Teacher Induction in Schools as Learning Communities: Successful Pathways to Teachers’ Professional Development in a Diverse School Serving Students Living in Poverty
Schools as “learning communities” agree on a common vision, basic values and objectives of school development. It increases the commitment of pupils, teachers, parents and other stakeholders and supports school quality and development. “Learning communities” inspire both teachers and pupils to seek improvement and take ownership of their learning processes. It creates favourable conditions also for reducing school drop-out and for helping pupils at risk of dropping out.
- What are the mechanisms that favor teacher induction in Schools as Learning Communities?
- To what extent does teacher induction in Schools as Learning Communities encourage new teachers to embrace the school’s project?
2. Theoretical Framework
2.1. The Induction of New Teachers
2.2. Teachers’ Coping Strategies and Resilience
2.3. Adaptation to New Teaching Appointments in Challenging Contexts
3. Context of the Study
Transformation of the School into a Learning Community
4.1. Research Design and Procedure
4.2. Data Analysis
5.1. Features of the School as Learning Communities Project that Facilitate Teacher Induction
5.1.1. Dialogic Approach to Teacher Education and Professional Development
We understand that we are in continuous training, we must have many meetings and many dialogues and many specific training, in which we explicitly work on all these aspects with all the staff that is already in the project, and I always tell them that it is necessary to review, to recover, it is necessary to read again, to listen again and to reflect again, all these things. All these scientific grounds that evidence that the way in which we work, the way in which we understand education is a different perspective.
We have been in the project for a long time, we need to be continuously reviewing, reminding, refreshing [our knowledge], and that helps us to integrate the new teachers who join the project and who may start a little bit from scratch.
If the training to all the people who start working in the school is only unidirectional, and it consists on explaining how things are done, how they are lived and how they are felt, you end up offering the opposite of what you are striving to. The idea is precisely to act in the same way that you say you must act.
I remember that at the beginning I used to talk a lot, I talked a lot... And they told me one day, people from the school’s management team who were entering [in my class] to guide me… I asked them ‘how do you see me?’. I wanted to know, just landed, and they said... “José, you talk very well, but you talk too much, you will gradually get to know the dynamics”, and now, and now I have learned, of course, I've been here for four years, I've learned a lot, and I'm still learning...
5.1.2. Family and Community Participation as a Pedagogical Resource for Teacher Induction
It’s not just the planning of the activity, it’s also that I was used to being alone in class... And you get here, and you don’t know how you must do the activities, because you're still lost, and above you have a person, who is not judging you, s/he is doing her/his job, s/he is not judging you or anything, on the contrary, it is a reinforcement for you, but... you already have that pressure.
Unai: Now we are the ones who are in class alone and when someone tells us “a group will come ...”, you say: “perfect, better!” At the beginning the support [of volunteers] is a pressure, and then you start to appreciate it.
José: …Then, if you don’t have it [the support of volunteers] you have a bad time... [You say to the main assistant:] “Joan, give me more resources, more teachers, more volunteers...!”
5.2. Newly Appointed Teachers’ Commitment to the School as Learning Communities Project
5.2.1. Sense of Professional Growth
I didn’t even know what a “learning community” was ... I was the Special education teacher. I used to come to a school and: “look, these are your children.” The children who already had a label ..., and of course, I took those students out of the [regular] classroom and worked with them individually. And when I got here, they said to me: “No, you’re going to work within the classroom with these children, supporting the class teacher, you take part of a community.” And I don’t know why, why I fell in love with the project, and I was hooked right away.
5.2.2. Commitment to Improve the Educational Reality of Students
Just the fact of working in a school as a “learning community” already makes you be different, when you start working here your mind changes … the important thing is not you and your goals, but always the child and the child’s safety, his/her social and academic success. We work by and for children, that’s very clear for us, and without the help of the family this would not be possible, that’s also very clear for us. … This is not just about teachers, it is about everyone.
We always present the project as a project that belongs to the families, to the students, a project that aims to be a project of the city. Thus, the function that we all have as agents working on the project is to facilitate it, accompany and promote it, but not to make decisions about whether the project is carried out or not. For me, this is an important issue, if you relate a project with a specific person, if that person disappears, the project has the risk of disappearing.
When I had the interview [with Gladys’ mother] I explained to her how we worked, the methodology that we used, and I even told her that she could come to the classroom and to see what we are doing. That caught her attention. I explained to her, I also told her where she could look for information, what is our website, so she could get informed, and she told me that she would probably like to enter the class and see what we do, because of course, this was something new for her, because there [in Paraguay] they did not work like that. And in this way, she can see what we do and she can introduce the academic part afterwards also at home. That is the important thing.
Conflicts of Interest
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|7 communicative observations||Conducted in different classrooms. The researcher/s contrasts the information observed with the participants to share the meaning and interpretation of their actions.|
|2 group in-depth interviews||1 with the school management team:|
Sandra (School’s Principal) and Joan (Assistant Principal);
|1 interview with teachers:|
José (6th-grade teacher), Unai (5th-grade teacher), Joaquim (5th-grade teacher) and Marina (6th-grade teacher).
|2 individual in-depth interviews||1 with Sandra (School’s Principal);|
|1 with Lola (Special Education teacher).|
|Research question 1|
(which features of the educational model of the school facilitate teacher induction)
|Research question 2|
(how teachers embrace the educational project of the school)
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García-Carrión, R.; Padrós Cuxart, M.; Alvarez, P.; Flecha, A. Teacher Induction in Schools as Learning Communities: Successful Pathways to Teachers’ Professional Development in a Diverse School Serving Students Living in Poverty. Sustainability 2020, 12, 7146. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177146
García-Carrión R, Padrós Cuxart M, Alvarez P, Flecha A. Teacher Induction in Schools as Learning Communities: Successful Pathways to Teachers’ Professional Development in a Diverse School Serving Students Living in Poverty. Sustainability. 2020; 12(17):7146. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177146Chicago/Turabian Style
García-Carrión, Rocío, Maria Padrós Cuxart, Pilar Alvarez, and Ainhoa Flecha. 2020. "Teacher Induction in Schools as Learning Communities: Successful Pathways to Teachers’ Professional Development in a Diverse School Serving Students Living in Poverty" Sustainability 12, no. 17: 7146. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177146