Date of Award

2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Higher Education Administration EdD

First Advisor

James R. Jeffery

Second Advisor

Larry D. Burton

Third Advisor

Sheryl Gregory

Abstract

Problem. The purpose of this study was to discover first-year teacher perceptions of their experiences with classroom teaching and teacher induction in a midwestern school district.

Method. This qualitative study sought to discover how new teachers build knowledge of the context and culture of teaching. Purposeful sampling techniques were used. Participants were delimited to practicing K-6 educators in an Indiana urban school district, completing their first year of experience as classroom teachers. Data collection occurred through semi-structured interviews. The questions focused upon the development process of beginning teachers, and how an induction program contributed to their development. The interview tapes were transcribed verbatim, and coded using the constant comparative method. Results were verified through review by the participants and by professional educators.

Results. These first-year teachers believed they entered the teaching profession with an adequate knowledge base, yet lacked preparation in classroom management, student discipline, knowledge of children's social issues, and interpersonal skills. A supportive building principal, supportive colleagues, and a positive school culture played an important role in assisting first-year teachers, according to the participants. These first-year teachers believed that human assistance proved more helpful to them than attending meetings or listening to speakers. Human aspects of teaching, such as assisting new teachers to manage time and stress, must be addressed, besides the logistical aspects of planning lessons and obtaining resources. First-year teachers desired to network with other teachers with whom they could share their problems and discuss possible solutions.

Conclusions. Induction programs that successfully assist new teachers to weather their first year in the classroom need to be well organized and planned, with a study of new teacher needs and adult learner characteristics underlying the program. Induction programs should include orientation, mentoring, and on-going staff development; should extend beyond the first year of teaching; and should emphasize improving instruction, leading to improved student achievement. Induction programs promote new teacher success and improvement only if the participants view the programs as useful and relevant.

Subject Area

First year teachers--Indiana, Teachers--Training of--Indiana, Mentoring in education--Indiana

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