Blended Mentoring
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Document for Regents Working Group
RWG Doc

Who: Pre-service teachers transitioning to full teaching positions
What: Support networks composed of university faculty, accomplished educators as mentors, and other district teachers
When: First introduced during pre-service preparation program, reinforced at district level once teaching
Where: Online -see for example http://tappedin.org

Why:

  1. to maintain the link between new teachers and teacher education faculty
  2. to build partnerships between universities and school districts
  3. to provide "just in time" support when crisis hits
  4. to facilitate dialogue among teachers in a district for idea and resource-sharing
  5. to supplement the face-to-face one-to-one mentor support
  6. to connect teachers to high quality online instructional & curricular resources
  7. to model strategies for teaching with technology
  8. to foster an atmosphere of collaborative inquiry and continual growth
  9. and to get ideas and guidance from same-grade same-subject same-district teachers

Purpose:

  1. to reduce attrition rates among Gen Y teachers
  2. to boost new teachers' pedagogical efficacy through blended induction
  3. to promote technological proficiency among teachers and students
  4. to leverage the network against inexperience
  5. and ultimately to enhance student learning outcomes

Essential Characteristics:

  • conceptualized as part of an ongoing process (renewal not reform)
  • begins during teacher preparation period at the university
  • not a replacement for traditional face-to-face one-to-one mentoring
  • platform lends itself to social networking; connective practices
  • equal partnership between university and district

Policy Rationale
Higher Ed Act provision for Technology & Teacher Education authorizes a program of support to help prepare teachers of digital age learners using technology-rich teaching & learning environments. The document stipulates that grants will be awarded in the areas of pre-service teacher education including clinical experience. Graduating candidates should be prepared to incorporate various technologies into their instruction with the goal of helping students gain the proficiencies necessary for success in higher education and the workplace. The provision appropriates $100 million to this agenda for 2009.

Enhancing Education Through Technology, also known as EETT, Ed Tech, and Ed Tech State Program, provides grants to State Educational Agencies (SEAs) for programs that improve student achievement in elementary and secondary schools by developing scalable models for the incorporation of technology in teacher training and curriculum development. EETT is consistently underfunded - appropriations dropped from $750,000,000 in 2002 to $267,493,792 in 2008 - although the recovery package stipulates that appropriations will be back at $650 million in 2010.

ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) helps set the agenda for how educators use technology to improve teaching and learning with the publication of the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) & Performance Indicators for Teachers.

CARET, the Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, has found that when teacher education faculty incorporate technology into pre-service teachers' curriculum, new teachers graduate better prepared to use technology in their own teaching practice. If this model is to be implemented widely in universities it will be necessary to offer incentives to faculty members - perhaps a reduced teaching load. For maximum effect, CARET recommends that faculty modeling of technological best practices be supplemented with field assignments in which pre-service teachers shadow practicing teachers who are successfully teaching with technology.

According to Smith & Ingersoll (2004) , the most successful induction programs feature:
* close mentoring within same subject area
* collaborating or networking supports (such as seminars or common planning time)
* lighter work load (fewer preps or fewer teaching periods)

According to Wong (2004), Induction is a process of professional development for beginning teachers that may include mentors assigned to provide guidance and support.

Smith and Ingersoll (2004) found evidence to indicate that beginning teachers who participated in induction and mentoring activities in their first year of teaching were less likely to leave the profession.

NCTAF T-LINC Demonstration Project
T-LINC Tapped In

Smith, T.M. & Ingersoll, R.M. (2004). What are the effects of induction and mentoring on beginning teacher turnover? American Educational Research Journal, 41 (3), 681-714.

Wong, H.K. (2004). Induction programs that keep new teachers teaching and improving. NASSP Bulletin, 87(638), 5-27.

Induction Links


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