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Volume 29, Number 5
September/October 2013

Getting Serious about Induction

New programs aim to speed up learning curve for new teachers


Thousands of new teachers started this school year by participating in teacher induction programs, now required in 27 states. And as they grow in number, induction programs are changing. No longer simple orientation sessions to help teachers feel a part of a new school, they are evolving into comprehensive, formal programs to team up new teachers with savvy mentors, sometimes for multiple years.

“There is growing recognition that general mentoring—the old approach of having a ‘buddy down the hall’—isn’t actually that effective,” explains Charles Coble, an expert on teacher education and development who oversaw teacher preparation programs across the University of North Carolina system.

The ultimate goal is to make new teachers more effective with students more quickly. And that goal, say experts, requires an approach that is more targeted to instruction than past efforts, using rigorously selected, trained mentors who observe new teachers in their classrooms, provide instructional guidance, and model effective practice. According to Coble, “These components have been in place in some isolated districts for up to 10 years, but now we’re seeing them become more expansive.”

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


For Further Information

For Further Information

E. Britton, S. Raizen, L. Paine, and M. A. Huntley. “More Swimming, Less Sinking: Perspectives on Teacher Induction in the U.S. and Abroad.” Paper presented at the National Commission on Teaching Mathematics and Science in the 21st Century, March 6–7, 2000, Washington, DC.

R. M. Ingersoll and M. Strong. “The Impact of Induction and Mentoring Programs for Beginning Teachers: A Critical Review of the Research.” Review of Educational Research 81, no. 2 (2011): 201–233.

G. Marietta. Multiple Measures of Teacher Effectiveness in Hillsborough County Public Schools: The Role of Principals. Tampa, FL: Hillsborough County Public Schools.

M. Strong and A. Villar. The Costs and Benefits of a Comprehensive Induction Program. Santa Cruz, CA: New Teacher Center, 2007.