The induction experience of beginning science teachers from different teacher preparation programs: Does one size fit all?
Contributor(s)Luft, Julie A.
Education, Teacher Training.
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AbstractInduction programs are essential in addressing the unique pedagogical and content needs of secondary science teachers. Yet most secondary science teachers have little access to general induction programs, and even less opportunity to participate in specialized science induction programs. This study examined the impact of a science-focused induction program on the practices and beliefs of first-year secondary science teachers from different teacher preparation programs. Eight teachers from four different teacher preparation programs participated in this study. All of the teachers were monitored throughout the academic year in order to understand their teaching beliefs, instructional practices, and induction program experiences. The analysis of data revealed that four of the beginning teachers implemented at least one "science as inquiry" lesson. All four of these teachers also maintained their incoming student-centered teaching beliefs or shifted towards more student-centered beliefs throughout the year. Teachers from the M.Ed. (science emphasis) program implemented more frequent and less mechanistic inquiry lessons than teachers from other preparation programs. The other four teachers had more traditional practices but their beliefs were maintained throughout the year with little or no regression towards more teacher-centered beliefs. The analysis of data also revealed that all of the first-year secondary science teachers received support from the science-focused induction program, with teachers from the M.Ed. (science emphasis) program receiving more philosophical support, and the other teachers receiving more instructional support. This study reinforces the importance of induction programs for all teachers, in the presence of support from a science-focused induction program, reform-based practices, such as "science as inquiry," are more likely to occur. Induction programs, however, must be configured to provide different types of support to meet the needs of teachers from different teacher preparation programs and backgrounds.