Teacher Academy Induction Learning Community: Guiding Teachers Through Their Zone of Proximal Development

Aug. 01, 2011

Source: Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, Vol. 19, No. 3, August 2011, 365–389.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article aims to examine the effectiveness of the induction support provided to teacher candidates/interns as they transition into the teaching profession.

Research Methodology
This case study is an analysis of the Academy for Teacher Excellence’s (ATE) support provided by the Teacher Academy Induction Learning Community (TAILC).

The Academy for Teacher Excellence (ATE) was established with the overarching goal of increasing the number of Latino and other minority teachers in the critical teaching shortage areas.
An additional goal was to prepare all teachers to become culturally efficacious – teachers who are culturally competent, possess strong teaching efficacy, and demonstrate sociocultural consciousness (Flores, Clark, Claeys, & Villarreal, 2007).

The following research questions guided this study:
1. How is ATE’s induction support effective in assisting teacher candidates/interns’ transition from their teacher preparation program into the teaching profession as novice teachers?
2. What dilemmas do teacher candidates/interns/novices face during periods of transition, for example, from teacher candidate to novice teacher?
3. What is the role of the induction mentors within a community of practice?

This study included 69 teacher candidates/interns, who participated in the TAILC support services.
The teacher candidates are undergraduates pursuing their degree and certification.
Teacher interns are graduate students who are pursuing certification and are hired as teachers of record while completing certification course work.

The six induction mentors, working with the 69 novices, average 20 years of teaching and are considered master teachers.
Two specialists, who are doctoral candidates, work with the bilingual and special education novices.


To assess the effectiveness of the TAILC model, it is important to understand the complex dilemmas faced by candidates/interns during their initial apprenticeship period and to examine the role of the induction mentor.

The authors identified two meta-themes:
(a) Initial apprenticeship period prior to employment
The authors argue that these apprenticeships have often only afforded teacher candidates a peripheral membership into the profession and a panoramic view of school.

Therefore, novices often find themselves isolated without a support system.
Through a comprehensive community of practice, novices’ zone of development was supported to assure their success and retention.

Developing strong efficacy beliefs in novices is crucial to their career development and satisfaction as well as to their students.
Isolated teachers have limited opportunities for receiving assistance through modeling and feedback and lack assistance crucial to acquisition of complex social repertoires.
The authors contend that engaging candidates/interns and novice teachers through their zones of development within a learning community in which expert teachers scaffold learning may be the bridge between theory and practice.

(b) Proactive induction and mentoring components during apprenticeship as a novice teacher
While other induction programs have similar components, unique to TAILC is the personal development that assisted participants in acquiring strengths-based problem-solving skills that will serve them in different situated contexts.
TAILC supported teacher candidates/interns commencing in the teacher preparation program and through the first three years of teaching.

Recognizing that novices may need support beyond the regular day and that additional demands consume time, the authors have established an eCommunity of practice in which novices can engage in dialogues about concerns.


The authors contend that the induction program presented can serve not only to support the retention of Latino teacher candidates, but can be used as a model to support other candidates working with diverse populations.
Hence, the induction program must continue to support novices as they acquire independence across a variety of demands.

The authors conclude that effective teacher induction support assists novice teachers through their zone of proximal development in becoming members of a community of practice.

Updated: Sep. 15, 2013