Calls for Induction Program
Thats the premise of the white paper prepared by the Ontario College of Teachers that was issued in April. New Teacher Induction: Growing into the Profession calls on the provincial government to provide $40 million annually to school boards for the support and mentoring of new teachers.
Tens of thousands of new teachers will be hired to replace those who are retiring this decade. It is critical that schools capitalize on the wisdom and knowledge of experienced teachers by creating the means of passing on that experience to those newest to the profession.
"New teachers are crying out for support and research confirms that its the right thing to do," says College Registrar Doug Wilson. "We have an historic opportunity to influence teaching practice and student success in the next 30 years by acting now. We cannot, must not wait."
The College developed Growing Into the Profession from data gathered during the first two years of a five-year Transition to Teaching study, after examining educational research from around the world.
"Far too many new teachers say the support in their first two years is inadequate," says Wilson. "Boards and schools dont have the resources to provide adequate induction programs, even though they know it helps.We simply cannot leave teacher success and ultimately the success of their students to chance."
Fewer than half of the 550 first-year teachers who responded to the Colleges survey in the spring of 2002 said their classroom resources and in-service professional learning were satisfactory. Fewer than 25 per cent of these new teachers said they had mentors. However, when asked what they thought would advance their confidence, competence and professionalism, new teachers gave top priority to mentoring. They also wanted constructive feedback and support from administrators and the chance to network with other new teachers.
Growing Into the Profession proposes that to be successful an induction program must have goals, clear links to professional standards, orientation, support, mentoring, professional learning, recognition, release time and evaluation. Examples of induction programs drawn from Ontario school districts, New Brunswick and California are highlighted in a background paper.
Among its key points and recommendations:
A two-year program involving 10,000 new teachers and 10,000 mentors in 72 school boards would cost approximately $40 million, or $4,000 a teacher, while it costs $4,400 to recruit a new teacher. The College proposes that the school funding formula be amended to provide targeted funding for the programs and that school boards be required to report annually on program implementation.
"We see this as a necessary, logical extension to pre-service teacher education," says Wilson. "Its important that it be mandatory and that it be tied directly to the standards for the profession."
As the self-governing body of the teaching profession, operating in the public interest, the College of Teachers is responsible for ensuring the initial and ongoing professional education of its members.
"We view the early yearsparticularly the first twoof our members teaching careers as a continuation of the learning process that begins in faculty of education classrooms, continues with practice teaching and intensifies as new teachers learn on the job," Wilson says.
A province-wide effort to consult on the proposal is now underway. Data collected will be reflected in the final version of the paper, to presented to the College Council this fall.
To read New Teacher Induction: Growing Into the Profession, and have your say, visit the College web site at http://www.oct.ca/publications/news-archive/20030411.asp.
BAND AID Strikes Sweet Note for Two Ontario Schools
Ashton Meadows Public School in Markham and Rideau High School in Ottawa can strike up the band literally with $10,000 BAND AID grants to purchase musical instruments.
BAND AID, a project of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and the Coalition for Music Education in Canada, has provided $370,000 in grants to 37 Canadian schools since 1997 to help address the erosion of music programs. Major Canadian music companies BMG, EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner fund the program, which provides money to schools where music programs show potential but lack the resources to succeed. The two Ontario schools were among seven 2003 BAND AID grant recipients across Canada this year.
Singer Alanis Morissette presented trumpets, clarinets, flutes, saxophones, drums and a digital piano to Rideau students during a ceremony in early April. Rideau is an inner city school with 600 students, a third of whom are in ESL programs.
"The ongoing support from the Canadian music industry is vital to the success of BAND AID," says CARAS Chair Ross Reynolds. "We realize the importance of this program because music education not only fosters creativity, but also enriches the mind as a whole. The studies have been done, the results are in, making music makes you smarter."
Officer Cathy Lofgreen answers questions from foreign-trained teachers
at the Mississauga Newcomers Association in Brampton on March 18th.
College Queries Expert Instructors
The Ontario College of Teachers acted quickly to respond to a suggestion in the governments April 30th Throne Speech that it "will allow athletes, musicians, artists and tradespeople to act as expert instructors or volunteers" in Ontario schools.
The College requested clarification of the governments intentions in a letter forwarded to the Minister of Education the following day.
"As the regulatory body for teaching in the province, the College wants to know how the expertise of such instructors will be ascertained and whether the government intends that persons not certified by the College would be permitted to supervise students," Registrar Doug Wilson said.
He noted that since there is currently no regulatory impediment preventing certified teachers from inviting an athlete, musician, artist or tradesperson to join them in the classroom, the College is concerned that the government envisions a change.
"If such a change would allow uncertified people in a classroom alone with Ontario students, the College has a responsibility to comment on whether the change would serve and protect the public interest."
The governments suggestion echoes an earlier proposed legislative changes in 1997 when Bill 160, the Education Quality Improvement Act was considered by the Legislature. At that time, the College presented a brief to the Standing Committee on the Administration of Justice, arguing that it would not serve the public interest for students to be supervised by persons uncertified by the College. The government agreed and amended the bill accordingly.
The College fears that if so-called expert instructors are not certified, they will not be bound by the standards of practice or ethical standards of the teaching profession. They may not have been trained in an accredited Ontario faculty of education or equivalent institution, would not be obliged to take part in ongoing professional learning and would not be subject to the public complaints, investigation and disciplinary process of the College.
Wilson also noted in his letter that since such instructors would not appear on the Colleges public register of certified and qualified teachers, the public can not be assured that such individuals are qualified and competent to be entrusted with our children. Nor can the public have confidence that such persons will be held to account for their conduct in the same way that members of the teaching profession are.
Terry McCarthy (right), Director of International Office at University
of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, visited the College on March 28th, meeting with
(counterclockwise from right):
Support for Teachers Professional Development
The party programtitled Quality Teaching: Labors Plan for Professional Support for Teachers was announced during the 2003 election. It promised $34.5 million (Cdn) in new funding and redirection of $88 million in existing funding to schools to improve grass-roots support for teachers and to give them a greater say in their professional development.
"Currently a large amount of the funding for professional development is controlled by state and district offices and teachers have limited say in their own professional needs," the program states. "This redirection of funds will mean that schools are better able to meet the needs of their teachers, students and communities."
The measures will increase government spending on professional development to about $615 CDN per teacher per year.
The program follows on an initiative to set up an Institute for Teachers that will establish professional standards for teachers and school officials. The Institute is to be funded over the next four years by government as part of their commitment to ensuring an adequate supply of quality teachers for New South Wales schools.
All teacher professional development and a new teacher performance assessment system will be linked to the professional standards, the program promises. Staff development committees in schools will be established to help determine local priorities.
The government also promises to work with the profession to improve opportunities for teachers to pursue professional learning outside of school hours to "cause less disruption to students and schools."
For a copy of Quality Teaching: Labor's Plan for Professional Support for Teachers, visit http://nswalp.com/alpweb/2003electionpolicies/qualityteaching.pdf.
Pictured here are
four of the six-member Accreditation panel that met from March 31st
Left to right: Roger Wilson, assistant professor of Educational Foundations, School of Education at Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan; Gar White, senior researcher for the Centre on Governance, University of Ottawa; Clint Lovell, teacher at Eastview Secondary School, Barrie; and Iain Munro, elected member of Council of the College.
Initial accreditation was granted to UOIT (Oshawa) as well as to Laurentian and Trent Universities (Sudbury and Peterborough) on April 24th.
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