Source: Action in Teacher Education, 33(4):329-342,(Winter, 2011).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This paper describes the efforts to improve beginning teachers' induction experiences across the state of Illinois.
The article is based on Wilkins and Clift's (2007) description of the initial formation of the Illinois New Teacher Collaborative (INTC). They also outlines the organization's efforts to address induction needs in the state of Illinois through professional development opportunities and web-based resources and discussion forums.
This article describes the challenges faced by Illinois state-funded induction programs and INTC's responses.
The article outlines five challenges.
The authors first describe the challenge of selecting the initial 10 grant-funded induction programs and the expansion to 66 programs over the succeeding 3 years.
Second, the authors discuss the diversity of funded programs and describe the efforts of INTC and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to support the programs and respond to their individual needs.
Third, the authors describe efforts to learn more about the programs to better support them as well as to inform statewide induction policy.
Fourth, the authors detail how INTC uses the Internet to support programs and disseminate information and how we have met the technological challenges.
Finally, the authors describe various challenges faced by specific programs and how they are individually and collectively working to meet the needs of beginning teachers.
The authors claim that this unique collaboration of organizations with broadly different interests continues to work together in the name of beginning teacher induction.
However, the Illinois context today contains many unresolved and ongoing challenges.
Its largest challenge is the state funding cuts to the induction programs.
These cuts directly affect the services they are able to offer new teachers and the quality of the program organization.
Technology also remains an ongoing challenge.
The INTC Website still does not have much traffic, online conversations remain mostly dormant.
Another challenge is getting new teachers, mentors, program leaders, and other stakeholders and service providers to use the website.
Furthermore, not all new teachers across Illinois receive induction and mentoring in their home districts—and even those who do could potentially benefit from networking with other new teachers from across the state.
The authors conclude that standards-based induction programs that focus on student instruction can help ensure teacher quality.
These programs ease new teachers' transitions into the profession, assist in their professional development, and help retain these teachers in the classroom.
Furthermore, the authors argue that the INTC is a unique organization.Its collaborative nature, structure, and functions create ongoing opportunities for educational stakeholders in Illinois to work together to further the quality and scope of induction in Illinois.
The authors recommend that as other states consider strategies to affect teacher quality through beginning teacher induction, Illinois should take a strong leadership role.
Wilkins, E. A., & Clift, R. (2007). Building a network of support for new teachers. Action in Teacher Education, 28(4), 25-35.