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Issue 11

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In this Issue:

  • College urges provincial government to support newly certified teachers

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 30 years.

College Council 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.

"This is 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."

Growing Into 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 and professionalism.

The involvement 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 and friends.

Mentoring makes 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 advice.

"New teachers 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."

101 Bloor Street West, Toronto ON, M5S 0A1, P: 416-961-8800 / Toll Free (Ontario Only): 1-888-534-2222 / F: 416-961-8822 / info@oct.ca

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