Teacher induction and mentorship policies: the pan‐Canadian overview

Benjamin Kutsyuruba (Faculty of Education, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada)

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education

ISSN: 2046-6854

Publication date: 8 June 2012

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this exploratory article is to address the questions of teacher attrition and retention by examining the policies supporting beginning teachers in different jurisdictions (provinces and territories) in Canada through teacher induction and mentorship programs.

Design/methodology/approach

This research study relied on the collection of documents as the primary method of data collection. Both policy documents as means of external communication and the informal responses to formal policies by various stakeholders were analyzed in a complementary fashion in this study. The study examined numerous government documents, websites, program/policy memoranda, newsletters, as well as academic reviews pertaining to beginning teacher induction programs across Canada.

Findings

Data analysis revealed significant policy variability across the provinces and localities, with comprehensive induction programs instituted only by the educational authorities in New Brunswick, Ontario, and Northwest Territories. A fundamental building‐block of the induction programs was the creation of a formal mentoring program that matched experienced teachers with teachers who were new to the profession and/or to the province/territory.

Research limitations/implications

Policy makers should consider the implementation of structured induction programs that successfully inculcate new teachers into school cultures and result in decreased teacher attrition and increased retention of beginning teachers. Mentoring is at the core of successful induction programs. Evident in all policy‐mandated induction programs under study was the importance of the school principal's role in effective functioning of mentoring programs. This aspect of the principal's role should be further examined and researched to understand the administrator role in the implementation and functioning of effective induction and mentoring programs for beginning teachers not only in Canada but worldwide.

Practical implications

In considering implementation of teacher induction programs, policymakers need to be aware that comprehensive, intensive support programs for new educators are both an effective and an efficient public investment. If mandated by policies at the macro levels as part of formal induction programs, mentoring programs have the potential to transform schools into collaborative places by establishing a culture of mentoring in schools.

Originality/value

Despite the perceived and actual benefits, government‐instituted induction programs for new teachers are not very common in Canada. While the discussions of such programs are certainly present in the educational literature, this exploratory pan‐Canadian review of induction and mentoring policies has the ability to inform provincial and territorial policymakers about the variability in institutionalizing those programs.

Keywords

Citation

Benjamin Kutsyuruba (2012) "Teacher induction and mentorship policies: the pan‐Canadian overview", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 1 No. 3, pp. 235-256

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DOI

: https://doi.org/10.1108/20466851211279484

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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