially for the purposes of making major decisi ons about program continuation, expansion, reduction, and funding (p. 44) and ask the questions: To what extent did the program achieve its goals? Was the program appropriately effective for all beneficiaries? What are the program stakeholders judgments of program operations, processes, and outcomes? What were the important side effects? Is the program sustainable and transportable? (Stufflebeam, 2001) With this terminology in mind, a formative evaluation was chosen over a summative evaluation. Some characteristics of the evaluation lent themselves to a summative form of eval uation as I was also interested in MOSTs overall effectiveness, outcomes, and whether it should be continued as an induction option for future beginning teachers. However, for the ove rall purpose of this study, a formative evaluation was determined to be the best evaluation option to examine the three research questions. This program evaluation sought to explore these formative questions by conducting semi structured participant int erviews t o capture the teachers thoughts on what was most helpful to them, least helpful, improvements that could be made, and what would the y like to have seen more of within the MOST ementoring component. Additionally, surveys were administered to eval uate the effectiveness of both the online and face to face MOST components. Data Collection Surveys and interviews of the eight teachers at the conclusion of the program in the spring of 2008 were conducted to evaluate MOSTs effectiveness as a means of mentoring support.
71 Interview questions were created by the researcher so as to capture not only their opinion and insights concerning the MOST ementoring component, but to also provide information on their experiences with the MOST faceto face component, background information, other forms of mentoring and support they received during the year, and future goals and plans. The t eacher interview protocol is included in Appendix D Initially, all questions were to be conducted via semi structured interview s, but due to the number of interview questions as well as some questions lending themselves to a survey format, they were removed from the semi structured interview protocol. These questions were expanded into 65 questions and divided into six survey cat egories: ( 1) Preparation; ( 2) Support; ( 3) Teaching Environment; ( 4) Ability; ( 5) MOST Onl ine ; and ( 6) MOST Face to Face. The survey was created using SurveyMonkey.com a web based survey program and administered online during the final faceto face meet ing. Comments could also be made after each section allowing for elaboration of their responses. S urvey questions and responses are included in Appendix E The UF liaison and UF professor assisted in refining the survey quest ions prior to administration Errors such as sampling, coverage, and nonresponse that can occur when creating and administering surveys (Dillman, 2007) did not pertain due to the small size of the group as well as the web survey s being administered in person during the final meeting with all of the teachers. However, with the quick creation of the survey, there is a possibility that measurement error could have occurred. Dillman defines measurement error as: The result of poor questio n wording or questions being presented in such a way that inaccurate or uninterpretable answers are obtained (Dillman, p. 11). Questions such as how did the ementoring component help you become more aware of your teaching style as well as help you cre ate effective centers left defining teaching style and effective up to each individual
72 teacher. Similarly, a question pertaining to what extent were fellow apprentices a source of support to the beginning teachers could have been interpreted as the group they were a part of last year as an apprentice or as the group of current apprentices currently in their schools. Fortunately, the survey results were not the primary source of data. Survey questions should be reworked for clarity if administered with future programs. Teacher and administrative interviews were conducted via phone and were typically conducted in the afternoon or evening due to teacher schedules and recorded with a specialized phone conversation recording system. Interviews ranged from 61 minutes to 132 minutes in length. Once the interviews were completed, the tapes were transcribed over the course of several weeks resulting in 155 pages of transcri bed teacher interviews and 85 pages of administrative interviews Details on indi vidual interview length can be found in Appendix F I was initially concerned that conducting the interviews by phone might make the teachers hesitant to be open and reflective with their responses. However, quite the opposite occurred. It was evident during the interview process the eight beginning teachers were more willing to talk openly and in some cases spill the beans on certain aspects of their training and experiences as novice teachers in Duval County. Teacher interviews were read three to f our times by the researcher during the analysis process. The initial reading of the interviews created the foundational outline which I continually refined as the interviews were reread. A spreadsheet was created with the six interview sections and th e n ames of the eight teachers. When key phrases and patterns emerged via the repeated readings of the transcripts, they were noted in each section as well as which teacher had made that particular comment or noted that particular element. Theme s and pat tern s that emerged are included in Appendix F In rereading the transcripts and survey results,
73 comments and elements began to merge and form the numerous themes and subthemes Administrative interviews were not analyzed as they were used as a means of providing information about certain program fe atures as well as give the background and experience of the administrator. O nline data consisting of activity reports, postings a nd responses, emails, and a personal journal kept by the researcher during the proce ss provided further data sources that contributed to t he validity of the eva luation. J ournal excerpt s are included in Appendix G By using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods I was able to gain an understanding of the many facets of MO ST; but in particular, I was able to capture a rich understanding of the effective as well as ineffective elements of the MOST ementoring program. A sking such detailed questions within the interviews as well as using the survey to pull out the more ge ner alized questions about MOST I was able to gain insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the MOST ementoring component s which can inform future ementoring programs Not only do the findings help to answer the formative questions of how the program can be improved, as well as it s strengths and weaknesses; but they also provide summative data that answer the question, Should this program be continued? Data Analysis The key to any meaningful evaluation is knowing the overarching goal of the program bei ng evaluated (Patton, 1986; Weiss, 1972) Patton reminds us: An evaluation is perceived as valid in a global sense that includes the overall approach used, the stance of the evaluator, the nature of the process, the design, and the way in which results are reported (Patton, 1986, p. 222). However, without having any formal analysis of the different data sources ( e.g., teacher int erviews, surveys, journals ) gleaned over the course of eight months, an evaluation of the programs effectiveness would be based primarily on the opinion and perceptions of the researcher. For this reason, an inductive thema tic analysis of surveys and interviews of the eight
74 teachers was chosen as the best means of determining the overall effectiveness of the MOST ementoring component in providing support and mentoring to the beginning teachers. Thematic analysis, also know n as interpretive content analysis (Schwandt, 1997) refers to the process of making explicit structures and me anings that are embodied in a text (Gavin, 2006, p. 555) During thematic analysis, data reduction occurs as the data sources are continually re read and themes and patterns begin to emerge. Data consisted of the eight teacher interview transcripts, surveys, websit e reports, and the researchers journal, with t he interview transcripts providing the primary source of data in which the themes were derived. By using a technique similar to Glaser and Strauss constant comparative method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) the eight interviews and survey results were coded inductively for key ideas and statements. These data segments were then compared to other data segments fou nd within the same interview. This analysis provided the foundational themes from which the final themes ultimately emerged. Releva nt segments from each interview were then compared to other teacher interview segments for similar themes and patterns. Themes and patterns became more defined as I interacted with the various data sources (Patton, 2002) resulting in the eight overarching themes of: ( 1) E ssential Elements; ( 2) Utility; ( 3) Weaknesses; ( 4) Time; ( 5) Technological Aspects; ( 6) Contradictions; ( 7) Insights, Recommendations, and Ideas; and ( 8) S econd Year Wishes. I nformed consent of participants as required by the University of Floridas Institution al Review Board (IRB) and DCPS was obtained from all participants with a blanket IRB acquired from UFs Lastinger Center at th e beginning of the school year. The IRB consent letter is included in Appendix H Committed to transforming schools and school cultures, the Lastinger Center for Learning is involved in a multitude of initiatives that are embedded within a
75 number of highpoverty schools in s everal Florida counties, one of those being Duval County. Two of these schools were the location for the training of the eight apprentices during the 200607 school year. (For more information on the Lastinger Center see http://education.ufl.edu/centers/Lastinger/about.html ). Chapter Five presents the findings of the evaluation. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data result in g in eight overarching themes: ( 1) Essential Elements; ( 2) Utility; ( 3) Weaknesses; ( 4) Time; ( 5) Technological Aspects; ( 6) Contradictions; ( 7) Insights, Recommendations and Ideas; and ( 8) Second Year Wishes. Multiple sub themes also emerged from the evaluation and are included in the evaluation findings.
76 CHAPTER 5 EVALUATION FINDINGS This chapter presents the findings from the survey and interview analysis. Using thematic analysis, eig ht major themes emerged that responded to the research questions : 1. How can ementoring be used to enhance beginning teacher support and the induction process? 2. How can ementoring be used in conjunction with face to face interactions (meetings and school based mentoring) to enhance beginning teacher support? 3. What elements of an ementoring program promote and/ or hinder alternatively certified beginning teachers ability to interact, reflect, engage, and implement their learning? The eight major themes were: ( 1) Essential Elements; ( 2) Utility; ( 3) Weaknesses ; ( 4) Time; ( 5) Technological Aspects; ( 6) Contradi ctions; ( 7) Insights, Recommendations and Ideas; and ( 8) Second Year Wishes. N umerous subthemes emerged within the eight overarching themes Essential Elements Because the focal point of this evaluation is the extent to which the MOST ementoring component was a viable means of providing support to the eight alternatively certified beginning teachers, as well as determining what components of MOST were the most effective, many of the questions pertained as to how well the site met their needs and expect ati ons as beginning teachers. While all eight beginning teachers noted they would recommend the MOST induction program over the DCPS induction pro gram option, there were certain foundational elements of the MOST online component that played key roles in the utility of the site. Two sub themes emerged as essential elements: the role of trust and providing meaningful support. The Role of Trust Critical to creating positive effective online learning communities is establishing a sense of trust among its memb ers and administrators (Bierema & Merriam, 2002; Klecka, 2003; Klecka, Cheng, & Clift, 2004; Tinker, 2001) I was fortunate that trust within the group was well
77 established when I met them in September, 2007. Two key elements played critical roles in having established trust among the eight beginning teachers : ( 1) the group of eight had spent the previous 12 months together as apprentices and ( 2) one of the UF liaisons from the year prior was the facilitator of th e monthly face to face meetings and also interacted with them online within the MOST site as well as via email. Social presence, defined as the ability to portray oneself as a real person in an online environment (Palloff & Pratt, 2007, p. 4), becomes a fundamental element in how well individuals interact and establish trust within an online community. Online members who have never met one another previously face an increased sense of risk since they must establish rapport with people they dont know and then be expected to communicate and offer to discuss possibly sensitive issues (Paulus & Scherff, 2008) With the eight teachers having spent the year prior together as apprentices, the issue of establishing a social presence was not an issue since they had a years worth of past face to face interactions to draw upon. Having worked together previously, the eight teachers knew that online personas were in fact a mirror of the person they had known the year prior, thus making interactions online more of a continuance of their past years relationships. When the ementoring sessions began in September, trust within the group was shown by several of their comments concerning the support they received from their group members. When asked if she would recommend the MOST induction program to other first year teachers, Candy expressed the importance of the cohort and its ongoing support: I would say the UF program. I dont care too much for the Duval program. I went through all the workshops and theyIf we had to choose between people that I knew, got along with, worked with for a whole year, why would I not stay with that group of people and get the support and keep it going? And with the Duva l County program, you are with a hundred teachers that you dont know, that you wont see, that you say you will email, but you wont. Youll never see them again. (CK 495500)
78 Kathis comments in particular were quite poignant: There is something comfor ting about seeing people you have worked with for a year. There is a comfort level there. It is always nice to hear what is going on in other schools. Because we did work so closely together for that year, there is a trust thereI dont have to pretend to be somebody I am not in front of those people. They have seen me, you know, after I got hit by a student last year, they know me well enough to fill in the blanks when I am talking. It is an interesting situation. We function really well as team, som e of us better than others. (KZ 692701) But even with Kathis great sense of trust with her colleagues, she also faced a curious, self imposed dilemma of being disloyal to her school by talking about the issues she was facing: Unfortunately I dont speak to them as often as I would like. It has become a situation where I am not at the school where the majority of them are so communication is difficult, which is ironic since we all have email. I consider them to all be good friends. I know that if I need ed something I could contact them but I am so consumed with what is going on in my school that sometimes it seems like it would beI hate to say disloyallike to go outside the school to talk about something that isnt going right. It is sort of an odd me ntality, not that the schools are competing against each other, but I dont know. (KZ 491498) No one else expressed this sense of disloyalty related to contacting others outside of their schools. However Kathi had noted several times during her intervi ew that she had a close r elationship with her principal. Perhaps this was the reason for Kathis feeling like she would be betraying her principals trust by letting others know that things werent perfect within her schools walls. Kathis usage of the Just in Time Mentoring communication option (which was the sole private communication option besides email) was the highest in the group, which also might be a reflection of her hesitancy to make her concerns public. The closeness and alliance between Kathi and her principal was not present in the remaining seven teachers with most expressing a sense of negativity toward their principal which created a negative teaching environment overall: If youre talking about a positive environment, I dont think we have a very good one. Yeah, theres meetings where shes just been just completely negative, not yelling at us, but not t alking in a tone that anyone was to listen to. Just over all not praising the teachers
79 like as a whole. But, you know, at the beginni ng of the year shes all about being positive and then for some reason that just leaves her. (LM 392406) It is very difficult working at my school. The atmosphere is a negative from administration down to the students. Teachers are not collaborating or e ven getting along for that matter. Changes had to be made and people have a hard time accepting them and adapting. There's backbiting, tempers flaring, unprofessional behaviors, laziness and cheating. If it were not for the three year stipulation and the c hildren, I would not want to be a part of this organization. (Survey comment 5156) Another example of distrust with the DCPS surfaced after several lengthy emails to Tina in January. I had responded to her over the course of several weeks in a round of emails concerning her principal s making some sudden, major changes with grade restructuring and curriculum within Tinas school and grade level. Throughout the preceding months I had been copying the UF liaison and UF professor with the majority of ema il responses I made with Tina and the others but had only recently included the TTT coordinator with email responses so as to help keep her abreast as to the nature of the email exchanges occurring within the group. Although this same person was privy to the interactions on the site, I had not been including her in the majority of email exchanges. Tina quickly expressed her concern about the facilitator being included in the loop for fear that it would come back to her principal: Also, is there a reason why ________ is being copied on the e mails? I didn't reply to all in my response to you. I don't want to get into any trouble over all of this. Life in school is tough enough right now with all that is going on!! (TS email correspondence 1 2808) Intere stingly, this same us vs. them mentality surfaced and was expressed by other teachers when we administered the online survey during our last faceto face meeting. Questions such as, Who else is going to see this? Will anyone from the district see w hat I am writing? etc. were asked before they proceeded to type in comments in the survey sections. Although I never had the opportunity to find out why some of them felt this way, research on the experiences of first year teachers (e.g., Corcoran, 1981; Flores, 2006; Klecka et al., 2005) finds they feel continually judged on their novice pedagogical skills while being held to the standards
80 of experienced teachers. Additionally, due to being on annual contract sta tus until their third complete year of satisfactory teaching, many experience feelings of vulnerability as true job security is several years away. Corcoran (1981) explains the situation as: What complicates this inevitable shock of not knowing for the beginning teacher is the need to appear competent and confident. Even though one is a beginner, one is also a teacher. Implicit in the role of teacher is the notion of being knowledgeable, a notion that contradicts the very essence of a beginner (p. 20) While other fields such as law and medicine are much more understanding of their novices limited expertise and allow them to ease into their responsibilities, it is little wonder that educations reputation of being the profession that eats its young (Halford, 1998, p.33) still exists. The vulnerability new teachers felt decades ago is still being experienced by 21st century beginning teachers and is further exacerbated by todays high stakes testing climate. Even as the newcomer to the group, I felt I was able to secure their trust after several months of face to face and online interactions. This likely occurred because I could build on the t rust already established by the UF l iaison as a foundation as well as introducing myself to them in person during individual school visits in September to promote and explain the induction program. The connection to the UF liaison proved invaluable as I was able to bridge my role wit h hers. This in turn helped create a trusting online environment that was unlike several faced at their schools: You can tell in people like I have spoken or written to you and Laura to discuss things I wouldnt discuss with other UF people. I think one of the ways that you helped build trust and I am sure you do it w ith all of them youll send an email and check in. That helped to establish trust. (TS 587 590) Admittedly, Tinas openness to assistance, closeness in age, and quick responses to my emails made me feel very at ease in responding to her and made our communication between one another very easy. This sense of trust was further exhibited when, on two different occasions,
81 two of the teachers called me at home to discuss some issues they were facin g at their individual schools. Although there are several successful emento ring projects that have involved participants that do not have a prior background of working and knowing each other (e.g., MentorNet, Electronic Emissary Project), the trust estab lished within their cohort the previous year was an important and powerful element in making the ementoring sessions and exchanges meaningful and was furthered along by their relationship with the UF liaison. Not only did the liaisons prior relationship with the group provide a foundation of trust, but our ability to meet with the group faceto face played an instrumental role in building upon that trust which in turn made the online component that much more effective. Providing Meaningful Support Reple te in the induction literature is the role support plays in providing a comprehensive induction program with effective mentoring. Unfortunately, t he literature is also replete in how many mentoring programs do not provide the necessary support beginning t eachers need in order to survive and succeed. Although DCPS provided support for the new teachers in the form of an onsite mentor as well as a district mentor consultant, the beginning teachers experiences with the mentoring offered to them from their district closely reflected what has been found in the mentoring literature: grade level mismatches, lack of mentor training, mentors lack of interest in mentoring, lack of time to meet, inconsistencies, etc. which in turn lend themselves to the feelings of isolation and of being overwhelmed often expressed by beginning teachers (Boreen & Niday, 2000; Rogers & Babinski, 2002) Research has found part of a beginning teachers success can be attributed to the support they receive from fellow teachers, administra tion, and support staff (Flores & Day, 2006; Kardos & Johnson, 2007) However, collegial support at the majority of the teachers school
82 si tes was minimal to lacking altogether. This lack of support ranged from their assigned mentors, to the districts mentor consultants and even from past and present apprentices who were currently in their schoo l, Even though there are seven other of us in the school, we dont really communicate (OQ 255256). This same teacher noted how critical support was in a comment made pertaining to her concept of effective mentoring programs, Support on line. Support from colleagues. Support from mentors like yourself. Its the support that makes it effective (OQ 292293). It is important to note that only three of the eight noted their assigned onsite mentor as a source of support, while four of the remaining five noted they had forged a mentoring relatio nship with another source such as a grade level teacher, reading/math coach, or other former apprentice out of necessity. Only one of the eight teachers noted the districts mentor consultant as a meaningful source of mentoring. The other five that repli ed expressed a level of confusion as to who and what a mentor consultant was: I am not sure what you mean by a mentor consultant (TS email 4/22/08 ). Kathi further expressed this sense of confusion with the DCPS mentor consultant when I asked questions s urrounding her schools mentor consultant and the services they provided: I have someo ne who visits my classroom occasionally from the district office. She has probably s pent all of two hours in my classr oom during the year. I do not know her official title (I have her card at work), but she has never called herself a mentor consultant. I have never heard of that program. (KZ email 4/22/08) Also a bit disconcerting was the mentor consultant not getting the observed teachers name correct when she did visit their classroom: I forget her name, ________ maybe. ..It's hard to meet with her since she randomly shows up and then randomly leaves. She usually shows up midmorning in the middle of a lesson and leaves before the lesson is complete. She does howe ver leave a note. The last one read "You're doing great ________, keep up the good work." Who is _________? ( AP email 4/21/08)
83 Although Adam handled her sporadic visits as well as not knowing his name with humor, clearly her effectiveness as a mentor to h im in any capacity was greatly hindered by her inability to connect with him and provide him any meaningful support. From these responses, it is evident DCPS mentor consultants are not necessarily providing the support and mentoring to the levels needed by the beginning teachers. With DCPS investing the time and money to provide mentor consultants to the districts beginning teachers, it might be wise for the district to reassess the mentor consultants roles and responsibilities so as to be more effectiv e in delivering support. Gold (1996) suggests that beginning teachers need two overarching forms of support in helping to stave off the growing attrition rates of novice teachers: instructional and psychological. Although the MOST ementoring component was far from being perfect and was limited in the kinds of instructional support it could provide electronically, it did provide a viable, consistent means of emotional support and mentoring to the group of eight. Additionally, it helped to fill a void in support that existed among the majority of the beginning teacher cohort. As Tina, a teacher at a school known for its abrasive administration and faculty stated: And again, I thank you again for all of your support. All the way down to our conversa tion the last time we spoke just being able to talk to someone who wasnt closely related to mefamily or school environment. Like I said, had it not been for UFs continued support and you guys gave us a lot of support in all areasitit wouldI dont know the words to describe itI have bounced so much stuff off you guys! (TS 809811) Certainly ementoring is not to be viewed as the end all, be all form of mentoring. However, t he ability to ask and provide emotional support 24/7 adds a dimension that o ther forms of support cant provide. Clearly, ementoring can be a complementary means of support when sustained, presented, and structured well.
84 Utility One of the primary goals of the M OST ementoring component was not only to provide support, but also t o make the monthly online discussions and tasks meaningful and utilitarian. Even though I had a rough outline of what I felt was important to have them learn, discuss, and reflect upon within the site based upon real life experiences as well as from what had been discovered from decades of research on beginning teachers and effective induction programs, too often these goals can be lost in translation when making the transition from face to face to online interactions. Fortunately, all eight found varying levels of utility with the monthly sessions and tasks. Additionally, two key elements of the site were highlighted during their interviews as being meaningful and applicable to the realities they were facing as beginning teachers: monthly assignments/tasks and video clips. Monthly Assignments/ Tasks Even the best of online communities can become a breeding ground for nonconstructive discussions and postings without some sort of structure and monitoring (Collison, 2000; Palloff & Pratt, 2001) With this in mind, the MOST monthly themes and related tasks were created to promote reflection, stimulate meaningful conversation, expose the beginning teachers to issues and topics they might otherwise overlook as well as expand their pedagogical knowledge base When the activities were tailored to reflect the concerns and situations the beginning teachers encountered over the cours e of the year, the activities were considered more useful by the teachers than if the tasks and activities had been generic in nature. Although monthly activities ranged from the necessary initial Introduction Activity where expectations and guidelines were discussed, others were much more involved as they asked the teachers to think and reflect about certain topics or perspectives such as the second
85 session that required them to critically examine their communication style within their classrooms. MOS T m onthly activities and t asks are included in Appendix I Two teachers who were employed at one of the schools that had little faculty cohesion expressed appreciation for the utility of the professional learning component within the sessions: The assign ments are good-they are reflective. They take us into worlds we hadnt been exposed to (TS 564565) and Candys comments: I always took something away from all of them. Everything was useful. I implem ented a lot of stuff that I saw ( CK 603604). E ven Irene who struggled with the busyness of the site also had positive reflections of the required activities, Actually, the work you asked us to do was very useful and helpful. For the most part I think the assignments were consistent wit h what should be expected of us (IK 856857). As well as Adam, who was a bit skeptical of the program initially and the quiet rebel within the group, found some value and meaning in what he was asked to do each month, I thought they were thought provoking, but I am not sureThey all had a practical applicationagain being hard headed and doing things the way that I tend toI analyze things and take aw ay from them what I find useful ( AP 897899). As described earlier, the MOST site had numerous components ( e.g., resource cluste rs, communications venues ). The monthly online sessions comprised approximately 50% of the site and required the teachers to interact and complete various tasks related to that months topic Screen shots of the MOST site are included in Appendix B Monthly a ctivities and tasks are detailed in Appendix I Initially, these monthly themes were based upon the research of Veenmans study of beginning teachers, but as the first initial exchanges occurred over the first weeks of school, we quickly realized that our agenda and ideas of what they needed were not necessarily theirsat least not our timeline of topics. With this in mind, the UF liaison, UF
86 professor, and I discussed the situation and decided that I needed to change my approach in the outline of the site. Rather than following the outline of what I thought they needed, I let their needs dictate what the monthly topics and discussions should be as they arose in their correspondence and afternoon MOST monthly faceto face meetings. Even though some of them were subjects I had originally planned to cover, ( e.g., classroom management and assessment), the topics of technology, goals, and communication were added to the site. These additions were based on conversations the UF liaison a nd I had at our monthly face to face meetings and communication exchanges with the eight beginning teachers as well as from the previous years coach, who was at several of their schools for the new class of apprentices. Several of the beginning teachers expressed their appreciation of how the program was tailored to meet their needs as they arose. Kathi, who was initially hesitant and resistant to the program when we first met to discuss the details turned out to be the strongest advocate for the progr am: As far as the induction program, I appreciate the attempt to make it align with what we felt our needs were. There was a lot of give and take with regards to what you all asked us to do and what we were expected to produce. I can appreciate that everything we were asked to produce, had a real world application. I think it is a key thing because our time is so precious. If you are going to spend your time doing something, it might as well be something you can use in the classroom, why waste your time. We can all use more things that will be applicable to the classroom hopefully. I loved the videos that you guys found on line. (KZ 671681) According to the participants, this customization differed vastly from the alternative DCPS prescriptive beginni ng teacher induction program they had the option of taking at the onset of the year. Like many mentoring programs, others dictated the DCPS offerings. In the case of alternatively certified beginning DCPS teachers, their principals decide how long their induction program last s and what kinds of trainings they would take based upon the interactions and observations of the teachers within the first 45 days of school.
87 Because Carl struggled with classroom mana gement throughout the year, he had a deeper ap preciation for the customization that occurred in adjusting his monthly assignments during the last months of the program. When there was no activity from him on the site for over two months as well as no responses from him after numerous attempts by the UF liaison and myself, we realized we needed to go beyond what we had done in customizing the DCPS induction program initially. Because he had such critical issues confronting him within his classroom, we created alternative assignments that dealt strictl y with exa mining his classroom management. His appreciation for the customization was expressed during his interview: I would recommend it because it wasnt one size fits all. Like this is a course you need to take. It was ---we are going to design this program to help you all and based on the things you all need. I think it was good to do this program because it was focused on our needs and not just the cookie cutter kind of program that is out there. Which I am sure is good in some situations. You all asked for a lot of input when doing the different activities and that was one of the good things about it. (CB 559 564) As a result, he had a much more positive experience with MOST and was able to implement and use the alternative assignment as an impet us to critically examine his management skills. Laura, who was originally enrolled in the DCPS beginning teacher induction program, joined us a month into the program because she wanted a more practical and individualized program: To be honest, I started with you guys late because I was originally doing the ones with Duval County and I went to four meetings with them. And just from those four meetings I am so glad that you all had your own thing. I didnt get anything from it. Like they taught you stra tegies and you are in a room with 3040 people in the class. I think it was two hours. I just didnt get anything from it. Especially with MOST the person to person contact and the Internet I just think thats how it should be. Yes, we had more work t o do, but thats how I learn. Going and sitting for two hours like lesson planning well great. I am not getting anything I can use I didnt feel. Going with MOST you have all these resources on the Internet and we are feeding off each other. You are providing us with great articles to read. Then we get to meet face to face to me thats how it should be. It shouldnt be I have to do this in 2 hours and I am going to talk. And if you have anything to say, then raise your hand. With MOST, you all asked us what we needed which is the way it should be. ( LM 655665)
88 Out of the nine topic sessions offered on the site, the monthly topics of management, centers, and assessment were the ones most frequently mentioned in their interviews as being timely and m ost useful As could be predicted, management was a crucial topic for many of them. Laura and Carl, who were both teachers at one of the more challenging schools, had this to say about the management session, I do know at the beginning I was using stuff f or management --Behavior Bingo. The management ideas I did use ( LM 782 783) Carl had this comment to make, Definitely with clas sr oom management I know that helped. A lot of them were helpful. Anything that de alt with classroom manage ment (CB 740741). Similarly, Candy, who was also teaching at a more challenging school with minimal faculty and administrative support had this to say, I know the first one I was attracted to was the one on classr oom management I got a lot of ideas on that one ( CK 657658) Even with a plethora of research pointing to classr oom management as one of the major concerns for beginning teachers, Carl s comment concerning management was particularly honest and insightful: I think it is more of an issue that people dont want to talk about. I dont know if that makes them feel...cause for meit makes me feel like I am not a good teacher when I have issues, but at the same time if you dont talk about it, it will never change or get better. So maybe thats it. And even seeing other teachersa lot of the teachers have those same issues and they are experienced. Maybe they just have a better coping mechanism for it. They have some systems that make it easier for them. Its hard to admit that you arent good at something that you need help wi th something. I think that is a n area that would really be helpful. (CB 701708) This comment helped to remind me that the vulnerability beginning teachers feel often inhibits their request for assistance. Corcorans 1981 descri ption of the paradoxical world beginning teachers find themselves in unfortunately still holds true today: It is as if one is caught in a double bind between the beginners feeling of insecurity and tentativeness on the one hand and the teachers need to act
89 decisively and be in control on the other. To admit to not knowing is to risk vulnerability; to pretend to know is to risk er ror (Corcoran, 1981, p. 20) Carls comment as well as Corcorans quote serve as reminder s that even with the sense of facelessness online communications have, the sense of risk one takes online is no less of a risk than one takes in person. Not only di d the monthly tasks provide the teachers a forum to critically and reflectively think about a number of topics and issues they were confronted with on a daily basis, it also allowed them to make their thoughts and feelings known to a group they were a critical member of for over a year. With a valid sense of isolation as well as a fear of asking questions that onsite colleagues might perceive as nave or ignor ant, tasks were designed to give them the opportunity to bond, discus s, reflect and tease out their thoughts and feelings within the confines of a trusting space. Videos and Video Library Like Internet technologies, as video technologies have become mor e affordable and commonplace, they have been recognized as a viable means of providing a critical snapshot of teaching. Videos and video case studies have been used in teacher education as a means of training, observing, and examining model teachers and e ffective pedagogy since the 1970s when they were initially used to exam ine micro levels of teaching. Lesson analysis followed within that same decade, but unlike the examination of microlevels of teaching, videos were used so teachers could examine vide o clips to identify certain teacher and s tudent behaviors. By the 1980s, the focus shifted from how teachers behave to how teacher s think. Video footage of expert teachers as well as video based cases became effective learning tools in examining the wha t, how, and why of teachers decision making in the classroom (Sherin, 2004) Critical examination of key moments and interactions captured on video footage can occur making it a powerful tool in which to examine and tease apart what Lee Shulman has labeled as a teachers
90 wisdom of practice or otherwise known as why and how expert teachers do what they do (CochranSmith & Lytle, 1999; Shulman, 1986) With these benefits in mind, videos of exemplary teaching from the Annenberg Media Learner.org website were utilized with many of the monthly topics and tasks. After several discussions with the UF professor and UF liaison, we quickly realized the beginning teachers opportunities to watch other effective teachers in action were very limited primarily due to a lack of time as well as scheduling conflicts with available faculty at the ir home schools. The DCPS system had recently cut back on the number of professional development days teachers were allowed to take during the 2007 08 year Additionally, since some of them were not paired with strong model teachers their apprenticeship year, there was a critical void created from the lack of opportunities to observe effective teaching in action. Fortunately, the Annenberg Foundation through Annenberg Media offered an extensive video library of exemplary educators teaching a variety of subjects in all grade levels at no cost. All eight teachers mentioned how much they lea rned from viewing the videos. Candy, who noted several times throughout the year how she didnt get much modeling the year before and was teaching in a grade level where her fellow teachers did not share or discuss their teaching, found the videos particularly useful: I really liked the video component. I never knew teachers had videos th at were out there like those. I really didnt know. I would go to the site and see different modeling of things. Since I didnt see a lot of modeling last year, they were really good to see. Some of the assignments that made you watch videos... I would go to the we bs ite and look at the others that were out there. (CK 574578) I look at them doing things I need to see how to do. Like doing a read aloud. I didnt have it last year and I dont have it this year. So see ing them do it the proper wayt hey get you thinking about what you are doing and why. And knowing what strategies she is using. I like to a nalyze what she is doing and why she is doing it. Like t rying to figure out what is working and what isnt. I love watching them! You can ask my husband. I am watching them all the time! (CK 617 622)
91 Carl also found them helpful in his continual struggles in managing his students: They were good. They gave me some good ideas on what I could do. Like seeing the way teachers did certain things. They gave me some ideas on what I would do and try in lessons as far as management. The only drawback to them is that their classr oom situation/makeup might be different from your own, but other than that, they were useful. (CB 713716) The Annenberg videos afforded the beginning teachers the opportunity to replay, slow down, and stop the teaching sequence which is impossible as a classroom observer or teacher Although the videos could not replicate their classroom situations and students, they did provide solid examples of effective teaching with a broad range of student populations and subject s Their requests to have access to the site and view more of the videos once MOST was completed testified to the utility of the videos as a means of exposing them to best teaching practices. Educational Articles The quote by FeimanNemser (2001), New teachers have two jo bs they have to teach and they have to learn how to teac h used previously captures the quanda ry beginning teachers find themselves in the initial years of their teaching careers. Research has found that beginning teachers are so busy being initiated into the realities of teaching that they have minimal time for learning how to teach. Survival is the main goal, not acquiring teacher expert ise or knowledge (Feiman Nemser, Carver, Schwille, & Yusko, 1999; Wang, Odell, & Schwille, 2008) A lthough internships and apprenticeships help to provide a foundation, the complex pedagogical skills needed as teachers cannot be honed with their time and energies focused on classroom management as well as learning the politics and subtle nuances within their schools culture. This problem is further exacerbated when support from mentors or colleagues is lacking. With this in mind, we knew that if we wanted them to read anything pertaining to teaching issues, techniques, or other resources that would aid them in improving their pedagogy as well as think reflectively, the materials would need to be brief, us er friendly and applicable.
92 During the January monthly meeting, t he UF liaison used two articles from the journal Educational Leadership concerni ng student thinking and authentic questioning as a means to stimulate discussion and critical thinking surrounding both of those issues. Their enthusiasm and comments about the activity and the content of the articles made me realize that this was an aven ue in which to expose them to different topics in a meaningful, but nontedious manner within the MOST site The articles within Educational Leadership are specifically geared toward K 12 educators, cover a wide range of thematic topics over the year and are limited to 2,500 words, making the m very practitioneroriented. Kathi noted that the practicability of the articles was a welcome change from the more research oriented articles they had read the year prior during their apprenticeship: I did like the fact that all the reading was very practical. A lot of readings we did last year were very scholarly and that wasnt practical for what we were doing. It is different if you are sitting in a reading class that is a true semester long. But when you need the nuts and bolts, that is w hat you needthe nuts and bolts ( KZ 916920). Because of their enthusiasm when we used the articles during our January meeting, I decided to integrate additional Educational Leadership articles within the March online session. Frustrations with their individual schools preparation for the states Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) that was to take place in the spring of 2008 were the impetus for the March session to discuss the role of accountability and assessment. Many of them were expressing a sense of purposelessness with the tests as well as a sense of misunderstanding of how assessments could be used to help guide their instruction. Second in popularity to the Annenberg videos used on the site, the articles o n assessment were mentioned by 50% of the group as one of the most applicable sessions and resources. Laura, in particular, found them very informative and helped to provide her clarity in the differences between formative and summative assessments, I le arned a lot from the article s especially the assessment articlesI
93 really didnt know the difference between formative and summative thi s is making sense to me now (LM 715717). She further noted the impact of the articles when she stated, Assessment that was a big one for me ( LM 812). Although recommendations will be discussed in depth at the conclusion of this evaluation, had I known their appreciation for this type of article as well as the level of reflection and interaction that occurred from th eir responses, I would have integrated them more within the monthly activities Program Weaknesses Effective program evaluation does not just include examining what worked within a program. Very often the components that are found to be the most helpful in improving the program are the very things that didnt work well or a t all for the program members. As noted previously, the MOST site not only provided the beginning teachers a way to communicate and interact with one another both formally and inform ally, it also provided the beginning teachers with resources that included websites, articles, videos, podcasts, templates, and lesson plans. The intent was to provide them a site that would not only provide them support, but also provide them quality res ources at their fingertips when they didnt have the time to search on their own similar to a one stop shop of teacher resources. The following three sub themes emerged related to program weaknesses. Too Much of a Good Thing Because Moodle is open sour ce software housed on the UF server, no costs were associated with the technology used within the induction program. However, there was a cost involved with using free software it limited the adjustments I could make to t he layout of the site. This le d to varying levels of fr ustration on the teachers parts
94 The lack of flexibility in the site design was quite an aggravation for some of the teachers, particularly Irene who voiced her frustrations with the site several times during her interview: The only thing that has been aggravation has been the program site. I have finally figured out why it drives me so nuts. It has very little white space; the eye has to rest in order to focus. When you are looking at old people who have ADHD on some various levels, it is very disconcerting. It is a design issue; its the way it is designed. It takes so many layers to get to where your assignment is. There are so many layer s. I never after all these months I have never learned to know exactly where to go to watch the media stuff, if you want me to watch a video, I have to go back and print the instructions and then read the instructions and go back through the we bs ite. At month nine or ten for me to go through and not know automatically where these vide os are kept, says to me it is just a cumbersome site. (IK 682 691) The layout could have been better. You could at the beginning preset the dates for the meetings and then also preset a list of days of when things would be due. If that was in one easy to find--print it out once, stick it in my notebook. That would have made life a whole lot easier. Rather than have to look through all those layers and look it up. (IK 754757) Part of her frustration may have stemmed from her preference for faceto fac e interactions in general: I am old. I like being able to look my teachers in the eye and ask questions as they come into my head. Which there is an argument for, but when you are on line and you have to type your questions, you are not going to ask as m any. You are probably going to ask more thoughtful ones. (IK 743746) But even the groups youngest, most techsavvy teacher voiced frustrations with the site: I think finding links on the site was my biggest issue. There were some links that I spent a good amount of time looking for and called other apprentices to find stuff that was frustrating as I know I am not a complete ignoramus when it comes to technology. So not begin able to find stuff. It was frustrating. I know it is there, but it wasnt intuitive. (AP 813818) Clearly the ability to have the various online records and usage statistics are vital components to conducting research as well as ascertaining the effectiveness of the site. However, it is disconcerting when members with technol ogy backgrounds experience frustration with what
95 would seem to be a rather simplistic site. Recommendations addressing this issue will be discussed in Chapter Six. Palloff and Kent (2007) note in their chapter Managing the Relationship to Technology tha t the ease of a sites use and its eye appeal are essential course management system components which need to be considered when creating an online community. Candy, like Irene, expressed similar frustrations in how the site was a bit overwhelming when it was initially accessed, Organize it a bit better. It is just a lot of information on the first page. I know it was in chronological order. Like maybe putting things in folders, narrowing down the topics. Like maybe have four or five folders. When you initially o pen it, its a bit overwhelming ( CK 518521). One of the dilemmas I faced when developing the monthly activities and tasks was deciding whether to embed the link within an email or announcement or have them go through the different steps to get to the resource located on the site. Had I sent them the direct link, I would have made the activity less tedious but sacrificed the ability to obta in usage records in doing so. Clearly, the site needed better organization and less busyness in order to make the learning platform one that was inviting rather than frustrating. But by the same token, having records of where, when, and how long the eight teachers were on the site were invaluable and allowed me to have an insiders view of their activity. Certainly the ability to have the activity records of their work on the site outweighed a certain degree of frustration on their part. However, even though I was constrained by the capabilities of Moodle, there were adjustments that would have lesse ned the teachers sense of frustration, but I discovered them at the end of the program. These adjustments will be discussed in further detail within Chapter Six.
96 Resources One of the common misconceptions with online learning is that it takes less time t o prepare, deliver, and follow up with participants than typical face to face learning. Ironically, what is made up in travel and distance is lost in the amount of time needed to respond to students on a regular basis, follow up on assignments, and update resources. Palloff and Kent (2007) estimate it takes approximately twice as much time to create and maintain an effective online version of a faceto face class. I quickly discovered this as truth as I tried to maintain the resources available as well as update and rotate new ideas and methods into the site. Initially, this wasnt too difficult to do given that I had a number of resources and websites I had been accumulating for the months preceding the onset of the program Once the program began, however, time was quickly absorbed in obtaining new resources to keep the site current as well as attend to their requests for ideas and respond in a timely and meaningful matter. As a result of limited time on my end as the ementoring facilitator, the prio rity became responding to their monthly postings, emails, and other more pressing needs. Interesting ly lack of resources on the site was not ed by two teachers teaching together at a school they deemed as non collegial and unsupportive. Both Candy and Tina expressed similar frustrations with empty resource links, I used a lot of the resources and have gone into the content areas. Most of the time I found there wasnt anything up there ( TS 638640). Candy, an information hound who was continually looking for resources and had the third highest usage report for the site expressed a greater sense of frustration: And then I would always check back for the content areas for ideas and there would either be nothing in there, or things wouldnt change so ma ybe if you dont have a lot then dont post them at all. Just hold off. You think you are going to find a lot in the lesson plans and theres not. I mean if you dont have more options, dont put it up. (CK 521525)
97 The remaining six teachers noted dur ing their interviews that they did not use the various resources due to a lack of time, which will be discussed in the following section. Certainly had they had more time in which to look at the various resources, there would have been a greater number voicing their disappointment in not having more resource links available and updated on a regular basis. Communication Options One of the key words that came out of the interviews when the teachers were asked What makes a mentor effective? was accessibili ty. One way of providing this was to offer them several communication avenues in which to access myself, the UF liaison and/or the UF professor. Originally, the site offered just three communication options: Announcements, The Teachers Lounge and Sugge stion Box. This was later expanded to include five more communication options within the first three months of the MOST website being implemented: Laura and Lisa's Thoughts and Wonderings (an online journal of the MOST developer and UF liaison) ; Get one, Give one IDEAS!! (a posting option for ideas that work in the classroom ); Great Teacher Books to Read! (a posting of book recommendations ) ; Words of Wisdom and Inspiration (quotes by educators and others) ; and Just in Time Mentoring (a private communicat ion link directly to the UF teachers. Re s ponses to beginning teachers requests and concerns were made within 48 hours) These communication options were added in hopes of categorizing their communications to avoid making any option a catch all for all of the communication exchanges among the members as well as to add privacy as was the case of the Just in Time Mentoring option. However, it is evident from their responses that there were too many options. The additional choices added to the congestion of the site and resulted in more frustration and may have hampered the teachers desire to communicate with others. It was clear email was the
98 communication option of choice as expressed by Irene and several other teachers, It was just easy for me to e mail you from my regular email. So if I needed to ask you a question, I would just go to Outlook. I wouldnt go through fifteen layers of MOST to find your addresses ( IK 771773) And as Candy stated Email probably would have been better since I have my email on all day and I have to log onto the site to get access to things (CK 562563). Although the site provided them several outlets in which to communicate, three of the teachers suggested having more time to talk and vent during our face to face meetings. Interestingly, the quietest and most reserved teacher in the group had this to say about how important it was to have the time to talk with one another: I think more time for us to talk to each other vent. That day that we did that thing on the white board. Like we had to cut that conversation short. I just think that sometimes when you hear especially what other first year teachers are going through the same thingLike that really opened my eyes. I thought WOW! I am not the only one lea ving super late and getting up super early. And that ma de me feel better about myself. I think more discussion open discussion that if you get off topic it is okay. But that ties in with time, and that makes it a big issue, but if you could make it three hours. Or between two three hours. I guess the thing I am saying is that we need more time. I dont know if that is feasible. ( LM 729742) Once again, the issue of time and scheduling surfaced as an obstacle in providing more time to interact and comm unicate in person. Even with so many communication options, it is clear from Adams observations as well as the other teachers requests to meet more often and longer that online communications are no substitute for faceto face interactions: I have noti ced that people hang out after the fact and they are usually just hanging around talking about whatever. Nobody is ever bolting to get out the door. It seems to me that everyone enjoys the open conversation about whatever. You realize you are not the only one dealing with this. You dont have to think oh God, thats just me dealing with this? Cause you dont get together in another clas sr oom. You can talk to other teachers but thats perception and people you have already known each other for a year s o you are that much more comfortable with one another. (AP 741748)
99 As the lite rature suggests, ementoring should be viewed as a supplement to face to face mentoring and not as a substitution (Brady & Schuck, 2005; Merseth, 1991) Hybrid mentoring progr ams such as MOST afford participants the 24/7 accessibility online as well as the critical need for regular, personal interactions. Quite intriguing is the fact that the teachers who most requested more faceto face time to converse were also the younges t in the group. Being in their 20s, they are of a generation that grew up with technology; and it would seem logical to assume they would be the most comfortable with using technology as a means of communication and possibly have a preference for using te chnology to communicate over meeti ng in person. I was expecting their response s to be more like Kathis, a 33 year old female, where distance didnt play a factor in things, Really with email and things like that, I dont ever think I thought of you guys as being that far away KZ (76 6767). With webcams becoming standard features on computers as well as decreasing in price, the possibility of using camera related technologies as a means of communicating should be further explored as a means of meshing b oth the need to meet in person as well as reaping the benefits of time saved and no travel requirements when using this kind of technology. Time A recurrent theme that was mentioned in all eight of the interviews was the theme of time whether it was a lack ing of or a need for more. Typical of first year teachers is their misconception of how much time is needed to accomplish all the tasks and jobs required of teachers within and beyond their teaching day. Five of the teachers noted how surprised they were at the amount of work they needed to complete within a school day, which made finding the time to peruse the site for resources less of a priority. Seven of the eight mentioned wanting to look at the site more in depth, but werent able to do so due to a lack of time:
100 I havent gone to them yet, but t hose emails that you sent I have an email folder with all of them Thats another thing I have all these different things I want to go back to but I didnt have the time. I did use the T shirt pattern. I tr iedI havent had time to peruse through it but I know I did at the beginning and I want to go back. ( LM 783786) I think a lot of it is due to being a first year teacher and just not having the time to look around. For me, I just felt like I wanted to get through the assignment so I could move on to something else I had to do. (CB 613615) Assessment will have an impact with the rubrics and such. I say will Its just a matter of having time. (AP 935936) Even with an evident lack of time to use the site more extensively during the school year, it is encouraging that several of the teachers requested the ability to log onto the site once the program was over, All of the resources you all had were good. Thats another question I had how long will w e have access? Because I want to go back and look at things ( LM 716 718). Even Irene who struggled with site being too distracting requested having access to the site as a second year teacher: And time, yea time. The one thing is, this is the shame about itIt would be so nice to be a MOST graduate to continue to use the MOST site for at least a year or two because what happened as an apprentice, we get just overwhelmed with good resources of which I dont have a clue to be able to organize them. You kind of grow. The first thing I learned how to do was to plan a week. Then I got where I could differentiate. So its like we are taking baby steps. Might be step number 72 and I am only on step 51that I realize I really need to go back and check some of those resources because they look pretty cool, but I havent needed them until now. ( IK 782790) As Irene stated, too often beginning teachers receive resources that cant be used at a particular time due to where they were developmentally as teachers. Her statement captures the juggling act beginning teachers face having to teach and having to learn how to teach. Earlier Start A recurrent suggestion made by several of the teachers was to s tart MOST earlier in the year. Because it was the initial year for implementing MOST as an alternative induction program, we lost valuable time in the beginning due to having to work out the logistics of the
101 program as well as having to recruit and persuade members of the original group of 15 beginning teachers t o choose our induction program over the districts With the first week of school being one of the harshest for beginning teachers, it would be optimal if the MOST ementoring component could begin several weeks before the start of the school year so as to give first year teachers another source of support for such a cr itical time in their careers. Carl reiterated his appreciation and understanding in having classroom rituals and routines covered and established at the onset of the year by stating, Maybe make sure it starts at the beginning of the year and making sure that the focus is management and getting the rituals and routines down ( CB 434435) whereas Kathi stated the need to start earlier with MOST as a means to give the next group of teachers mo re time and then maybe they could go deeper into some of the issues people have (KZ 897899). Technological Aspects Regardless of the technological platform or program used, unforeseen problems or glitches can occur if there is an unfamiliarity with the features available within a program. Although all eight of the teachers had a range of basic to advanced technological skills and had used Moodle previously, it was obvious there were misunderstandings and uncertainties as to what some of the features and options of Moodle were cap able of accomplishing: It takes a 30 minute window to post a nd it doesnt post to everybodyI dont know whose side it is on. Some peoples responses posted and other didnt. When we posted the rubrics when I thought I must be the first one to post it turns out two others had already posted and I never received notification on that. (TS 604613). Both of these frustrating circumstances voiced by Tina could have easily been alleviated had I known earlier since there were options that existed within Moodle that could have been activated totally avoiding the issues. Frustrations with Moodles notification system were also voiced by Irene:
102 I got every posting ever since I signed up. If I had to do again, I wouldnt do it again; I think that is part of why I got overwhelmed with it. I hadnt opened my Outlook in maybe 3 days. I had 51 emails of which 27 of them were MOST. ( IK 836838) Tina voiced the most frustration of the group when it came to responding to the others with the various online forums: See --I dont have any problems with the online except the response. Like I said if UF itself --I know you are limited by the technology platform, but if UF could partner with someone to see the real world response that facilitates online discussion. The current platform does not facilitate that. (TS 601605) Although Tina would not be considered as technologically savvy as the two teachers in the group who held degrees in technology related areas, she had received both her bachel ors and Masters degrees from the University of Phoenix (UP), a predominantly webbased university. When comparing the capabilities of each to the other, one can understand her source of frustration because Moodle does not offer the technological sophist ication of UP. Although studies are not conclusive, research does indicate that age can influence how well a technology is adapted and utilized (Czaja et al., 2006; Morris & Venkatesh, 2000) Interestingly, the t wo teachers who expressed the most frustration with the site had a mean age of 49 yearsthe oldest in the group. Research related to technology utilization and age has been found to be extremely complicated due to a number of factors ( e.g., beliefs, adequ ate time, training ) ; however, younger computer users are less apt to have anxiety over new technologies and, as a result, be more willing to implement and use them on a regular basis (Czaja et al., 2006; Morris & Ven katesh, 2000) Assumptions of Technological Expertise One of the assumptions made by the researcher was that the groups training and experience with using Moodle the year prior was sufficient in knowing how to use the various options and functions within the program. This turned out to be a false assumption. When the
103 site was introduced at our first face to face meeting, all six of the teachers (two teachers joined the group the following month) expressed their comfort and understanding of using the ope n source software. However, during their interviews, confusion of the program and the site surfaced numerous times indicating that regardless of their expressed knowledge of the program used, it is in the best interests of the group and its members to pr ovide a refresher course at the initial face to face meeting : I dont know if this is because I havent researched it well or not, I know that sometimes I have to cut and paste the directions out of how you get to something. I dont know if that is my ow n not knowing how the system works, like not knowing a way around that. (LM 794797) Additionally, each communication option had an explanatory sentence detailing what its purpose was but there was an expressed confusion as to what their purposes entailed, M aybe if we understood what their purpose was for? Like we kind of made couple of them teachers lounges. Did you see how we did that? We kind of made it a big teachers lounge one time! (CK 530532). As Candy stated, this confusion resulted in ma king a communication option become something it wasnt intended to be. This confusion was particularly true surrounding the Just In Time Mentoring option that not only had been discussed at the October face to face gathering, but had also been a task to explore during their second online activity: No. I didnt use it. I probably would have used email instead. I am not sure I understood what it entailed. Is it going to get to you quicker? For me if I needed to get a hold of you, I would ha ve done i t in a more direct way ( AP 850851) ; Can you tell me what that wasit w as secret? I dont think I did ( LM 791). These comments were rather discouraging as it was hoped that with this communication option being specifically created and designated as a hot line of sorts that it would allow teachers to feel at ease in contacting me, the UF liaison, or UF pr ofessor at anytime and not feel hesitant in doing so.
104 Contradictions An interesting finding within this evaluation was the manner in which the teac hers would often contradict what they wanted and valued with what they actually expr essed during their interviews. Several of them noted their appreciation in how MOST was created to match their needs and not the prescriptive program that would have been their option had they taken the DCPS beginning teacher induction program. However, 50% of the beginning teachers noted how they would have liked to have had a calendar with preset dates and assignments Irene in particular stated: You could at the beginning preset the dates for the meetings and then also preset a list of days of when things would be due. If that was in one easy to find, print it out once, stick it in my notebook. That would have made life a whole lot easier. Rather than have to look th rough all those layers and look up. Because for a long time the dates werent posted until the task was posted. So it was on a month to month basis so we really couldnt plan to o far ahead. (IK 754759) Adam, who suggested that the MOST face to face meetings should have allowed for more off the agenda kinds of talks suggested, I think MOST in general could have been more structure d in general specifically for me since we have assignments, it would have been beneficial to have had a syllabus like a class (AP 615617). Although Adam suggested making things a bit more free flowing when we met in person, his need to have more structure online was evident based on the number of late postings he had on the site. He often commented on how he needed to become better with managing due dates for MOST and other activities. The teachers contradictory comments on appreciating how the content was geared to what they needed and yet making statements like it would have been bene ficial to have had a syllabus like a class leaves the question as to how to provide a balance between the two. Given their desire to have structure, but yet still have a program that is tailored to their needs makes creating such a program a bit difficult. Possible options will be descr ibed in the next chapter.
105 More Time Together, but no Time to Give Nowhere was this theme of contradiction more evident than when five of the eight teachers suggested in their interviews that the group should have met twice a month, once again reinforcing t he premise that technology is not the end all, be all it can sometimes be promoted to be. When we initially met with the original six beginning teachers in September of 2007, we discussed times and dates to meet. It was evid ent from our discussion that there werent many options for meeting due to all of the demands they had at their various school sites ( e.g., tutoring, grade level planning meetings professional development ). Like many urban school teachers, the demands on their time are often splint ered due to the many initiatives they are responsible for carrying out. Three of the five schools (which accounted for 75% of the teachers) in this evaluation were Reading First schools and the claims on their time and energies were much greater due to this added title and the programmatic requirements it entailed Trying to set a predetermined date turned out to be an impossibi lity with fluctuating schedules ; and, as a result we would set the following m onths meeting date when we met each month faceto face. Contradicting their requests to meet longer and more often were statements that they didnt have the time to look at the various resources on the site and wanted to look at them l ater once they had more time. Quite often the same teacher who would make a statement such as I didnt have the time to look at them when referring to looking at the different we bs ites, books, and video suggestions would counter it with a comment such as, I think it might be helpful to meet more oftenmaybe meet 4 6 pm t wo times a month. Further examination of this contradiction in request for meeting more often, but not having enough time to look at resources online le d to the hypothesis they are still developing an understanding of the demands placed on their time as beginning teachers as well as still learning how to juggle and prioritize the different demands on their time and energy.
106 Insights, Recommendations, and Ideas Quite often in education, the best teacher is the teachers students. Their insights as lear ners are invaluable and can provide an understanding into how things can be improved for the next class of students. This certainly was the case with the insights and recommendations made by the eight beginning teachers. Each of the interviewees was aske d for recommendations and things they would change with both the MOST induction program as a whole as well as specifically with the ementoring component. The following sections are their suggestions in guiding future versions of MOST: differentiation, aud io and videotaping of teachers, and coordinating online and face to face themes. Differentiation Several of the teachers provided some very thoughtful suggestions that would greatly enhance MOST as an effective means of ementoring as well as a beginnin g teacher induction program. One of these suggestions was to differentiate activities and sources for primary and upper grades. Kathi, one of two kindergarten teachers in the group, voiced this need more strongly than the others because so many of the online resources were geared more for upper elementary, It is hard to say because our perceptions of what we need are so different. In a perfect world maybe they could have two running simultaneously, a primary and upper level, if they had enough participa nts, focusing on the needs of those teachers (KZ 945947). Although Tina didnt note this need during her interview, she did make requests for resources that were kindergarten specific throughout the year on the MOST site and via email. A survey comment echoed similar feelings, I have greatly enjoyed the video streaming and have found a majority of the assignments to be bene ficial. In the future I would suggest having a primary and upper level component that woul d be more tailored to our needs (Survey response). Given that there
107 are distinct skills in each grade that cannot always be generalized, their request is a valid one and one that will be addressed in further detail within the researchers recommendations. Audio Taping Because communication p lays such a key role in creating an effective teaching environment and establishing rapport with students I created their second session to involve examining their commu nication styles as educators. Tea chers were asked to record a 30 minute interval of t heir instruction and interactions with their students and then respond to several reflective questions about what they noticed once they listened to the tape. Out of the nine sessions, this one caused the greatest inconvenience to the teachers and the low est initial participation rate. Only 50% of the teachers completed the task on time, with the others not turning their tapes in and responding until months later. Even with the responses of the other teachers being quite reflective, since the activity re ceived so much resistance, I had listed it as a possible component to drop from the program. However, one of the four teachers who was late with the assignment made this insightful comment making me rethink that decision for next years program: With the video you can see and hear yourself. I watched myselfbut listening to myself I was like wow! This is what I sound like. Whereas I think watching myself I would be busy watching myself and not listening to myself. For me, I was watching my body language. I was looking at certain things and I dont think I was paying attention to what I was saying. So you may want to keep both. ( LM 875882) Her comment provided a perspective that made me reanalyze the exercises goal and the issues surrounding the re sistance it received. After talking to the teachers who struggled to complete the assignment during a monthly face to face meeting, their lack of completing it on time was due mostly in part to not having the recording technology available at their school site and not an issue of thinking the exercise was inapplicable.
108 Videot aping Due to a lack of time as well as scheduling conflicts, videotaping their instruction and classrooms was an option and I was only able to film four of the eight te achers in the spring of 2008. One of the teachers found the exercise particularly useful, even though she hesitated in viewing her tape once it was completed It would be interesting to tape the apprentices at the end so they haveI find it very good to have a reflect ion piece to see that things werent as bad as I thought they were ( LM 742744). She further recommended that it become more mandatory than not for the next group of inductees. Optimally, it would be best to have the teachers record their voices as wel l as video tape their instruction and classrooms both in the fall and t he spring of the school year. These tasks could be integrated within the monthly online assignments, not only providing them a record of their teaching, but also as an effective means o f sharing their classroom interactions, as well as showing growth and reflection upon t heir growing pedagogical skills. One of the additions that will be discussed in the recommendations is crafting a reflective assignment involving videotapes of their in struction in the fall and spring of the school year. Coordinating Face to Face and Online Themes One of the design issues that the UF liaison and I struggled with throughout the year was coordinating our monthly meetings and online themes so they would be more complementary and not as disjointed as they seemed at times. Candy pointed this out in her interview: Sometimes I think the face to face wasnt in line with what we were doing online. I dont know if that was a big deal, but maybe make this huge f ocus for the whole month-combine and make it similar. It was hard to keep things straight at times. Like if we did something on communication, make the focus the same on both. Like have articles on communication, discussion on communication, have the on line concerned with communication (CK 483488)
109 Once again, Candys point is an issue of gaining in one area only to lose out in another. Because we wanted to provide them a tailored induction program, often what was an issue or concern that was covered online was replaced by a more urgent need or request for information by the time our afternoon meetings were held. Furthermore, given the late start of MOST in September, we were limited in the amount of time and sessions we had available to feasibly cov er important topics, concerns, and subjects. The UF liaison and I discussed their requests as well as issues/concerns that arose from the time of our previous meetings on a regular basis. These discussions helped to prioritize their needs and whether those needs would be best addressed faceto face or online. 2nd Year Wishes All too frequently, induction programs are only funded to provide support the first year of a teachers career. Ideally, effective induction programs should last several years, gr adually weaning beginning teachers of their different supports as they become more seasoned (Scherer, 1999) Unfortunately, many are left to their own devices in maintaining their first year support system or cultivating a new one from the second year on ward In particular, beginni ng urban teachers face the most difficulty in maintaining their first year support systems when high turnover rates within their schools leave them with few experienced teachers to turn to for advice and guidance (Joftus & MaddoxDolan, 2002) With such a positive response to MOST, all of the beginning teachers were asked if they wou ld like to continue with a scaled down version of the program during the 200809 school year. All eight expressed an interest in maintaining at least online communications with the other teachers. Similar comm ents to Opal s, I would love to be part of t he program still. At least the communication aspect of it ( OQ 512513) were made by the teachers and several expressed a desire to also meet in person along with online interactions:
110 I feel we need to still get together. Even if there arent tasks or a purpose to meet, just to sort of reconnect and recharge, it helps you to remember why you are doing it and that the grass isnt always greenerthere is a common thread that exists among the people who have made this choice. And there is something unique about what we have all gone through. Have a Wiki we used this for our reading clas sr oom. Its a happy medium. It doesnt have to be on an organized site. (LM 10071012) Whatever they provide, I am up for that. Even the online. I would use the just in time mentoring. I would even meet once a month. (CK 707709) Interestingly, the majority clearly suggested that whatever program or program component was offered to them, that it be optional and not mandatory as they had just experienced for the 200808 year. Comments such as, I wouldnt be opposed to an open ended arrangement. I would much rather have the choice to participate and not be mandat ed as well as h ave some sort of open forum type of thing were indicative of their desire to have flexibili ty in their participation. Also of interest was Adams comment of having the opportunity to interact with the next years first year teachers online and provide them support: I guess if you let us on to the site with the apprentices, we could provide fee dback or links. We could still post on the forums, but not be required to do anything, but there would be an opportunity there. Maybe no one would do anything but there would be an opportunity there. Maybe we could put profiles up there about ourselves so the apprentices could see that that would be a good person to contact for their particular situation and then make yourself available and we could communicate in that sense. (AP 982988) Although I would like to think their enthusiasm to maintain communication among each other was a result of the ementoring forum provided to them, Lauras reminder of the closeknit relation s hip that existed among the group prior to their involvement with MOST reinforced how critical group cohesion played in contributing to MOSTs effectiveness : Especially our group of apprent ices -we were so close anyway We were close all through last year and I think because time does slip away from us that I think after this year, we will start losing touch with each other especially t he ones that arent at ____. So, I think just having a place for us to meet and vent that we were doing at the beginning of the MOST sessions. Just to have that. That would be good. ( LM 927932)
111 This is not to say that cohesion cannot be created, but the pre existing bond among the eight teachers certainly provided a strong foundation that played a pivotal role in MOSTs ementoring success. Closing Comments Inherent with any new program is a level of risk that what is created will not meet the planne d goals and objectives. When the UF liaison and I set out to design MOST as an alternative induction program, we had hoped it would be successful in meeting their needs as beginning alternatively certified teachers. Although we may not have obtained all of the original goals we set out to achieve at the onset of the program, I do feel my primary goal of developing a tailored mentoring experience that provided quality and timely online support to the eight beginning teachers was reached. Their comments be low further testify to how MOST provided them the support they needed as beginning teachers: I think it was very successful, I am glad I did it, I am glad it was offered to us Even you and Laura I know you were aware of what we were doing, just having that support and attaching a face to it, you guys listening to us and saying you are going to be okay and you will survive. Just having that constantit was something I looked forward to and cant imagine how crazy it was for you to adjust your life to and it is something I will miss next year. LM 753 758 I just think it is better. I didnt like going to the Duval one. After you went to the session you had a month to post something on their we bs ite a reflection or whatever. I liked it better that I did it with you guys. LM 670672 I have to say that honestly that one of the best things they did this year was to provide this support. Like I saidif it hadnt been for you, Laura and Lauren, I dont know where I would be. TS 794796 My secondary goal of having MOST become a required component of the alternatively certified beginning teacher induction program remains to be seen. However, regardless of its institutionalization, there are numerous recommendations for the improvement of the ementoring
112 compone nt so as to become a viable induction program DCPS can offer its beginning teachers. These recommendations will be discussed in the following chapter.
113 CHAPTER 6 REFLECTIONS FROM THE PROGRAM DEVELOPER In 1981, the Joint Committee on Standards for Educat ional Evaluation (JCSEE) called for evaluations to be held to certain standards due to the increased specialization of evaluation research (Patton, 1982; Stufflebeam, 2001) Prior to this, methodological rigor was the primary, often the only, criterion by which evaluations were judged (Patton, p. 15). Practicality, feasibility, and utility were not focused upon and as a result, completed program evaluations with their suggestions and findings were often not implemented. Large investments of time and money quite often were for naught as evaluations findings were ignored once the evaluation cycle had been completed. Recognizing the complexity of program evaluations as well as a need for standards to guide professional practice (Patton, p.16), the committee determined evaluations not only needed to be appropriate and accurate but also feasible and useful. Chapter Five findings in conjunction with the following program recommendations attend to these four features. Although the sample size used in this study was small (N=8), its fin dings have implications for creating future online mentoring programs in supporting beginning teachers particularly those that are alternatively certified as well as refining the online component of the DCPS induction program for future use within Duval C ounty. Additionally, the findings have implications for school based personnel, district personnel, university partners, and other members of the research community. To e nsure the success and longevity of such a program in the fut ure, two things must occ ur: (1) f unding must be obtained to pay program facilitators a nd ( 2) i mprovements need to be made to the program.
114 Need for Funding The ementoring component of the 200708 MOST induction program was a result of a doctoral student creating an online environment that would be a source for her study. Due to this fact, all time involved with its creation and maintenance was of no cost to DCPS. Similarly, the faceto face facilitator also volunteered her time and energies in providing continued support to the group of eight she had worked with previously during the 200607 school year. If DCPS is committed in continuing the program to provide support to their TTT alternatively certified teachers, it is essential they acquire funding to pay facilitator/s to c ontinue MOST both with an ementoring and face to face medium of delivery. Since a substantial framework has been established with MOST during the past school year, energies would be aimed at maintaining and improving what is already established rather tha n creating new ementoring and face to face components. One of the more critical aspects of the MOST site that was neglected due to lack of time on the ementoring facilitator s part, was that of updating resources on a regular basis. With the plethora of resources that exist due to the conveniences of the Internet, lack of pert inent resources is not an issue, but time to sort through resources, write inviting descriptions, and then time to upload the information to the site is. F unding the ementoring fac ilitator position would allow the facilitator time to devote in obtaining and updating new site resources that include video clips, websites, and teacher friendly articles such as those found in journals such as Educational Leadership. The time required b y the ementorin g and face to face facilitators to maintain the level of the program as it stands now would be approximately 15 25 hours per week (510 hours per week for the faceto face and 1015 hours per week for the ementoring component) However, wit h the recommendations that follow, it would be more realistic to increase this amount to an
115 average of 25 30 hours per week for the combined components to improve the overall effectiveness of the program. Ten hours would be dedicated to face to face compo nent and between 1520 hours for the online component per week. These numbers are averages with some weeks requiring more planning and work than others. This estimate include s time for filming eight ten teachers twice per school year along with the time needed to attend monthly meetings in Jacksonville. Need for Improv e ments Recommendations are a result of the analysis findings discussed in the previous chapter and also stem from administrative interviews, the researchers reflective journal, and from conversations with the eight teachers, UF liaison, UF professor, and apprentice coach over the cours e of the 200708 school year. Many of the suggested improvements are minor and their cost is negligible. The timing of their implementation, however, is c ritical and for that reason a Phased Implementation Program is recommended Implementation Phase I: Prior to Start of Program Conduct apprentice graduate needs assessment survey During the final month of their apprenticeship, TTT apprentices should complete a brief survey of needs based on their experiences over the prior eight months. This survey should then be re administered in September once they have graduated and become official teachers of record. Both survey results would provide insights into their perceived needs as beginning teachers and allow for any changes in their needs once they have begun the school year. These results should then be used to help structure the initial development of the ementoring component as well as the MOST induction program overall. Surveys could be created using free survey software such as Survey Monkey or Poll Daddy and c ould be administered online at the participants convenience.
116 Meet with administrative staff, principals, and beginning t eachers. One of the c ritical aspects discovered during the process of creating MOST as well as via the different teacher interviews was the need for the MOST ementoring and face to face facilitators to meet with the different parties ( e.g., administrative, principal, and teach er s ) involved with MOST prior to its implementation. Issues and various miscommunications could have possibly been avoided had conversations occurred before MOST started in the fall of 2007. Conduct a dministrative meeting s A preliminary meeting conducte d by the MOST ementor and faceto face facilitators should be held along with the TTT coordinator, apprentice coach, and any other UF or DCPS affiliated positions the summer prior to the school year. Program goals and objectives as well as district requir ements should be discussed to inform the ementoring component as well as MOST induction program as a whole. Decisions should be made on how teachers would be held accountable for their participation as well as the quality of work expected from the teacher s With three of the eight teachers voicing complaints during their interviews on how others were allowed time extensions on different assignments, clearly stated expectations at the onset of the program could have deterred the number of requests for dead line extension s. Additionally, d istrict requirements and expectations regarding their attendance both online and face to face should be discussed at this preliminary meeting to ensure fairness and equity of treatment of the beginning teachers involved in the program. Conduct principal m eeting s An initial meeting with the various school principals needs to occur within the first month of the programs implementation in order for the facilitator to gain an understanding of the needs and possible concerns the principals have with the ir new teachers. With a schools leadership playing a decisive role in a beginning teachers first year (Kardos & Johnson, 2007; Youngs, 2007) insights from the various principals would be
117 extremely advantageous in shaping the ementoring component particularly at the onset of the program. Furthermore, establishing rap port with the principals might induce them to communicate more frequently and openly with the ementoring facilitator thus helping her to assist the teachers in more meaningful ways. Conduct t eacher m eeting s It would also be beneficial to conduct a meeti ng with the beginning teachers prior to the commencement of the school year Teacher expectations, support needs and any additional concerns they might have as beginning teachers would be discussed at this time. Efforts should be made to use their conce rns and ideas as a preliminary framework from which to start the MOST web site in Aug ust. I t would also be helpful to have the new beginning teachers meet with past apprentices so as to reacquaint th em with one another, and to allow them to ask questions r egarding what to expect their first year as beginning teachers who shared a common preparation program. Create resource lending library With the overwhelming positive response to the Annenberg video clips, it would be beneficial to create a small lendi ng library of DVDs that demonstrate best teaching practices particularly for kindergarten and first grades as these grades were difficult in obtaining appr opriate grade level resources. Three of the eight beginning teachers taught in the primary grades ; they suggested that materials specific to their grade level be made available to future MOST participants. Several publishers such as Stenhouse, Heinemann, and Scholastic offer numerous affordable DVDs that demonstrate best teaching practices fo r reading, writing, and math. DVDs could be exchanged during face to face meetings allowing an expansion of grade level and subject specific resources available to the teachers.
118 Creating a library of professional resources for all grade levels and subjects th at wo uld be available for check out during the monthly mee tings would also be desirable Although book recommendations were often made on the site, the majority of teachers were unable to locate the suggested resource s at their school libraries Furthermore, f ew wanted to purchase a resource when they had already committed substantial amounts of their own monies to supply their classrooms. Nowhere was this financial commitment more evident when five teachers noted during an NSRF activity how much they had spe nt of their own money to supply their classrooms with adequate materials. Three of those five also purchased their own copiers out of frustration in not being able to copy materials for their students. Publishers such as those mentioned above as well as Corwin Press, Maupin House, and others have a multitude of print resources for all grade levels and subject matters and can often be purchased at discounted rates. Condense r esources. With 88% of the teachers involved in the study expressing varying leve ls of frustration with the site, it is evident that the site needs to be revamped to not be as congested or confusing to the user. Many of the frustrations expressed with the site stemmed from the busyness of the site in general. Four of the eight communication options could either be collapsed into an existing communication option or removed completely. For example, Great Teacher Books to Read! and The Suggestion Box could easily be integrated within The Teachers Lounge or Announcements communication f orums. Words of Wisdom and Inspiration should be removed as access and utility records show they were not utilized. Out of the 98 access records for Laura and Lisas Wonderings only 12 were made by the teachers. Similarly, the Words of Wisdom option wa s accessed five out of 67 times for a teacher participant usage rate of 7%. Other sections could be minimized or collapsed in order to make the site more appealing. Although the MOST site is constrained by the fixed features of Moodle, as stated in the p revious
119 chapter, steps can be taken to reduce the amount seen on any given active page viewed by a participant. Determine if statistical ability outweighs a ccessibility A determination needs to be made whether Moodles data and statistical capabilities are worth the multiple steps needed to access the various monthly tasks and resources and result s in access records. Three of the eight teachers (38%) specifically mentioned how the numerous steps needed to access different parts of the site were a source of frustration for them and acted more of deterrent in having them respond. Seventyfive percent of the teachers noted the site was too complex in general A lthough teachers had the ability to receive emails notifying them of recent postings allowing t hem to avoid logging on to the site to get the information, monthly activities and other MOST resources required them to log on and go through various steps to gain acces s to the activities and tasks. These steps provided insightful data into the utility and over all activity within the site. A sample of activity re ports are included in Appendix J However, t he UF facilitator along with other administrative personnel need to determine whether the cost of frustration on the teachers part is worth the prog rams ability to maintain records of activity. Schedule s ynchronous s essions. Synchronous sessions should be planned periodically, if not regularly within the site to stimulate greater collaboration and deeper discu ssion of topics and concerns. With t he MOST site being totally asynchronous, participants were afforded the ability to wor k online at a ny point within a 24 hour span. Although this is one of the benefits of online forums, it does keep group participants from interact ing with a sense of inti macy just as they would in person. Requests from five of the eight teachers to meet more than once a month for the monthly face to face meetings attests to their need to have more direct contact. S ynchronous sessions would create a viable alternative in meeting an additional time each month. Chat
120 sessions within the site could be established with designated chat dates and times which would require that all participant s be present online simulating face to face interaction s Another possible option that would allow participants to interact synchronously and collaborat ively as well as provide usage d ata is to create a w iki. Wikis allow anyone to add or edit the content within a particular web space. Additionally, each page has a page history which allows one to see who made changes to the page, when they were made, as well as what was changed. By using a wiki, c hat sessions c ould be geared toward conversa tion type postings and allow for more collaborative, team oriented kinds of interactions If impleme nted, attendance requirements would need to be clarified at the onset so as to not be confused with the asynchronous activities that are the predominant form of interaction within the MOST site. Create reflective a ctivities Examination of the teachers responses for the various monthly tasks found that the majority were not highly reflective and often were short responses that involved simple descr iptions or affirmations. F ew beginning teachers appear to have the skills or background to reflect in grea t detail, so the facilitator often plays a critical role in stimulating reflective thoughts and questions among the group members. Lack of time hampered the facilitator from responding mor e frequently and more thoughtfully. Again, funding the facilitators position would help to alleviate this as a paid facilitator would have more time to respond to the teachers questions and responses. R eflective questioning techniques could be utilized and thus elicit more reflective responses. Additionally, monthly t asks could include more thought provoking exercises that require deeper interaction by fellow members. Several of the monthly tasks asked teachers to: R eview each members posting and make a connection with at least two other members. Your connection s hould be based on what you l earned by reading their posting. With no guidelines or scoring
121 system such as a rubric to help guide and promote their thinking, responses were limited in their level of reflection. The ementoring and face to face facilitators as well as the UF professor prompted teachers by asking them to explain things a bit more or by asking the question, Why? but more indepth interactions could possibly have produced a higher level of reflection on the teachers part. Increase number of management discussion s and t asks Findings from the interviews, site access records, and email exchanges show that the topic of classroom management to be a continual, albeit decreasing topic of concern throughout the school year. More integration of management techniques and tips should be made beyond the monthly theme so as to build upon the beginning teachers management skills and increase their understanding of classroom management. With almost all of the teachers (88%) expressing the managemen t of their classrooms as an ongoing issue, the topic of classroom management should be revisited several times throughout the year not only to provide them ongoing support, but to also reinforce the concept that classroom management is an ongoing skill tha t needs continual refining. Coordinate face to face m eetings with monthly a ssignments. Efforts should be made to have the MOST faceto face topics and monthly online themes a nd tasks complement one another as a mismatch of the two components was viewed as a negative by three of the teachers. By having both coincide theme wise, concepts, skills, and ideas are reinforced making teachers learn ing more relevant and useful. A ctivities can be bridged allowing tasks to be assigned online with showcasing fina l products in person during the monthly face to face meetings. Differentiate tasks Monthly online resources and tasks should greater reflect the grade differences among the beginning teachers. Although many activities can be generalized across all gra de levels, resources need to be obtained that better reflect grade level differences and areas
122 of concentration. With the likelihood that future MOST participants will be teachers of varying grade levels and subject areas, efforts should be made in acquir ing resources that reflect this variability. As noted previously, an abundance of free resources are available online, but time is needed in order to locate, screen, write descriptions, and upload them to the site. Conduct Moodle and MOST site t raining Formal training on using Moodle would be highly beneficial to the ementoring facilitator as well as MOST participants. Although Moodle is a user friendly program and is relatively easy to understand, it is evident the program had features that if utilized would have minimized the frustration of the teachers. An example of this was a window diminishing feature that wasnt discovered until the end of the program. Even if the site is pared down with the number of resources it currently has, such a simple step as collapsing the various windows would have mad e the site more enticing and less overwhelming to the participants. With almost all of the teachers expressing some level of frustration with the site and five of the teachers noting their skills with Moodle were not as extensive as they initially expressed Moodle training is highly recommended. Implementation Phase II: During Program Clarify t eacher expectations On c e the MOST site is introduced and initially utilized by the teachers, group expec tations need to be reiterated and possibly refined by the facilitator. Lack of established deadlines and interaction expectations meant that reminders and nudges like the ones below had to be sent out several times over the course of the year: This email also serves as a gentle nudge as there are several of you that havent been posting by the different sessions due dates. I have hesitated in sending this, but I feel like I need to for several reasons: We really want this program to work in providing you support your first year of teaching. But so much of its success depends on the interactions that you all have with one another both face to face as well as online. Because the group is so small, everyone is a bit more dependent on the other members responses. When only 3 or 4 people are responding
123 during a session, it really hinders how we think about things and how much we grow. (Email from ementoring facilitator, 11/1/07) This last point is one that we have mentioned before and we hate that we have to bring the same points up again 4 mont hs later. We are really concerned about the number of late assignments, recent quality of some of the online assignments, and the lack of notification to us if you are unable to complete an online assignment. (M OST announcement from ementoring facilitator, 3/3/08) B y not having established written guidelines, the ementoring facilitator had to take on the additi onal role of the jovial nag-a term coined by Harris and Figg (2000) The time spent on sending reminders could have been much better spent on providing support and might have been avoided had there been established guidelines and expectations of quality provided at the beginning of the program. Suggestions from the administration and principal meetings that occur prior to implementation should also be used to guide the development of online and face to face expectations. Create p rogress rubric Progress rubrics tailored to online interactions and responses can aid in determining the quality of task re sponses, timeliness of site interactions and can act as a periodic guide for teachers to self monitor their online roles. With the majority of induction programs (including DCPS) graded as pass/fail and not A, B, C, etc., borderline performance by partici pants that minimally meets th e requirements of passing the p rogram often result s It would be helpful to assess participants interactions and timeliness of online assignments with a rubric scoring system several times throughout the nine months of the pr ogram. The ementoring coordinator c ould do this scoring as well as the individual teacher using self administered rubrics By using rubrics as a scoring system, the quality of the interactions could be guided and would also alleviate the need for the ementoring coordinator to send reminders for participants to co mplete or post tasks in a timely fashion.
124 Establish i nformal c orrespondence. Info rmal correspondence via email and phone can be helpful in maintaining open lines of communication in an unstruct ured, casual capacity. Although this might be considered above and beyond the call of duty on the facilitators part, it was found to be highly beneficial in helping to build rapport and trust with the beginning teachers and provided them with another mea ns of support during the 200708 year. Three of the teachers noted accessibility was a key trait in being an effective mentor Two teachers in particular noted the availability of the facilitator and liaison by email and phone as critical in their feel ing supported as beginning teachers. Sending informal, occasional emails just to check in can help lessen the unintentional formality that sometimes occurs within online en vironments. Giving the beginning teachers a direct phone number to the facilitat or is also recommended as a means of building trust and providing them a sense of security in knowing they can contact the facilitator directly and privately should the need arise. Implementation Phase III: End of Program Conduct teacher and principal i n terviews. Efforts should be made to conduct exit interviews with all of the beginning teachers involved in the MOST induction program. Their thoughts and insights are invaluable in helping to assess the utility of the program as well as determine areas i n need of improvement. Principals of schools that employed the beginning teachers should also be interviewed in order to get their eval u ation of MOSTs effectiveness in providing support to their schools TTT beginning teachers. However, as noted in Phas e I, communication should be established with principals at the beginning of the year in order to create rapport as well as establish a relationship that promotes a common mission. Overall recommendations Limit group s ize. With apprentice class size var ying from year to year, group size cannot always be guaranteed to be small in number. In the case that an apprentice class is greater than
125 10 in number, it would be wise to divide the larger group into two smaller groups so as to maintain a level of close ness and familiarity amon g the teachers. I f two or more groups are created, it would allow the teachers to be divided by primary and upper grades so as to make the support differentiated and pertinent to their grade level needs. Videotape a ll t eachers. T eachers should have the opportunity to view th emselves in action during the school year so as to not only have a record of themselves teaching, but to also allow them a chance to view their strengths, weaknesses, and growth. Minimally, all of the teache rs should be filmed at least once during the school year. Optimally, filming should occur twice -once in September and again in May providing several months in between filming sessions to hone their pedagogical skills as beginning teachers. Although only half of the teachers were able to be filmed due to scheduling issues, they found the taping of their teaching to be helpful and insightful with one of the teachers stating that it shouldnt be an option but rather it should be something that should be mo re mandatory than not (KZ 722723). Tapes would be viewed by the both the teacher and ementoring facilitator for reflective discussion on what is observed within the tapes and hopefully result in constructive dialogue that would improve areas of weakness or concern by either the teacher or facilitator. Continue to examine s i milar p rograms The ementoring facilitator should continue to research and examine successful online communities and ementoring programs that are specific in providing support and mentoring to beginning and novice teachers. With the growing number of online communities and the increasing role ementoring is taking within induction programs, a knowledge base of best practices has been formed and is continually being expanded. Regul arly revisiting this growing knowledge base will only improve the program as it exists now.
126 Add technological e nhancements. Technological advancements often make w hat was once viewed as a luxury, an attainable, commonplace technological tool. One such example of this is cyber coaching or bugin ear (BIE) technology. Cyber coaching uses advanced online and mobile technology to deliver immediate feedback to practitioners in real time (Rock, in press) By using such a technology, the ementoring program could be taken a step further in providing effective and low cost mentoring and coaching in real time without the need to have the mentor/coach onsite. The technology infrastructure needed would incur initial start up costs (approximately $200 for technology components: video camera, microphone, and earpiece bug), but could be maintained for a minimal investment thereafter. Additionally, webcams could also provide a means of synchronous communication between teachers, MOST facilitators, coaches and others. Now standard on most laptops and many desktop computers, webcams would allow participants to interact with one another in real time meshing the need to meet in person while eliminating distance and travel time. Insulate hybrid induction program from budget cuts. Although technology is seen as an attractive method in delivering support in an economical way, providing support via online methods is not recommended as the sole means of beginning teacher support and mentoring. Maintaining a h ybrid design that infuses faceto face with online interactions as a beginning teacher induction program is highly advised as a critical means of induction support for beginning teachers. The temptation by districts to reduce mentoring and induction programs so the least expensive component is the only component of their induction program becomes a reality for many beginning teachers. With economic downturns school districts are often the first to feel the results of diminished stat e and local budgets. E xcess programs not deemed essential to the day to day operations of schools are often the first to be reduced or eliminate d
127 completely. The allure of minimal cost and maximum coverage that online programs provide should not lessen the necessity of hybrid induction programs even in lean budget years. Responses from this study strongly indicate that both the face to face and online mentoring components were effective and needed in conjunction with one another in order to deliver a quality mentoring experience to the beginning teachers. The MOST induction program would not have delivered the same results had it been comprised of only one component. Both quality faceto face and online mentoring and support should be given priority and be maintained as a means of support for beginning teachers. Conclusion W hen asked if they would recommend MOST to future beginning teachers, it is evident from the responses of the eight teachers that MOST was successful in providing a tailored, mentoring program that delivered emot ional and instructional support. All eight of the beginning teachers who participated in MOST were rehired for th e 200809 school year. T he remaining seven within the original 15 of the cohort did not fare as well, with only four of those teachers being rehired for the 200809 school year. Although personal characteristics such as drive and determination certainly play into ones success, I would hope the eight teachers participation in MOST as well as the mentoring they received both online and face to face played a role in their development as beginning teachers and as a result, contributed to their being rehired for the 200809 year. The MOST induction program appear s to be a viable alternative to the DCPS beginning teacher induction program. Ideally it should be an option made available to all future TTT apprentices who graduate and go on to become DCPS firs t year teachers. With their unique experiences as apprentices, both the online and face to face components provide a unique form of support and mentoring that complements their skills and knowledge as newly minted
128 alternatively certified educators. MOST is a wise investment in helping to retain not only alternatively certified beginning urban teachers but beginning teachers in general and truly a worthwhile endeavor DCPS should preserve.
129 CHAPTER 7 A FTERWO RD The purpose of this evaluation was to determi ne the effectiveness and utility of a tailored ementoring program that was created over the course of a school year for eight alternatively certified beginning teachers in urban, elementary schools. All too often, induction programs along with their mentoring components are typically the first programs to receive decreased funding or eliminated altogether when there are dips in the economy. This is currently the case within Duval County as well as with the remaining 66 counties in Florida. At the time o f this writing, the state of Florid a was facing its third consecutive year of a sliding economy. Significant declines in the Florida housing market and historically high gas prices directly impacted Floridas tourism market resulting in a staggering $1.8 billion drop in the state coffers for the 2007 08 budget year (Dunkelberger, 2008) Public services which include public schools are often on the top of the list when cut backs need to be made. The DCPS system is no exception. For the past five years, DCPS has hired between 1200 1500 new teachers every school year and typically hires 600800 new teachers at the beginning of the school year. A hiring freeze in 2008 resulted in the county only hiring 500 teachers at the beginning of 200809 school year. It remains to be seen how many will ultimately be hired over the course of the year, al though it is unlikely the numbers will be in line with those of past years. Hiring freezes of this magnitude have multiple ramifications not only do past and present apprentice graduates face the possibility of not being hired upon the completion of their apprenticeship due to limited vacancies, but existing school faculty are stretched thin when added responsibilities are given to them due to having less personnel at their various school sites to carry out normal school duties. Thus, mentoring of new faculty becomes even more challenging with mentors having much less time and energ y to devote to their mentees. As a
130 result, we need to ask ourselves how do we make a case for mentoring and induction programs when faced with tight budget years? Are there steps that can be taken t o make mentoring and induction nonnegotiable within districts so they are insulated from budget cuts that cannot be scaled down or removed altogether? These questions must be addressed if mentoring and induction programs are to gain any foothold within school districts as lean and robust budget years can be expected over the course of time. The researchers goal of having MOST adopted by DCPS as an induction program for future TTT first year teachers looked quite feasible when MOST ended in May. Disc ussions had been held in making MOST required for the 200809 beginning teachers who had been apprentices d uring the 200708 school year. Three months later, hiring freezes made th is scenario questionable Currently, the second cohort of apprentices who graduated during the 200708 are enrolled in MOST and are using the induction program to fulfill their induction requirements. Although the program was handed over in its entirety (online and face to face) to two former DCPS teachers to implement, the em entoring component has yet to be utilized by this second group of beginning teachers. The issue of time cannot be understated in this evaluation. With beginning teachers time being pulled on from all directions and people th eir first year, how do we construct ementoring programs that are worthwhile and demand attention, but dont drain teachers of their energy and command too much of their time? Do we have them make time by placing requirements and stipulations on their level of i nteraction and respo nses? D o we risk turning them off by doing such things? The concept and use of time are still major issues within the field of online learning
131 and many o nline communities are still grappling with the concerns of time just as we did with MOST. Adding to the complexities and obstacles faced by DCPS beginning teachers is the districts policy that requires new teachers to stay at their schools for a minimum of three years provided there are openings and teachers contracts have been renewed. Created as a means to stabilize the teaching faculty at schools, particularly those in hard to staff areas, this policy can be counterproductive if teachers who are not a good fit for the school have to remain for an additional two years making the relationship strained and the novice teachers foray into education a negative experience. With the initial experiences of beginning teachers setting the tone and trajectory for their education careers, this is a risky policy that should be reexamined. All of these issues compound the complexities surrounding effective mentoring and induction programs for DCPS. However, many of the questions asked in this chapter pertain to districts across the United States and not just those in Florida. If mentoring and induction progra ms are to sustain the potential they have exhibited in countless studies, more needs to be done in creating, providing, and maintaining effective me ntoring and induction programs particularly during restricted budget years Closing c omments Patton (2002) wisely reminds us of the importance of implementing evaluation findings, but even more important, the human element inherent in all programs: The primary criterion for judging such evaluations is the extent to which intended users actually use the findings for decision making and program improvement. The methodological implication of this criterion is that the intended users must value the findings and find them credible. They must be interested in the stories, experiences, and perceptions of the program participants behind simply knowing how many came into the program, how many completed it, and how many did what afterward. (p.10) As the ementoring facilitator and evaluator it is my hope that this program evaluation will not only put a face on findings that are too often lost in statistical analysis, but more importantly
132 broaden our understanding of the positive influence ementoring can have upon beginning teachers, particularly those who teach in our most challenging schools.
133 APPENDIX A SYLLABI Educ ational Psychology: General (EDF 6211) Summer Semester, 2007 SYLLABUS Required Text Educational Psychology: Theory and Practice by Robert E. Slavin (2006, 8th edition) Goals/Course Description This course will survey basic psychological principles, te chniques, and research in the behavioral, developmental, and cognitive areas of education. The course is designed for graduates who have a minimal background in psychology. The goal of this course is to help students learn about fundamental themes in Educ ational Psychology. We will accomplish this goal by talking, reading, and writing about the research presented in your textbook and in the online materials. T here will be an emphasis on core areas of Developmental, Behavioral, and Cognitive Psychology. W e will also discuss individual differences, assessment, and standardized testing. About Your Text Your text is an important learning instrument. The majority of exam questions will be drawn from your text; as such, all material in your text is fair game for exams, unless otherwise specified This includes information that we may not have covered in a lecture or information that was only briefly covered. So, it is important that you thoroughly read all assigned chapters. About Lecture It is not my object ive to cover all of the material in the text during the on line lectures. Rather, I will focus on major themes in each chapter. I will use these lectures to clarify theories presented in the text. Your questions and participation in our discussion section of the course are always welcome.
134 COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING Grading will be based on Group Pushing the Envelope Reports, your individual discussion contribution, and 2 exams. Pushing the Envelope Reports Each week, all groups in the course will be responsible for answering questions that we have developed to extend the text/lecture or will post a question about educational psychology that is beyond the scope of the lecture or textbook ( e.g., we cant find the answer in either of those sources). In either case, each group will research their question and attempt to provide an answer. These reports are limited to a singlespaced page of text. Each week I will select the most compelling reports and will incorporate those into the course on line dis cussion. Online Discussion Each week you will write a short paragraph adding to our discussion of the theory and research presented in class. I will provide more detail about specific topics as we progress through the course. Exams There will be two on line exams. The exams will be multiple choice. Each exam is worth 50 points each for a total of 100 points Grading Source Points Percent Pushing the Envelope Reports (7 @ 10pts each) 70 35% Online discussion (30 pts) 30 15% Exams (2 @ 50 pts eac h) 100 50% Grades Grades will be based on the following cutoffs: 90 100% = A range 80 89% = B range 70 79% = C range 60 69% = D range less than 60% = E
135 POLICIES AND EXPECTATIONS Academic Dishonesty: Cheating or plagiarism in any acade mic setting is unacceptable. According to the Universitys Academic Honesty Guidelines ( http://www.dso.ufl.edu/STG/stgfront.html ): Plagiarism is defined as: The attempt to represent the work of another as the product of one's own thought, whether the work is published or unpublished, or simply the work of a fellow student. Cheating is defined as: The improper taking or tendering of any information or material which shall be used to determine academic credit. Please see the website for procedures that wi ll be followed if cheating or plagiarism is suspected. Upon suspicion of academic dishonesty, you will need to meet with me and the Chair of the Educational Psychology Department to discuss the consequences of your actions. This isnt a fun meeting for eit her party, so please dont put yourself in that position. Accommodating Students with Disabilities : Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation t o the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation. Course Incomplete s : A grade of Incomplete I will only be given in extreme circumstances ( e.g.,illness) and must be pre approved by the instructor. If approved, a contract will be drawn up with the student specifying assignments and due dates. According to the University, all incomplete work must be completed by the following semester or you will receive a punitive incomplete ( e.g., the same as an E).
136 Tentative Course Schedule Week Topic Readings Welcome to Class: Ed Psych: General Week 1 Introductions, syllabus, & introduction to Educational Psychology Syllabus & Ch 1 Historical perspectives/ perspectives on teaching/ Research used in E d Psych. Lecture Ch 1 Psychological Approaches to Education Week 2 Developmental Ch 2 Ch 3 Lecture Week 3 Behavioral Ch 5 Lecture Week 4 General Cognitive Themes Ch 6 Lecture Exam I Practical Issues in Education Week 5 Motivation Ch 10 Lecture Week 6 Individual differences (Intelligence/Exceptional) Ch 9 Ch 12 Lecture Week 7 Assessment Ch 13 Lecture Week 8 Standardized Testing Ch 14 Lecture Exam II/ Lesson Plan is Due Note: This is a tentative schedule. Lectures, exam dates, and assigned readings are subject to change.
156 APPENDIX B SCREEN SHOTS
167 APPENDIX C NSRF PROTOCOL EXAMPLES
171 APPENDIX D MOST TEACHER SEMI STRUCTURED INTERVIEW PROTOCOL Thank you again for agree ing to be interviewed today ___________. I just wanted to ask you a few questions about your background and training as well as information on the UF induction program and mentoring that you have received this year as a beginning teacher. Ill be recordin g our conversation as well as taking abbreviated notes while we speak. Please feel free to not respond to any of the questions as well as to ask for any clarification. ***** Background Information What is your previous career background? What did you receive your bachelors degree in? Where did you receive your degree? Why did you go into teaching? How did you find out about the apprentice program? What class did you find to be the most meaningful in terms of your preparation last year? Least helpful? Current Teaching Information What grade are you teaching in this school year? How many students are currently in your classroom? Was this your first choice of grade level to teach? What do you like about this grade level? Dislike? If not, what grade level would you like to be teaching? Why? Thinking back to the beginning of the year what was your biggest concern about this school year? Is _____________still a concern for you? What are your strengths as a new teacher? What do you feel are your weaknesses?
172 What has been your biggest surprise as a new teacher? What is one word you would use to describe your current teaching situation right now? What was your proudest moment this year? Does reflection play a role in your life as a beginning teacher? If so, how? Probe about time to reflect, impact, beginning year vs. now, etc) Do you feel there is an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect in your school? Mentor and Support Received First Year Who is your current onsite m entor? What is his/her teaching assignment? Is he/she at your school? How much time did she/he spend with you during preplanning in helping you prepare for your 1st year? Did she/he provide you with any materials/resources to start your 1st year? How often do you communicate with him/her? How often has he/she observed your teaching? Who do you turn to for teaching advice? How often do you get to meet, plan, or collaborate with teachers in your grade level? Have you had the opportunity to meet, pla n and or teach with special education teachers? How big of a role has the apprentice cohort played a role in providing you support this year? How different would this 1st year been without the various supports you have received? Did you ever experienc e feelings of isolation as a new teacher? What helped to lessen these feelings? Did you ever feel overwhelmed as a new teacher? What helped to lessen these feelings? Were having adequate supplies, materials, resources ever a problem for you this 1st ye ar?
173 If you were a mentor to a beginning teacher next year, what advice would you give them? MOST What makes an effective mentoring program? What makes an effective induction program? What did you like about the MOST F2F meetings? What could we have done to make the MOST F2F meetings better? What was the most useful component of them? Least useful component? What do you wish we had done more of face to face? Would you recommend MOST to other beginning teachers or would you tell them to take the Du val County program? Combination? Do you feel that the distance between Duval and Gainesville affected how MOST worked (or didnt work)? MOST online What could we have done to make the MOST online component better? What was the most useful component of the online component? Least useful component? There are several resource clusters on the site, which was the most useful to you? There are several communication choices on the site, one of which was just in time mentoring did you use this? If not, why? Did you use email for this instead? When announcements were sent out notifying you of helpful websites, did you investigate the site and/or use the site? Why or why not? Did you take advantage of the subscription service, where updates were sent to your email address so you didnt have to log on to MOST to be able to read those updates? How much of what was on the site was something you already knew about as far as a resource/website?
174 What would you change about the site? If you had technical diffi culties, were they easily resolved? Where did you mostly complete the MOST online assignments? Home, school or both equally? Do you feel the monthly activities helped your teaching and were useful? If not, why? How would you have done things differentl y if you were designing/planning MOST? How effective were the video clips in helping you see expert teachers think about their teaching? Did you feel that having 34 weeks was long enough to respond? Do you think there were too many assignments, too lit tle? Just right? What do you wish we had done more of online? Was there any particular online component that made a difference for you as a beginning teacher? The Future Knowing now what you didnt know then, what will you do differently next year as a 2nd year teaching? Do you think you will remain in teaching? In the field of education? In 5 years, 10 years? What grade level/s would you like to teach next? Why? Would you like to have a similar, but not as rigorous program next year to help provi de you support? Maybe just have the communications options available on MOST for 2nd year teachers? If you could tell the Duval County School Board one thing about being a beginning teacher in Duval County, what would you tell them? Do you have any comm ents or questions that you would like to add or ask?
175 APPENDIX E SURVEY
182 Survey Responses
183 Survey Responses
184 Survey Responses
185 MOST Survey Result Comments Please include any comments you have about your preparation as an apprentice. My preparation as an apprentice was paramount in the successes that I've had this year as a first year teacher. I cannot imagine walking into a classroom with no experience. The apprenticeship laid the foundation and made me think long a nd hard about my long term goals as an educator. It definitely sets you on the right path and provides support for your career. I would recommend it to anyone willing to learn. Thu, 5/1/08 5:53 PM Being exposed to more school environments would have bee n highly beneficial. Wed, 4/9/08 2:14 PM Unfortunately I did not see my teacher use the guidance programs available to her, which has left me to learn on my own this past year. It would have been beneficial to sit in on a MRT or TARGET meeting. Wed, 4/9/08 2:00 PM There were numerous areas that I was ill prepared for this year. These areas included Target Team, behavior interventions, parent teacher conferences, IEP's MRT meetings, etc. Wed, 4/9/08 2:00 PM Please include any comments you have about s upport you have or have not received. Of course we are always more interested in those things that are not required of us. I am disappointed with my school based support. I am not sure who is to blame. I do not know what I would have done without my fellow past apprentices, new apprentices and UF support in general. Katie and Lisa have been a tremendous help. They are so giving of their time and talent. I wish there were teachers at my school like them. The opportunity for continued learning has been very beneficial and a good alternative to the traditional DCPS TIP program. Thu, 5/1/08 5:57 PM MOST would benefit from a more regimented structure paralleling a traditional online course. I.e. a syllabus Wed, 4/9/08 2:17 PM Administration is rarely avail able to teachers at our school even though they constantly tout they have an open door policy. There is also no follow thru on what they have committed to do even though they write it down. My fellow grade level teachers have provided absolutely no support this year. The support I have received inside the school has come from other grade levels. The school board through its public comments and actions reveals that it does not support its teachers. From having to pay for everyday supplies out our salaries to failure to address consistent student behavior problems at the school level. They have been more concerned with Supt. Wise and their own images rather than addressing the real problems in Duval County Schools.
186 Please include any comments you have about your working environment. It is very difficult working at my school. The atmosphere is a negative from administration down to the students. Teachers are not collaborating or even getting along for that matter. Changes had to be made and people have a har d time accepting them and adapting. There's backbiting, tempers flaring, unprofessional behaviors, laziness and cheating. If it were not for the three year stipulation and the children, I would not want to be a part of this organization. Thu, 5/1/08 6:00 P M Most of the items are directly attributable to the climate of change we are involved in. Wed, 4/9/08 2:11 PM My main concern this year has been that the majority of the focus of our resources (both staff and financial) have gone to grades 3 5. I feel as though some of the discipline problems that I have had could have been tempered earlyon if I had had the support that I needed. This goes both ways I did not always ask for support because I knew that the emphasis was on the upper grades. Please include any comments you have about your abilities as a teacher and how they have changed over the course of the school year. I don't think my classroom management has improved this year. If anything, it's become worse due to the frequent incoming and outgoing of students. I felt like I was teaching rituals and routines all year as if it were week one. Thu, 5/1/08 6:04 PM My ability as a math teacher would improve drastically if I had a curriculum to work with other than Math Investigations, the stude nts would really benefit from practice sessions. Wed, 4/9/08 2:19 PM I am an ELA teacher so I do not teach science, SS, or math. Wed, 4/9/08 2:07 PM Please include any comments you have about the MOST online component. I don't recall having a focused session on the items marked 'minimal help'. I can use help with assessments and teaching math especially. I don't remember going in depth about parent communication. Thu, 5/1/08 6:08 PM I have greatly enjoyed the video streaming and have found a majori ty of the assignments to be beneficial. In the future I would suggest having a primary and upper level component that would be more tailored to our needs. Please include here any comments you have about the MOST faceto face component. I always learned s omething new at our face to face sessions and appreciated the feedback after observations. Thu, 5/1/08 6:10 PM
187 I have enjoyed having the opportunity to discuss issues with a group of like minded professionals. Our conversations have been a great reminde r that we are all in very similar situations and that we may not be the only ones dealing with these situations (which is how it sometimes feels) Source: http://www.surveymonkey.com/sr.aspx?sm=qz4WtIvLbtR2aNB0f3V1IXeIOGmjk_2ftNpoO03H KrKK0_3d
188 APPENDIX F THEMES AND PATTERNS
189 Carl Cathy Irene Kathi Laura Opal Tina Adam Background Information Male X X Female X X X X X X Age 28 26 45 33 27 34 53 29 D egree Communi Criminology Construction Museum Business Legal studies Business Computer cations Mgt. Studies Grade teaching 2 4 1 K 4 2 K 3 # of kids 19 19/19 10 12 20 /20 18 18 17 Reasons to go into teaching: always wanted to teach X X Others told them to Teaching was a calling X Summers off X Give back to community X Relatives in teaching X X X X Most helpful -reading class X X X X X X X X Least helpful -psychology/assess X X X Current Teaching Amount of work -didn't realize X X X X X ESE teacher no support X X X X In grade they chose X no -but like X no -but like Wish to remain in grade X X X X X X X ?
190 Carl Cathy Irene Kathi Laura Opal Tina Adam Wish to loop with kids X X X Pre -adjective overwhelmed frustrated intense hectic overwhelmed none none none exhausted Post adjective overwhelmed excellent fulfilling efficien t Cliquey environment X X X X Have to know politics -covert X X X X Lack of professionalism X X X X Pressure of Title I school/Reading 1st X X Last minute/unplanned things occur X X X Mentoring and Support Mentor consultants Assigned mentor no help X X X not at 1st X had 3 m ent Mentor help at beginning of year X no no no Collaboration with others -more of X X X X X X talking than planning Confusion of mentors/switched X X X Forms of support: Principal X X Lauren X X X Standard/Reading/Writing Coaches X X X X Apprentice group X no X no Aide X
191 Carl Cathy Irene Kathi Laura Opal Tina Adam Katie, Lisa and Diane X X X X Other apprentice X X X X Assigned Mentor X X X Mentor Consultant X N/A ?? no no N/A no no Classroom Mgt -weakness X X X X X X Default mentor X X X X X Lack of collegiality X X X X no What makes good mentor knowledge commitment accessibility accessibility buy in multiple accessibility Alignment communi desire sources of in thinking cation supp ort F2F M eet more often X X X No X X Chance to talk more freely X X X X Ability to share was important X X X X X X Don't stick to 2 hour -allow to X X X go over Articles were useful X X X Felt rushed at times X X X X Having known the group for year X X X X closeness allowed for risk taking
192 Carl Cathy Irene Kathi Laura Opal Tina Adam MOST online Website too busy X X X Too many layers to go through X X X Videos were helpful and X X X X X X X caused reflection technology not smooth and seamless -spotty notification too many communication X X X X options Content areas were empty X X at times cut stuff out of site X X X X X Replying to others seemed forced X X Irritation of people not posting X M ost helpful component Assessment X X X X X Centers X X X X Articles X X X Videos X X X X X X X X Requested to have access later X X X X X Need time to go through reso urce X X X X X look over during the summer
193 Carl Cathy Irene Kathi Laura Opal Tina Adam Tailored to their needs X X X Any problems were easily resolved X X X X X X X X Websites were useful and new X X X X X X X X Completed assignments at home X X X X X X X X Distance of Linda and me no issue 50/50 X X no Like email notices and used No X X 3 4 weeks adequate time X X X X X X too long X roll out date Assignments were meaningful X X X X X X would help to be grade level specific X X Need to start earlier X X Source of support X X Activity Log Access Total 317 694 471 815 545 378 519 799 Just in Time 1 0 0 10 0 0 8 0 Calendar X X X no no no X F uture Wants Need to have a mini course X X X X X on how to use Moodle even though they used it before Need to be more strict from begin X X X X
194 Carl Cathy Ir ene Kathi Laura Opal Tina Adam management wise Training on ESOL, ethics, inclusion X Communication negatives Element of distrust X X X X we vs. the m Disgruntlement of people getting more time to respond X X X DCPS is out of touch with realities X X X X Principal -lack of communication X X X X Lack of communication within school X X X ESE support lacking X X X Misc. Closeness of group X NO X X X No? Parental support lacking X X X X X X Only one was online kind of learner X Bought their own copier X X Serendipitous found out about X X X X X Apprentice program Assigned additional duties Inclusion Grade level apprentice Mentoring during 1st year teacher chair in room other teacher
195 Carl Cathy Irene Kathi Laura Opal Tina Adam Model class Inte rview page length 18 16 23 23 21 13 18 23 Interview time 61 min 76 min 91 min 132 min 82 min 62 min 111 min 105 min Wish list More training in writing X X X More training in math X X Would recommend MOST X X X X X X X X
196 APPENDIX G JOURNAL EXCERPTS 11/18/07 Trying to figure out when to post something that goes to the entire group or not. Example of Opal s rules there were too many and most started with the word no. I dont want the group to think that her ideas were not addressed but I also didnt want to embarrass her. Trying to convey my thought and feelings online is also hard feel like what I would sa y in person wouldnt have to be so guarded as when I type them up constantly having to reread and rewrite what I wrote since I am not sure how it will be taken by the person reading it on the other end. 12/1/07 I am realizing how much time it takes to write things that convey the correct meaning. I will spend twice as much time to get my thoughts down so I dont come across the wrong way. It is very difficult to do at times. Wish I felt more in sync with the group. I often feel like an outsider havent figured out how to fit in. I dont know if it is more of me feeling like that or just they are too busy to notice a lack of communication with me. 12/14/07 We had our Christmas gathering at Tree Fire Grill this past Tuesday. It was a nice gathering. T ina Carl and Opal were unable to make it. I hear from Tina and Opal but not from Carl ---he rarely makes contact anymore. I am worried about him. Trying to figure out how much information to give them without pissing them off. Since they didnt seem to want more books, I have been busy reading them myself and scanning what I think they might want to save them some time. I cant tell if they are helpful or not. District people think they have been helpful but in reality they havent --c ase of Adam and books being put on his desk. Perception is Reality You can lead a horse to water but you cant make him drink 12/15/07 I used the report status today to see if they were visiting different parts of the site. It is so frustrating in that the things I have taken the time to hunt down write up and post arent being used. I often wonder if I were _____, would they respond bet ter to what I have put up there? 12/16/07 What I would do differently: Make sessions 1 month or 3 weeks in length Use videos as primary source of teaching Set up the site from the get go Concentrate more on communication area seems to be the most utilized area. 11007 Trying to figure out when to prompt and prod the teachers is difficult at times to do. Walking a fine line between being a pain in the ass and a concerned facilitator.
197 I am worried about Carl he seems so disconnected from the group. I dont know how or if I should reach out to him. 11307 Cant tell if teachers are just so overwhelmed with things right now that they arent posting or that they have gotten more comfortable with their jobs. Or they just dont feel that the site is useful -which concerns me. I havent been responding to them due to Jake being so sick. I am worried about Carl havent heard from him or Candy Candy I figure is just busy --she has been on the site a bit makes me feel like she is okay. I sent an email to both and havent received any word from them. 2208 A new year. We had our 1st meeting of the new year on Wednesday. I brought along a lot of stuff to share as I am not usually able to due to time running out. I also taped the meeting. I realize after listening to it that I didnt explain things as thoroughly as I needed to I left out directions that they might be able to figure ou t, but I dont know if they will. They are a tough group to read. Linda felt the meeting went well. I didnt feel like that. I always feel my communication style with adults is not as good as it should be. I dont know what has happened since I came up here --I always seem to get more nervous than I shouldI stumble for words and forget to tell them things. I also sped up my talk I was worried about eating up too much of Linda s time. We finally heard from Carl He is struggling. Not sure he is going to make it. 21008 Things have gone from bad to worse with Carl Linda and I went to visit him the day we had our face to face meeting. We even bought him the supplies for a strategy Elaine wanted him to try, but he still doesn't get it even with all of the he lp that has been given to him. It is very frustrating we dont understand the hesitancy in taking us up on our offer to help. Learned helplessness? Survival. Woe is me. Surrender. All seem to be themes as to what he going thru right now. His kids are suffering due to no learning going on. I wonder when he gave up on himself? I am surprised he is letting the learning of his kids go the wayside. Not good-as they need all of the help they can get. 21408 Carl hasnt been on the site s ince January. No one has heard from him. I am very worried about his kids. Its a wasted year for them. Tina asked at the meeting why I was cc ing Melinda I could tell she felt uncomfortable with me doing so even though we need to include Melinda in th e loop. Trying to find this balance of keeping everyone informed but allow them a safe space to interact is hard. Where to draw the line?
198 21708 Learning to post and not put too much info up on the site has also been a balancing act posted a site for award maker certificateshad a variety for all kinds of things I have to do this sell job to convince them to go on but at the same time I want them to make connections and make the leaps they need to---Well Candy did! I only put up a basic bit of infoshe went on the site and noted that they could use the certificates for things other than just academics. So glad to see she picked up on that! I am worried that some of them havent been on the site in a long time --the reports are very helpful. It has been so frustrating not getting email responses from them. I sent a request to them for their new email addresses since their district changed theirs. Only 1 Laura responded. 22708 We had our Feb meeting on Wednesday. I am shocked still that so many of them come in late or dont give notification about things. Irene came in an hour late, Shelly was 45 minutes late, and Candy was about 30 minutes late. No reasons -just late. Opal and Carl didnt show. We later found out that Candy had to take her daughter to the hospital. No word from Carl at all. I think he has just quit and not told anyone. The group needed to bring in a book to discuss how they would create centers. This assignment had been postponed. I sent out several reminders Tina and L aura didnt bring anything. I realize now that we should have put in place expectations with online and F2F Its been frustrating. Also, had an observation appointment with Adam at 12:30. I show up and it turns out it is lunch for his kids had to wait a good 30 minutes in my car. Little miffed about him not letting me know beforehand. I am surprised at their general lack of other peoples time. Candy is having to go away for 6 weeks hasn t approached us on getting the assignments beforehand. Lack of re sponsibility. 3208 What is so interesting is that the person who I thought was going to make things the toughest for me has turned out to be one of the ones I look forward to talking with the most. The first meeting we had with them, Kathi was kind of snappy and confrontational. Now, it is more supportive and encouraging. I dont know if this is because she has had a chance to get to know me and where I am coming from or because we both have children who are in the same age range. She had the chance to meet Jake at our Christmas gathering, and so I wonder if that helped to make the connection? Either way, I am just glad it has happened. Rapport has been key in this. Kind of like fishing when posting somethingyou dont want to give them too much you hope they will take the bait and make their own connections. Example of Candy and certificate maker. Also, when I ask them to do something, try to give them a reason for doing so. Trying to write things that wont tick them off is so time consuming!
199 I have spent hours today writing things that I dont want to upset them with. 31608 I have a question. Our assignments seem to be getting longer and longer. I have only done Task 1 and 2 and have been at this 3 1/2 hours. Are these assignments to accommodate the people who want Masters credit? The Duval Tip program doesn't require this level of participation and this could be one of the reasons why not all of the former apprentices are not taking part in the UF Tip program. While I value the information g ained in these assignments, I still don't feel they address my grade level's needs. How do I accurately respond to material that is solely geared to grades 35? I just received this from Tina and it has taken me a good 45 minutes to respond to her without ticking her off. Communicating online is exhausting at times! 32108 Tina called me the other night and we spoke for about an hour. This was a huge step for this program I feel. And a huge step for my relationship with them. It was more of a call out of frustration and venting than anything. We met today to talk about the group and research questions to ask. The question of if they will be honest with us when we are doing our interviews came up. I think they will be I think they are all pretty f orthright with us at this point. 32208 Finally heard back from Carl felt like I was a parent having t o chastise him about not communicating with us when he should have. I ended up sending a 2nd email because I felt guilty and that I didnt really add ress his needs. He wants to make up things. I am trying to be supportive, but all I really want to do is ask him D o you really want to do this? Do you see yourself doing this for the next several years at this same school? But I dont feel like I can ask him without being rude. Dont know if he wants to face reality or not.
200 APPENDIX H IRB CONSENT LETTER
202 APPENDIX I MONTHLY ACTIVITIES AND TASKS Session 1 September 24th October 5th What are we all doing here and just what does MOST stand f or? Session 1 Task 1: Introduction Activity General Introduction Welcome to the MOST site! (Mentoring and Online Support for new Teachers) We are really looking forward to creating a positive, professional online learning community. Please take a few mom ents to review all the resources that can be found on this site. You will find a lot of helpful information such as technical tutorials, software downloads, and many other resources. If you are a new to this learning environment, make sure to watch all of the technical tutorials to learn how to navigate through this site. Keep in mind this site is a work in progress. Helpful and exciting new components will be added on a regular basis weve only just begun! Look for lesson plans, video clips on teaching str ategies, articles on a variety of topics such as discipline, effective parent conferences, etc. Netiquette Guidelines Topic 1: Expectations As you can see, each MOST session runs approximately every 2 weeks. Due to holidays and breaks, you may notice some sessions are a bit longer. Sessions begin on a Monday and end on a Friday with a weekend in between. As the moderators of the site, we will have sessions posted the Sunday before they begin. We know your schedules are hectic, but please pay attention to the posting dates as they are critical in allowing the other members time to reflect and respond in a meaningful manner. Topic 2: Quality Online Discussion Engaging in a quality online discussion is a skill that develops over time. Although this is not online class, it is online forum that is one component of your requirements as a beginning teacher for Duval County School System. Your partic ipation is needed not only to fulfill your obligations of this program option, but more importantly, your participation is greatly needed to help us think more deeply about this school year and what it means to be a first year teacher. Topic 3: Its not just what you say, but how you say it What is a meaningful response? A meaningful response is one that shows reflection, connection, and possibly further exploration. A posting of I agree with Harrys insights is an example of how not to respond. We wa nt this forum to be meaningful for everyone and not just a requirement to fulfill as a beginning teacher. It is our hope that by your participation in this learning community and monthly meetings that you will grow professionally as a beginning
203 teacher by thinking critically of who you are teaching, what you are teaching, and how you are teaching. Session 1 Task 1 Introduction Activity This goal of this task is to give our group an idea of what your current teaching environment is like. Create a single pos ting with the following information > Introduction Activity Directions: 1. Write 3 4 paragraphs describing your classroom and teaching experience thus far and be sure to include: school you are teaching in this year grade level you are teaching number of students you are teaching something that you have been surprised by as a new teacher something you are struggling with as a new teacher 2. As a beginning teacher, what are some of your personal goals this year as you begin your new career? Post 2 or 3. 3. You shoul d post your description and goals by September 30th so that everyone will have adequate time to review and respond. 4. On or before October 5th, review each members posting and make a connection with at least 2other members. Your connection should be based on what you learned by reading their posting. Session 1 Task 2: Communication Options Activity 1. As you can see, there are a variety of communication methods that are tailored for your communication needs. Explore the M.O.S.T. Communication menu at the top of the page. By October 5th: View the announcement box for any upcoming news and assignment information. Visit the Teachers Lounge and post a rant, rave, or sigh. Visit the Suggestion Box and post one suggestion. Visit the Justin Time Mentoring section. Think about something you could use a little help or advice with currently and submit a brief description of your concern, question, etc. (This is a private posting and will not be seen by other members of the learning community) Session 2 October 8 19th C ommunication is the key Most of us have probably heard the phrase "Communication is key" at some point in our lives. When we take the time to reflect upon our relationships with family, friends, coworkers, etc. we can see how critical the role good commun ication plays in making those relationships work well. Just as good communication is critical in our adult relationships it is as equally important with our students.
204 Think about your communication style. Does it seem to be working with your students? T his online session, we want you to take some time to think about the communication in your classroom with your students. Session 2 Task 1: Classroom Communication The goal of this task is for you to critically and reflectively look at your communication w ith your students. You will either need a tape recorder or digital recorder for this sessions task. Tape a 30 minute interval of your classroom in action as far as verbal communication goes. Pick a time when you have at least 50% of your class the more students the better as it is a better reflection of the realities of your classroom. Place the recorder in an area where it will pick up your voice as well as your students. You will probably want to do a test run to make sure you are can hear yourself int eracting with the students. Listen to at least 15 minutes of the tape. Reflect on what you discovered about how you communicate with your students. Create a single posting with the following information. Post it as: Session 2Communication 1. Write 2 3 paragr aphs on what you noticed about your communication style after listening and reflecting upon what you heard. Some things to help guide your thinking: What is the first thing you notice about your communication style? How well do you hear your students? Do you really listen to what they are saying? Do you give your students enough wait time before responding to them? What is your tone of voice like? Do you notice if it changes for certain students? If so, why do you think that happens? What is your speed like ? Do you have a tendency to talk fast in certain situations? Did you find anything surprising by doing this activity? How can you use what you discovered to improve the communication with your students? 2. You should post your response by October 14th so tha t everyone will have adequate time to review and respond. 3. On or before October 19th, review each members posting and make a connection with at least two other members. Your connection should be based on what you learned by reading their posting. 4. Turn your tape in at our next face to face meeting.(Since we are accountable to the Duval County School System, we have to collect any artifacts of your work so you can receive credit for participating in the UF induction program)
205 Session 2 Task 2 Drawing on my fi ne command of language, I said nothing. --Robert Benchley Reflect upon the quote above by Benchley. How can you apply his quote to your classroom and your interactions with your students? What role does silence play in our classrooms? Can we use silence as a means of communication? And if so, how can we use silence effectively? 1. Post a reaction/response to the quote by October 19th and post it as: Session 2Silence Session 3 October 22nd November 2nd Hearing our Students' Voices Hearing our Students Many of us savor the chance to read aloud a favorite book of our own or of our students. Read alouds are not only a great way to introduce good literature but they can be a powerful teaching tool. Katherine Bomers fifth grade class showcases techniques for involving all students in a classroom read aloud by modeling, supporting and encouraging conversations among her students. Bomer, a primary and intermediate teacher in New York, Indiana, and Texas, worked for five years at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project along with Lucy Calkins. This session, we want you to see how silence and conversation with a read aloud can create powerful classroom instruction. Session 3 Task 1 The goal of this weeks session is to see how read alouds can be used as an effective teaching strategy to help give voice to all of your students. View Voices in the Classroom #2 video clip. To view the clip, go to the Video and Audio Library resource cluster found on the MOST site. Click on the Reading link. Go to the Teacher s and Students in Action section and click on the link at the end of the paragraph. Watch the video clip and create a single posting with answering the questions below and post it as: Session 3 Powerful Conversations. What do you notice about Katherine Bom ers routine for reading aloud? What do you think makes the way Katherine Bomer conducts her read aloud so powerful?
206 What are some of the questioning techniques you observed that she uses to stimulate conversation amongst her students and enhance their com prehension? What do you notice about how she incorporates silence into her lesson? Even though none of us are teaching 5th grade this year, how can you build in similar structures/opportunities to allow for meaningful conversations betwe en and amongst our students? Was there an Aha Moment for you when you watched this clip? 2. Post your response by October 28th 3. On or before November 2nd, review each members posting and make a connection with at least one other member. Your connection should be based on what you learned by reading their posting. Session 3 Task 2 Post your daily schedule so we can see what our different schedules are like for a typical school day on or before November 2nd. Post what your reading block entails within your daily schedule. What do you feel most comfortable with in your reading block? What do you find yourself struggling with? Is there anything you would like to change to make it more effective for your students? Session 4 November 5th 30th Classroom Management Classroom Management As you all know, good management skills are critical in having a well run class. By now you have experienced how good time management, behavior management, and classroom management can make the difference in having a really good day, a soso day, or a day you would rather forget. As your students become more comfortable with you and the classroom, they begin to push their boundaries and as a result, you might find that what worked one month ago is not longer as effective with your students. Someti mes you just need to do some tweaking with your management plan, other times, you need to implement something totally new. This 4th session involves examining your management plan as well as implementing a new management strategy. Because this session invo lves more time and reflection, we will be extending the dates so the session will run from November 2nd through November 30th. (You have until December 7th to post the log of your 23 week strategy experiment to give you some flexibility in implementing it as well as due to the holidays). Well be sending out a new MOST calendar once we have adjusted the calendar dates.
207 Session 4 Task 1 Post your current management plan What rules do you have posted? What are the consequences if a student doesnt follow your plan? etcby November 18th. What is making it effective with your students? Is there anything you feel needs improving? What is the biggest management issue you are confronted with currently? By November 30th, review each members plan. Pick 1 and res pond to their current plan by asking a question or posting a comment. Session 4 Task 2: Classroom Management Strategies and Techniques The goal of this session is to have you really think about how your management plan is working for you and your students Go to the Light Bridge Management page that can be found in the classroom management link in the MOST video library to access the various management modules. 1. View the intro and 3 lesson video clips (use the tabs at the top of the sites page -they ar e really short -23 minutes each) for the Foundations of Classroom Management and Non Verbal Classroom Management modules by November 11th: Foundations of Classroom Management (Establishing Rules and Expectations, Communicating Respectfully and Empowering Students) Non Verbal Classroom Management (Written Posted Directions, Non Verbal Signals, Its Time to Raise Hands) 2. Answer the questions below by November 18th and post them as: Session 4 Management Are you currently using of the strategies/techn iques that were in the various clips? If so, what are they and how are they working for you and your students? How are you using nonverbal signals as a form of classroom management? Do you feel it/they is/are effective? Why or why not? How does Jessica Cu lter allow her students to be a part of the process and give them a voice in the Establishing Rules video clip? What made Rima Meechans teacher student conference so powerful in the Empowering Students video clip ? Was there an Aha Moment for you when you watched these clips? The Managing Conflict module has some good techniques that could be adapted for use at the elementary level. This module is optional. Session 4 Task 3: Strategy Experiment Pick one of the strategies that you viewed from the managem ent module video clips and implement it for 10 15 consecutive days, keeping a log on what you notice with the strategy.(These are just some starter ideas on what to think about/write about: Why did you choose this strategy over the others? How easy or ha rd was it to implement? What worked well? What didnt? How did you have to adapt the strategy to fit the needs of your classroom? How successful was it? What could you have done differently? Will you maintain it?, etc) Be sure to let us know the strategy or technique you are using. Post your thoughts by December 7th.
208 Session 5 December 3rd 31st New Year's Resolutions and Goals Now that the end of 2007 is upon us and 2008 is right around the corner, we wanted this session to be one of reflection. Many of us set New Years resolutions with the beginning of a new year. For this session, we want you to think back over the past several months as well as to the goals you set for yourselves in terms of planning, student learning, and engaging practice (look ba ck to the form Katie had you complete and submit in October). Are you where you want to be with things? If not, are you close to what you envisioned? What will it take to get you where you want to be? What has been the biggest obstacle to achieving your go als? Session 5 Task 1: Goals for the Spring This session involves setting personal and professional goals for the remainder of the school year. What are some of the things you would like to accomplish for yourself as an educator? What would you like to a ccomplish in terms of your students? Lastly, with so many demands on your time, what are some things that you would like to accomplish for yourself that arent related to teaching, students, or your school? List 3 goals and how you will accomplish them for each of the areas. See the template below this link. Post them by December 31st. Session 5 Task 1: Goals for the Spring Template Session 6 January 1st 30th Cr eating Fun and Effective Learning Centers Fun and Effective Centers Centers or learning stations can be an effective way to teach and reinforce skills for all subjects with a variety of instructional methods. This 6th session will hopefully add to your knowledge of centers so you can start creating and implementing your own successfully. Alternatively, if you are already utilizing centers, this session will help you build upon what you already have in place. Helpful Hints on Introducing Centers Introducing Centers Teaching children procedures and routines for using centers responsibly If you teach children younger than third grade, you will need to go slower with this process, and do tons of modeling to show what you expect. If you teach third grade or older, your students should be entering their fourth year of reading groups and should know the basic process they just need to learn YOUR routines:
209 Start with independent work. Give a 20 minute assignment the students can work on without assistance and explain that they cannot talk or ask for help because they are pra cticing for reading groups. Once they've got that down, work on partner reading (if your kids will be doing that during group rotations) and then centers. Explain where centers are kept, used, and clean up procedures. Be extremely detailed and assume they have no knowledge of centers. For example, if you have a sandwich bag with pieces in it for one of your centers, model putting the bag back and ask if you forgot anything. Someone will notice you did not shut the bag, and can explain to the class why it is so important to always close the bag. If you skip this step, you will pay for it later. I have taken the lazy way out before and been very upset when materials were not used properly, because I had no one to blame but myself I never took the time to teach the kids how to take care of it. Introduce each center individually. This takes forever but will save you from having to answer the same questions repeatedly. It will take several day s, and it will leave the kids dying to try them out! In HeadStart, we called this the Guided Discovery process. Think about it as guiding them through the proper way to discover and explore the materials, since you'll be teaching reading groups later and w on't be able to do this for each chi ld while they're at centers. When they have seen each center, tell them it is finally time to try them out with your monitoring. Explain that when they use centers, you will be teaching small groups, and you will not be able to help them. Tell them that because they are still learning, for the rest of the week (or so), you will be walking around to answer questions, but once small groups start, that's it. Allow the whole class to go to centers simultaneously so that you can give your full attention to monitoring. Look to see if the materials are being used correctly, and if the children are on task. Once they've demonstrated their abilities to use centers, discuss procedures for when they have questions at centers (and i ndependent work) but you are teaching small group. As a class, we decided that our rule would be to 1) re read the directions to yourself, 2) ask your partner or someone near you in a whisper voice, 3) if you still don't understand, just do the best you ca n. That was our center mantra. I repeatedly emphasized that it was okay if they were not using the center exactly as the directions said (our centers are very open ended) as long as they were working and practicing literacy skills, they were doing the rig ht thing. That's the truthif they are reading and writing, then they are making good use of their tim e, as far as I'm concerned. Next, have half the class practice centers and the other half practice independent work, with NO QUESTIONS or help from you. After 20 minutes, discuss how that worked and reinforce your rules. Have the class switch, again with no questions. Debrief again, and thank them for working so independently. Tell them you think they are ready for small groups and you believe you can tr ust them to stay on task, work quietly, and respect small
210 groups. You may want to do just one group a day at first so that you can monitor centers and independent work more closely. It's important for your students to understand how precious your reading group time is you absolutely cannot afford to discipline the class when you are teaching reading. You wouldn't tolerate it during whole class instruction, so don't allow it during small groups, either. My class knew that every time I had to interrupt my small group to speak to someone else, I noted it on my clipboard, and after 3 chances, that person could not go to centers for a week. If they could not stay on task during independent work, they would have to sit by themselves, by me, or lose privileges i n the classroom. This was seldom a problem, and when I was able to meet with 3 twentyminute small groups without having to discipline anyone, they would be thanked profusely for their maturity and I might even give them a token of appreciation, such as 5 extra minutes of recess, or partner reading outdoors. I think mutual respect is what sometimes inspires kids to basically stay on task. Really Good Sites on Centers For some basic information on the who/what/where/ and why of centers, these 2 sites are go od places to start: http://www.mspowell.com/centers.html http://www.teachingheart.net/LC.htm Some other good sites to visit tha t have free downloads that can easily be adapted for different grades and different subjects are: Teresa Wilsons Center Page Lots of different center ideas with ready to go directions and activities http://staffweb.peoriaud.k12.az.us/Teresa_Wilson/literacy_centers.htm Ms. Powells Math Tub Page http://mspowell.com/otherwebpages/centerpics6.htm Card Games for Math Centers http://www.brokenhilld.det.nsw.edu.au/card_games.htm Card Mats for Math Skills http://www.theschoolbell.com/Links/math/number_families/main/cards.html Number Family Tubs http://www.theschoolbell.com/Links/math/number_families/main/index.htm l Pictures of Centers http://mspowell.com/otherwebpages/centerpics.htm
211 Session 6 Task 1 Creating fun and effective learning centers The goal of this months session is to provide you with a n overview of how to create and implement centers within a classroom using a picture book as the foundation. View the video clip Story Based Centers to learn more. 1. To view the clip, go to the Video and Audio Library resource cluster found on the MOST site. Click on the Math link. Go to the Teaching Math K 4 Video Library section and click on the link at the end of the paragraph. Scroll down to #40 Story Based Centers from the library. 2. Watch the video clip StoryBased Centers and create a singl e posting by answering the questions below and post it as: Session 6Effective Centers by January 20th How did Ms. Bewley design her centers and t heir activities? (What was her thin king process in designing them? What do you notice about Ms. Bewleys comm unication style? How does this influence her students and their learning? What do you notice about her management/organization of the eight centers? How does this increase their effectiveness? How would her students' learning be affected if the activities she had were not openended? How does she integrate assessment into her centers? What is your biggest concern/struggle when planning for a center/s? Was there an Aha Moment for you when you watched this clip? 3. On or before January 28th, review eac h members posting and make a connection with at least one other member. Your connection should be based on what you learned by reading their posting. Session 6 Task 2 Select a picture book that that you could build several centers around that use math, r eading, listening, and writing skills. Create at least one center that you can bring and share with the group when we meet in January. It doesn't have to be perfect. Our face to face meeting will be a night of tweaking, learning, and sharing what we know a bout centers. (If you have time to create more, please bring those too.) Bring a tentative plan on how you will implement your picture book centers. For some help with this, see the 2 links below this one on the main page. Some things to include in your plan might be: What is the overarching goal that you want to accomplish with each center?
212 How many students will be at a center at one time? How will you manage your students? What will your roll be? (will you be a "station" or will you be roaming?) How wi ll you introduce your centers? What role will assessment play in your centers? Will there be a culminating activity? How much time will students have in the centers before rotating? How will you manage students that finish sooner than expected or students that don't finish the center's activity? etc... If you need some suggestions on book that are math related, email Lisa for titles. Session 7 February 1st 24th Technology in the Schools One of the most important things to know about your school is the p eople who are in charge of its resources and what exactly those resources are. Too often, you find out after the fact that a particular book or piece of technology that could have taken your good lesson to a higher level was right in your own backyard. Because technology plays such an important role in our lives and can make quite a difference in the learning experiences of your students (as well as being one of the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices), we wanted this session to be one centered aroun d the technology available to you in your particular school. This session you will need to play a little bit of a detective to find out what technological resources your school has for its teachers and students. Your keen detective abilities might even earn you a prize or two at our next monthly meeting! Many schools house their technological offerings in the media center so there is some system in place for checking equipment in and out. Others have a technology representative who is in charge of all te chnology and some schools use a combination of both. Find out what the situation is for your particular school and spend a bit of time with the person in charge of your school's technology to complete both tasks for this month. Post both by Sunday, Februar y 24th. Session 7 Task 1 Once you find out who is in charge of the technology at your school, take an informal inventory of what your school has in technology resources. You can use the attached technology inventory form or type up your discoveries and pos t them to the site by February 24th. Label this posting: Session 7 Task 1: Technologyyour schools name
213 Technology Inventory Session 7 Task 2 The goal of this second session is to find out more about the technology budget and procedures that are in place at your school. You may need to ask more than one person for the answers. Answer the questions below and post them to the site by February the 24th. Label this posting Session 7 Task 2. 1. Who is in charge of the technology at your school? 2. What is the policy for checking equipment out at your school? (How long are items allowed to be checked out?) 3. Who decides on what to purchase? Do you think this is a fair system? If not, how would you change the system? Are teachers requests given priority? 4. How much is the budget to purchase new technology? Where does the money to purchase technology mostly come from? How often are new items purchased? 5. What te chnology do you currently use? If you didnt have this technology available, how would it affect your teaching/or lesson? 6. If you could order one item to add to your schools collection, what would you purchase? Why would you want to buy it? 7. What is the most popular technology item used in your school? Why do you think it is so popular? 8. Did you discover an item that you would like to use now from this activity? 9. Was there any surprising you discovered from this activity? 10. What was the oldes t piece of technology that your school still has? 11. What was the strangest piece of technology that your school had? 12. On a scale of 1 10 with 10 being the highest, how would you rate what your school has as far as technology offerings for the students and teachers? Session 8 March 1st 30th Assessment and Accountability One can hardly pick up an educational magazine today or read an educational newsletter without coming across an article about high stakes testing or assessment. Since the inception of NCLB, assessment and testing have become controversial buzzwords in education and society.
214 As beginning teachers it is very easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of testing and preparation that todays schools are required to do. But is testing a "bad" thing? Can we use all of the preparation that goes into tests such as the FCAT in productive ways? If so, how can we? This session well be reading and discussing the role of assessment in your classrooms and our schools the good, the bad, and the s tuff in between. Session 8 Task 1 Perspectives on Assessment The goal of this task is to have you see one educators path in learning about assessment and its role in her classrooms over the years as well as the role formative assessment plays in our own classrooms. Well be discussing both articles more in depth when we meet in April. Go to the Article Resource Cluster located under MOST resources located at the top of the site. Click on the PDF files labeled Learning to Love Assessment by Tomlinson and The Best Value in Formative Assessment by Chappuis & Chappuis to download them both. After reading both articles, answer the A questions below for one and a 1 sentence reaction to the other and post your responses as: Session 8 Task 1Assessment Artic les.(Be sure to let us know which article you chose as your A article). Post by March 23rd. 4A Questions What Assumptions does/do the author/s hold about assessment? What do you Agree with in the text? What do you want to Argue with in the text? What parts of the text do you want to Aspire to? Reaction sentence to the 2nd article: Session 8 Task 2 The Role of Assessment and Accountability in Our Classrooms The goal of this task is to provide an overview of assessment, standards, and outcomes and how th ey can be used effectively with our students. View the video clip Assessment and Accountability to learn more. Some questions to keep in mind and guide you as you are watching: How do standards and benchmarks inform assessment? What role can students play in their assessment? How can teachers prepare for high stakes tests? How does assessment focus instruction?
215 a. To view the clip, go to the Video and Audio Library resource cluster found on the MOST site. b. Click on the Reading link. c. Go to the Teach ing Reading Grades 3 5 Workshop section and click on the link for Teaching Reading Grades 3 5 Workshop d. Scroll down to Workshop 8 and view: Assessment and Accountability from the library. e. Watch the video clip and create a single posting by answerin g the questions below and post it as: Session 8 Task 2Assessment Clip by March 23rd f. On or before March 30th review each members posting and make a connection with at least one other member. Consider what you have learned about assessment practices from Professor Au's comments, the classroom examples, and activities in this video session. Using what you have learned from the clip as well as your own experiences, answer the questions below and post them to the site by March 23rd and respond to another member's posting by March 30th What do you wish you had known more about in terms of assessment/testing when you first began the school year? What are the challenges you face in implementing effective classroom assessment? What has been your biggest sur prise in terms of testing and assessment this year? After watching the video clip, which classroom assessment practices most reflect what you do or would like to do? Is it possible to mesh testing preparation with the schools curriculum and your instruc tional goals? Why or why not? Was there an Aha or Whoa moment when viewing this clip? Current practices How do you currently provide feedback to your students on their reading and writing? What would you like to improve with this system? How do you de termine your students vocabulary strengths and weaknesses? Describe your classroom routines that you currently have in place to assure ongoing assessment of reading and writing(e.g., How do you decide which students to assess?). How have you documented your students' growth in reading and writing throughout the year? How do you use this information to guide the instruction for your students?
216 Session 8 Task 3 Create Your Own Rubric Rubrics can be great assessment tools to use with your students. The y not only help students to better understand your expectations of their work but how their work is graded since they clearly define the quality of work expected. Additionally, students can help you design the rubric to be used in scoring their work giving them a voice in the assessment process as well as making the process a bit more concrete for them. For this task, you get to create and use your own rubric using RubiStar -a free online tool that helps you to make quality rubrics. Access the site by go ing to the MOST site and looking under MOST Learning Community Resources 1. Click on the link: 4Teacherslinks to cool stuff like RubiStar 2. Click on the RubiStar link. Youll need to register in order to have access to the site. This will also allo w you to save your work. 3. Once on the site, click on Create Rubric tab located at the top (right hand side) 4. Scroll through the different topics and subjects and find one that fits your subject matter needs/assignment that you want to grade your s tudents on. If you dont like what you see, you can also build a rubric from scratchjust scroll down to the bottom of the page and follow those directions. 5. Follow the directions on the page. Be sure to submit your work in case you run over the 40 minutes. (If you have the technology, this would be a great project to do with your class using a projector). 6. Save a copy to your files so you can post it to the MOST site by March 30th as well as print out a hard copy for you to use with your students. Scroll down to the bottom of the page of your finished rubric for these options and directions. 7. Use the rubric for a class or individual student/s assignment. 8. Bring a copy of the scored rubric/s and assignment (if it is a hard copy assignment) to discuss at our April meeting. Well be sharing how effective it was in assessing your students and the assignment they had. Session 9 April 1st May 4th The Home Stretch One of the goals of the MOST online component was to expose you to a variety of teac hing strategies and techniques in a variety of subjects. Since we are winding things down with MOST (as well as running out of time!) this session you get to choose the subject you would like to learn more about in helping you to teach your students more e ffectively.
217 Well also be sending out a survey in the next week for you to complete. Once we have finalized the questions, well send directions and a link to you all. Session 9 Task 1 Your Choice 1. Using the MOST video library, choose a subject from the list below that you would like to learn more about. Writing Math Science Social Studies 2. Once you have picked a subject, click on the link depending on the area you have chosen: Writing and Reading-Inside Writing Communities, Grades 3 5 Math -Te aching Math K 4 Video Library Science --Tea ching Science K 8 Video Library Social Studies-Social Studies in Action: A Teaching Practices Library K 12 3. Watch the video clip of your choice and create a single posting with answering the questions below and post it as: Session 9the subject of the video you chose and its title In one or two sentences, explain what the video clip was about. What were three things you noticed in this clip that made his/her teaching effective? What did you notice about the t eachers classroom management? Was there anything you would change to improve the lesson? How did this teacher differentiate instruction for his/her students? How were the students assessed? Was there an Aha Moment/Whoa Moment for you when you w atched th is clip? How can you use what you viewed with your current teaching situation? 4. Post your response by April 27th 5. On or before May 4th, review each members posting and make a connection with at least one other member. Session 9 Task 2 Interviews and Surveys Be sure to let Lisa know several dates and times that she can interview you by phone during the dates of April 1st April 13th. The interviews will last between 45 minutes to an hour and can be conducted as late as 10 pm. We'll be completing the surveys during our April meeting in Jacksonville.
218 APPENDIX J ACTIVITY REPORTS
219 Activity Report: Total Views
220 Activity Report: Location Access
222 Activity Report: MOST Website U sage January 21May 26, 2008 Total views and posts
223 Activity Report: MOST Website U sage February 18July, 28, 2008 Total student views and posts
224 Activity Report: MOST Website U sage February 18July, 28, 2008 Total teacher views and posts
2 25 Activity Report: MOST Website U sage February 18July, 28, 2008 Total views and posts
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239 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Lisa K. Langley was born in Key West, Florida in 1966. A fourth generation conch, she grew up in Key West and graduated from Key West High School in 1984. Upon graduating from Appalachian State University in 1987 with a BSBA in Hospitability Management she worked in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Durham, NC as an executive floor manager. After receiving her Masters in Education from the University of Florida in 1992, Lisa returned to Key West to teach as a fourth/fifth grade reading teacher and media specialist at Gerald Adams Elementary until 2002. During this time, she was awarded th e Monroe County Sallie Mae Beginning Teacher of the Y ear Award Gerald Adams Teacher of the Year Award, as well as numerous grants for school projects and initiatives A recipient of a Florida Leadership in Inquiry and Teacher Education (FLITE) Fellowship she returned to the University of Florida in 2002 to pursue her Doctorate in Education. During her doctoral program, she was a research assistant for the Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education (COPSSE) and the National Center to Inform Policy and Practice in Special Education (NCIPP) Lisa is currently the project specialist for th e Lastinger Center for Learning. Her rese arch interests include teacher professional development, alternatively certified teachers, ementoring, mentoring, and beginni ng teacher induction. Lisa is married to Marty Goodkind. T hey have a three year old son, Jacob and reside in Gainesville, Florida.