Mentoring for Early-Career Physics Teachers (Institute of Physics)

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Mentoring for Early-Career Physics Teachers (Institute of Physics)

  1. 1. Stimulating Physics Support The experience and evolution of a specialist mentoring programme for early career physics teachers 9th September 2013 David Cameron & Eliza Selley
  2. 2. The Challenge • Lack of specialist physics teachers • Low recruitment and retention of specialist physics teachers
  3. 3. Our Solution • Personalised support from an expert professional practitioner • Sustained support (training and first two years’ practice)
  4. 4. Our Mentoring Background Physics Enhancement Project (PEP) 2004-2007 • To get those with no formal/recent physics qualifications in to teaching physics Science Additional Specialism Programme (SASP) 2007-2009 • To give science teachers the ability to teach Physics/Chemistry Light-touch mentoring to 560 new physics teachers
  5. 5. The External Mentor 2012 Gatsby report concluded that an external mentor who is not involved in assessment can improve a teacher’s: • Subject Knowledge • Pedagogy • Emotional Wellbeing • Career Prospects
  6. 6. Principles of Mentoring • Conducted over an extended period • Drawing on experts with specialist knowledge • Engaging professionals sufficiently to deepen their knowledge and develop their skills • Willing to challenge prevailing discourses and misconceptions • Facilitate peer networking between professionals • With the support of managers, but without their direct involvement • Encouraging constant reflection and development • With an unwavering focus on the underlying purpose of the professional’s activity
  7. 7. Stimulating Physics Support (SPS) Project Aims: • Improve the professional profile and practice of early career physics teachers, towards that of an informed reflective practitioner actively contributing to the physics community • Improve the retention rate of early career physics teachers in the teaching profession through suitable support strategies and formative needs analysis
  8. 8. The SPS Network
  9. 9. Teacher Training Centre Visits
  10. 10. Mentor Activity The SPS Mentor’s Role: • Setting targets for professional development • Answering questions about physics teaching • Sign-posting teaching resources • Running termly get-togethers with a physics teaching theme
  11. 11. Teacher Issues & SPS Mentor Support • “Teacher A’s target was to produce a maths for physics booklet – she has tested the first draft on a cohort of students already and passed it to me for comments.” • “I had a good discussion regarding curriculum development across the key stages with Teacher B” • “Teacher C helped me organise a “Physics of Christmas” event at his school”
  12. 12. “Helen has been very supportive already during my training and I know I would not be able to teach A level physics as an NQT without her!” Teacher, West Midlands
  13. 13. 188 teachers contacted in December 2012 Contact • 92% had phone/email/face-to-face contact since registered • 10% had ten or more exchanges Events • 42% were invited to and attended an event • 49% were invited but didn’t attend because – The time slot was inappropriate for personal reasons – They didn’t have time – Their planning/marking was a priority – The distance was too great Independent Evaluation
  14. 14. SPS Mentor • 64% agreed their mentor had focussed on physics teaching • 56% agreed their mentor complemented their other training/support • 65% were positive about their mentor’s skills • 64% believed their mentor was supportive • But 15% disagreed that their mentor had not been judgemental • 77% agreed they had received “appropriate and valued support” Independent Evaluation
  15. 15. Project Issues & Modifications Issues • Participant Distribution
  16. 16. Project Issues & Modifications
  17. 17. Project Issues & Modifications 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Number of participants SPS Mentor 2013-14 2012-13 2011-12 Participant Distribution
  18. 18. Project Issues & Modifications Issues • Participant Distribution • Lack of Engagement
  19. 19. Project Issues & Modifications • 82% of teachers engaged at some point over the year • An average of 62% engaged in each term • Only 37% engaged every term
  20. 20. Project Issues & Modifications Issues • Participant Distribution • Lack of Engagement • Lack of physics-teaching focus
  21. 21. Project Issues & Modifications Issues • Participant Distribution • Lack of Engagement • Lack of physics-teaching focus
  22. 22. Questions 1. How are remote mentoring relationships made most effective? 2. What are the reasons for disengagement and how do we tackle it? 3. How do we balance more general support with mentoring to improve the practice of physics teachers?

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