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Ireland's National Induction Programme for Teachers


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Ireland's National Induction Programme for Teachers

  1. 1. MSERA Pensacola, Florida November 7, 2013 Susan P. Santoli, Ph.D. Paige Vitulli, Ph.D. University of South Alabama, College of Education
  2. 2. Introduction  Becoming an effective teacher is a process. New teachers may have completed quality teacher education programs, but these programs alone cannot prepare students with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in their own classrooms (Berry, 2006; Haynes, 2011; Ingersoll, 2012; The Teaching Council, 2011).
  3. 3. Introduction  Some of the benefits of quality induction programs include:  attracting better candidates  reduced attrition  improved job satisfaction  enhanced professional development  and improved teaching and learning  (Howe, 2012, p. 287).
  4. 4. Introduction  One criticism of many U.S. induction programs is that they focus on helping teachers survive the first year of teaching, but offer little support beyond that (Howe, 2006; American Association of State Colleges and Universities, 2006; Wojcikiewicz, 2005)
  5. 5. Introduction  There is no single way to provide effective induction to new teachers, nor does any country or state have a“best” way; however, there are recurring themes in programs which have been recognized as effective.  In this article we focus specifically on the research-based new teacher induction program in Ireland.
  6. 6. Ireland’s National Induction Programme for Teachers  In 2012, the authors of this article, both teacher educators in the U.S. visited St. Patrick’s College Drumcondra, Dublin to discuss teacher education with the Dean of Education and the Co-ordinators of the National Induction Programme for Teachers (NIPT).  The information and passion that were shared on Ireland’s continuum of teacher education and the induction program prompted more research and resulted in this article.
  7. 7. “To ask for support is a sign of strength” (National Induction Programme for Teachers) Dr. Fionnuala Waldron, Dr. Susan Santoli, Dr. Daire Keogh, Dr. Paige Vitulli
  8. 8. Halls of St. Patrick’s College
  9. 9. Dr. Waldron gives us a tour and accompanies us to the Gate Lodge to meet with Billy Redmond and Mary Burke
  10. 10. Gate Lodge Big things happen in small buildings!
  11. 11. Discussing teacher induction with Mary and Billy
  12. 12. Induction in Ireland  The teaching profession in Ireland is held in great esteem and the teacher education programs attract students who graduate at the top of their classes (B. Redmond & M. Burke, personal communication, October 27, 2012).  Funding for education is not provided by local governments. Teacher salaries and the costs of operating the schools and programs are assumed by the national government through the Department of Education and Skills. The vast majority of teachers are unionized (Hyland, 2012).  In 2011-2012, there were 57,736 primary and post primary teachers (The Department of Education and Skills, p. 2). Two thousand seven hundred and fifty students graduated from primary and post primary teacher preparation programs in 2011 (Hyland, 2012, p. 11).
  13. 13.  In the 1990’s induction for new teachers in Ireland was characterized as “inconsistent, and in many cases nonexistent” (Killeavy & Murphy, 2006, p. 20).  By 2002, that was no longer the case as the National Pilot Project for Teacher Induction was underway.  Developed in partnership with teacher educators, teacher unions, education centers and participating schools (Killeavy, 2006; Politis, 2012), the pilot’s purpose was to “develop proposals and identify models of induction for an effective national program” (Killeavy, 2006, p. 172).  In 2010 the pilot ended and NIPT began (Politis, 2012).
  14. 14. Workshops  Twelve workshops, whose content “was identified in research during the pilot phases,” comprise the heart of the induction process (Politis, 2012, p. 22).  They focus on immediate teacher needs, such as:  working as professionals  preparing and delivering instruction to diverse student     populations assessment organizing and managing a classroom working with parents areas of specific importance to Irish teachers: Gaelige, Numeracy and Literacy.
  15. 15. Workshops  Workshops are led by practicing teachers who have been trained as facilitators. The workshops actively involve participants and provide practical, classroombased assistance from facilitators who can share own classroom experiences (B Redmond & M. Burke, personal communication October 27, 2012).  Teachers have three years to complete these workshops which are offered in the late afternoon or evenings at regional educational centers throughout the country (The Teaching Council).
  16. 16. Workshops  The workshops were originally voluntary, but since July 2, 2012, are required for new teachers applying for registration.  Surveys conducted with first term 2011-2012 workshop participants revealed that all of the workshops received satisfaction ratings consisting primary of “very helpful” or “helpful” ratings in large percentages. In fact, only two workshops received “not helpful ratings” of over 1 percent (Politis, 2012).
  17. 17. Additional Support Along with the required workshops, NIPT provides other types of support:  Direct school based support where practicing teachers are trained to mentor new teachers and work with school leadership and staff to develop a program of induction activities.  New teachers participate in school based activities such as meeting with mentors for planning, observing other teachers, being observed by their mentors and receiving feedback on their teaching.  Schools or teachers needing help in specific areas, beyond what is provided by workshops, may access Professional Support Group assistance which allows a small group of teachers to determine the content of and bring their own classroom situations to a session (B. Redmond & M. Burke, personal communication, October 27, 2012).  Teachers also have access to the NIPT website ( which provides information and resources regarding induction.  Additionally, there is a section entitled, Feature School, which focuses on schools participating in the mentoring program. For each school, there are comments from principals, mentors and new teachers along with descriptions of some induction activities used in that school.
  18. 18. NIPT Website
  19. 19. Additional Teacher Education Revisions  In addition to strengthening the new teacher induction phase, initial teacher education programs have been lengthened.  Beginning in September 2012, undergraduate primary programs were increased from three to four years with post graduate programs scheduled to increase from 18 months to two years beginning in 2014.  Post primary programs will increase from 1 to 2 years beginning in 2014 (The Teaching Council).  Thus, Ireland continues to examine and revise various parts of the continuum, truly reflecting the idea that learning to teach is a process.
  20. 20. Signs of Strength  Summarizing the findings of a teacher acculturation study in five countries, Wong, Britton, & Ganser (2005) concluded there were three major similarities among those programs deemed as effective:  highly structured  focus on professional learning, and  emphasize collaboration  Ireland’s induction program certainly exhibits these research based characteristics.
  21. 21. We left “Pat's” with new friendships and lots of ideas about improving our own practice and the practice of our students in the USA College of Education! Susan, Billy and Mary Paige, Billy and Mary
  22. 22. Blog: Vitulli & Santoli: Eyes on Ireland Posts specifically on the St. Patrick’s Drumcondra visit:
  23. 23.  According to the 2010-2011 St. Patrick's College Annual report: "On 13 March, a statue of ‘St Patrick the Teacher’ by renowned sculptor Maurice Harron was blessed following the weekly Children’s Mass in the College Chapel. The sculpture was commissioned in memory of Fr Eamonn Cowan, CM, Chaplain of the College and St Patrick’s Boys NS from 1997 until shortly before he passed away in January 2009. The statue is erected outside the College Chapel, facing eastwards towards the community in Drumcondra."  Retrieved from: cuments/StPatsAnnualReport2010-11.pdf
  24. 24. Comments? Questions?