Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 109
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The present study examined teacher induction practices in relation to teacher outcomes.
In particular, the authors conducted an associational study seeking to identify which forms of induction relate to teacher practices, self-efficacy, and job satisfaction, net of relevant covariates.
Their analysis relies on nationally-representative data collected in the U.S. during the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) 2018 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS).
The present study aims to replicate and extend prior research on how specific teacher induction practices relate to three teacher-level outcomes (teacher practices, teacher self-efficacy, and teacher job satisfaction). Extant research does provide some evidence of linkages between teacher induction and these outcomes.
This study examines how a large set of specific induction mechanisms (e.g., workload reduction, mentoring/coaching, etc.) relate to three important teacher professional outcomes: teacher practices, teacher self-efficacy, and teacher job satisfaction.
The authors follow the approach taken in several prior studies to examine how sets of specific induction activities relate to key outcomes (Helms-Lorenz et al., 2016; Kang & Berliner, 2012; Kelly et al., 2019), though they consider an expanded set of both induction activities and outcome variables simultaneously.
As such, their study provides a nuanced look at these relationships in such a way that they can compare the relative influence of different teacher induction practices, and also examine patterns by outcome variable.
This associational study secondarily analyzed data from the OECD's TALIS 2018, a large-scale international comparative study that collected data concerning lower-secondary teachers' sociodemographic and professional characteristics, professional roles and responsibilities, and professional practices in 48 countries (OECD, 2019a; 2019b).
TALIS also provides a rich set of information about education processes, including whether the teachers have participated in a formal or informal induction program; and for those who have, the specific forms of induction activities in which they participated.
The final analytic sample included 736 U.S. lower-secondary (i.e., grades seven, eight, and nine) teachers from 158 schools.
The cluster sizes ranged from one to 11 teachers per school.
The sampling weights were normalized after the application of the filters to ensure that they summed to the sample size of the final analytic dataset.
Variables and measures
The authors’ analysis relied on data collected via the TALIS 2018 Teacher Questionnaire, which was self-administered by Northern Hemisphere participants between March and May 2018.
Their study relied on a mix of individual survey item responses, scales constructed by TALIS 2018, and scales constructed by their team from individual survey item responses.
Dependent variables - There were three dependent variables: teacher practices (T3TPRA), teacher self-efficacy (T3SELF), and teacher job satisfaction (T3JOBSA).
Independent variables - The authors’ primary independent variables represented teacher participation in various forms of teacher induction.
The authors chose to model such processes at the teacher-level to ensure that the indicators reflect an individual teacher's actual, exacted experiences rather than what is intended to occur, or generally occurs, for teachers in a given school.
They also included as independent variables a variety of teacher-level covariates.
Teacher induction practices - The primary independent variables were a set of 10 indicator variables pertaining to teachers’ induction activities (TT3G20A-J).
For each of 10 activities [e.g., courses/seminars attended in person, online courses/seminars, online activities (e.g., virtual communities), planned meetings with principal and/or experienced teachers], participants were asked “When you began work at this school, were the following provisions part of your induction?”
Control variables - Teacher-level control variables included gender (TT3G01), age (TCHAGEGR), teaching experience (TT3G11B), employment status (TT3G09), and highest level of education (TT3G03).
The analysis also included a composite measure of one's perceived level of preparedness for teaching after participation in a formal, initial teacher education program.
This control variable was intended to capture pre-existing teacher characteristics that may affect both the form of induction a teacher receives and the outcome variables (it is a potential extraneous variable).
Results and discussion
With the aim of addressing extant problems of practice related to the initial stage of teaching, this study examined which teacher induction practices are most associated with teacher practices, teacher self-efficacy, and teacher job satisfaction.
Five induction practices were statistically related to one or more outcomes in this study.
Online induction activities (e.g., virtual communities) were associated with more favorable teacher practices and job satisfaction.
Construction of portfolios, diaries, or journals during induction was associated with more positive teacher practices and self-efficacy.
Additionally, team teaching with experienced teachers was associated with more favorable teaching practices; and online courses or seminars and reduced teaching load were associated with higher teacher self-efficacy.
Participation in these induction activities was associated with about a 0.25 SD to 0.5 SD increase in the corresponding dependent measure, with the largest differences associated with team teaching with experienced teachers and reduced teaching load.
Most of these teacher induction practices were observed to be among the least common.
That online courses, seminars, and activities were associated with some of the outcomes considered here might affirm the continued use of technology in teacher learning and development.
Indeed, research noted earlier on induction has shown potential benefits of online induction programs (Ellis et al., 2017).
There is also extant research that shows that online professional development programming for teachers can be effective in teacher development (e.g., Dash et al., 2012), and that it is no less effective than face-to-face training (e.g., Fishman et al., 2013).
The findings about portfolios, diaries, or journals may be interpreted in light of theory and prior research on teacher reflection.
All of these activities would involve reflection on practice.
What is less clear from these data is whether these processes reflect more formative or summative (e.g., used for licensure or personnel processes) reflective practices, but are consistent with the longstanding emphasis on reflection in many pre-service teacher education programs (Hatton & Smith, 1995).
Additionally, the findings showed that reflection and team teaching in induction programs may benefit teaching practices, which is consistent with research that found that both individual and collaborative reflection can promote professional teaching practices (Baird et al., 1991).
Participation in team teaching during induction was shown to associate with teacher practices.
In terms of reduced teaching load, the authors’ finding is consistent with other work showing the potential value of such workload reductions (Helms-Lorenz et al., 2016; Kelly et al., 2019).
In addition to the statistically-significant findings discussed above, they also found that a variety of other specific teacher induction practices - both formal and informal - were empirically unrelated to the three considered outcome variables.
Specifically, they found no evidence for courses/seminars attended in person, planned meetings with the principal and/or experienced teachers, networking/collaboration with other new teachers, or a general/ administrative introduction.
A major strength of this study is its reliance on a large, nationally-representative data source.
While this may bolster external validity, the findings should also be interpreted in light of this study's most pertinent methodological limitations.
Chief among them is that the observational design of the study precludes causal inferences, despite the inclusion of an array of individual level covariates.
The self-reported nature of the teaching practice measure may also be less preferred to other forms of measurement, such as performance-based measures of teaching.
Despite its limitations, this study offers important insights related to induction practices for researchers, administrators, and policymakers.
Induction practices vary in objective and form, but the authors’ findings may be useful for advancing their quality in desired ways.
In this study, they identified particular induction supports associated with more effective teaching practices, higher self efficacy for teaching, and/or better job satisfaction.
Education decision-makers’ understanding of which kinds of induction activities are associated with different outcomes potentially inform the planning and design of induction programs to meet the aims and needs in particular contexts.
At the very least, the findings offer testable hypotheses for future efficacy studies on potentially promising induction practices; and potential targets for qualitative theory-building studies about how and why particular induction practices might operate to improve teacher outcomes.
Baird, J. R., Fensham, P. J., Gunstone, R. F., & White, R. T. (1991). The importance of reflection in improving science teaching and learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28(2), 163-182.
Dash, S., Magidin de Kramer, R., O'Dwyer, L. M., Masters, J., & Russell, M. (2012). Impact of online professional development or teacher quality and student achievement in fifth grade mathematics. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 45(1), 1-26.
Ellis, J., Polizzi, S. J., Roehrig, G., & Rushton, G. (2017). Teachers as leaders: The impact of teacher leadership supports for beginning teachers in an online induction program. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 25(3), 245-272.
Fishman, B., Konstantopoulos, S., Kubitskey, B. W., Vath, R., Park, G., Johnson, H., & Edelson, D. C. (2013). Comparing the impact of online and face-to-face professional development in the context of curriculum implementation. Journal of Teacher Education, 64(5), 426-438.
Hatton, N., & Smith, D. (1995). Reflection in teacher education: Towards definition and implementation. Teaching and Teacher Education, 11(1), 33-49.
Helms-Lorenz, M., van de Grift, W., & Maulana, R. (2016). Longitudinal effects of induction on teaching skills and attrition rates of beginning teachers. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 27(2), 178-204.
Kang, S., & Berliner, D. C. (2012). Characteristics of teacher induction programs and turnover rates of beginning teachers. The Teacher Educator, 47(4)
Kelly, N., Cespedes, M., Clara, M., & Danaher, P. A. (2019). Early career teachers' intentions to leave the profession: The complex relationships among preservice education, early career support, and job satisfaction. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 44(3-Article 6)
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2018). Teaching and learning international survey (TALIS) 2018 teacher questionnaire.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2019a). TALIS 2018 and TALIS starting Strong 2018 user guide.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2019b). TALIS 2018 technical report. https://www.oecd.org/education/talis/TALIS_2018_Technical_Report.pdf