Supporting Primary and Secondary Beginning Teachers Online: Key findings of the Education Alumni Support Project
Contributor(s)University of New England
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AbstractDuring 2005, the Education Alumni Support Project (EdASP) (Maxwell, Smith, Baxter, Boyd, Harrington, Jenkins, Sargeant & Tamatea 2006) provided online support for University of New England (UNE) graduand, and later, graduate, teachers as they commenced their careers. The project was based on research which reported that many beginning teachers did not get the support they needed as permanent or contract workers, or, as casual, relief or support teachers, and that small scale trials had shown that online support could be effective. One third of beginning teachers who were alumni of UNE in 2004, reported they did not receive adequate or any mentoring. UNE web-based technologies provided the teachers and mentors with online environments for professional and social interaction, and resource sharing. We found that support was especially sought by the project participants in their first school term, and there were differences in the levels of online support sought by secondary and primary beginning teachers. The project raises implications for on-going systemic support for beginning teachers, the issue of transition from students to teachers, as well as questions about teacher education students' preparation. This paper provides the key findings of the project. Detailed description of the project structure, data collection and data analysis are available in Maxwell et al. (2006).