The Ontario College
of Teachers released its policy paper New Teacher Induction: Growing
Into the Profession today in hopes that immediate action will
help teachers and improve student learning in Ontario over the next
unanimously endorsed the innovative framework for Ontario's newly
certified teachers in September, following months of research and
province-wide consultation with teachers, school and system administrators
and parents. Growing Into the Profession calls for a mandatory
two-year, fully funded induction program to assist those new to teaching.
a significant policy direction recommended by the teaching profession
itself and exactly the kind of work the College needs to be doing,"
says College Chair Marilyn Laframboise. "It supports teachers,
promotes the growth of the profession and could change education for
the better for decades to come."
the Profession recommends pairing new teachers with experienced
teacher/mentors to provide support, advice, coaching, feedback and
assessment related to teaching practice. The estimated cost of $40
million is based on summer sessions, mentoring activities, professional
development, program administration and release time for 10,000 novice
teachers and 10,000 mentors in 72 Ontario school boards.
In the spring
of 2002, the College surveyed new teachers. One in four said that
mentoring - including collaboration, feedback, observation and sharing
with other teachers - would do most to advance their confidence, competence
of a mentor is the most powerful and cost-effective intervention in
an induction program. Mentoring involves a unique skill set that can
be acquired through professional learning.
The role of a
mentor ranges from an informal "buddy" who offers moral
and emotional support to that of a trained advisor who provides skillful
coaching, feedback and assessment related to teaching practice. Mentors
broker information. They act as role models. Often they become confidantes
new teachers feel welcomed, cared for and connected. With the success
it breeds, it may also make them want to stay in teaching longer.
While there was
overwhelming support for the idea across the province, it came with
two cautions: One, it had to have full, sustained and protected government
funding, and, two, it had to remain flexible to meet the varying needs
of local school boards. The College policy paper remains true to that
have asked for this," says College Registrar Doug Wilson. "School
board administrators support the idea - provided the funding is in
place - and students will reap the benefits. The time to act is now."