Helping Beginning Teachers Succeed
By Barry Putz (1992)
SSTA Research Centre Report #92-13: 32 pages, $11
Acknowledgements The purpose of this study was to examine the professional support certain beginning teachers believed would have better facilitated their transition from pre-service to in-service teaching. Beginning teachers have graduated from teacher-education institutions, it is commonly believed, fully prepared to begin teaching. Research has indicated that this group of teachers experience difficulties in their initial year in the classroom, however. It is necessary to examine the kinds of support which beginning teachers require.
Purpose of the Study
Significance of the Study
Delimitations of the Study
Limitations of the Study
Review of the Literature
Research Method
Data Analysis Method
Overview of the Study
Research Questions
Analysis of Results
Recommendations for Further Study
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The opinions and recommendations expressed in this report are those of the author and may not be in agreement with SSTA officers or trustees, but are offered as being worthy of consideration by those responsible for making decisions.


I wish to take this opportunity to thank the members of my thesis committee, Dr. Garth Pickard, Dr. Marlene Taylor, and Dr. Tony Nickel for their encouragement and their advice.

In addition, I would like to thank my students in various courses at the University of Regina, especially those in EPS-226-030 for their interest in my research. I wish them all well in their teaching careers. A special thanks goes to my friend, Dr. Liz Cooper, for her encouragement throughout my Master of Education program and throughout this project.

I would like to extend my appreciation, as well, to the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association for their financial assistance in this project.

Finally, I wish to thank my family for their love and support. This is for Linda, who gave up so much and put up with so much, and for Chris, Jeremy, and Joel, who came along for the ride, not knowing where it would take them.

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Many difficulties emerge because new teachers are caught off guard. Actually doing teaching, moment by moment, is different than they had expected. Having been in school those many years and having seen so many different teachers in so many different situations, many beginners think they know what it is like to do teaching. But, alas, it fools them. The teacher's side of the desk is different. Behind it are hidden demands and subtleties which are quite unexpected (Ryan, et al., 1980, p. 5).

Teacher education institutions endeavour to prepare their graduates to deal successfully with the variety of experiences teachers regularly face. To accomplish this, teacher education programs have included varying amounts of practicum, content-specific arts and sciences classes, methodological and pedagogical experiences. Educational researchers have indicated, however, that many institutions have not sufficiently prepared beginning teachers for all the experiences faced on "the teacher's side of the desk."

Extensive research has been conducted by Veenman (1984; 1987), Odell (1986), Zaharias and Frew (1988), Manley, et al. (1989), and Zeichner and Tabachnick (1981; 1985), among others, to investigate the beginning teacher experience ... moving to the "teacher's side of the desk." A reason for this research interest has centred upon reports that suggested that many beginning teachers leave the profession early in their careers. Quaglia (1989), for example, pointed out that a "high percentage of those leaving teaching were both new to the field and academically able" (p. 1). He further suggested there was a 20 to 25 percent probability that a beginning teacher would leave teaching. Of consequence also, was his observation that, "the most qualified beginning teachers may be the first to leave" (p. 1). Frye (1988) supported Quaglia's claim by identifying that, "Teachers leave teaching after the first year at a higher rate than at any other time" (p. 55).

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Purpose of the Study

This study examined the professional support certain beginning teachers believed would have better facilitated their transition from pre-service to in-service teaching. In particular, the study examined these beginning teachers' perceptions of certain types of professional support. In this study, professional support was organized under the eight support categories: instruction and evaluation, system, supplementary resources (print, a/v, speakers), emotional, managerial and planning, parents and the community, discipline, and work load. This study also examined these beginning teachers' perceptions of the relative importance of each type of professional support. Further, it examined the rationale certain beginning teachers offered for their beliefs regarding their perceptions. Ethics Approval was requested and received in October, 1990 to conduct the study.

The study sought to find the answers to a series of three questions:

1. What professional support activities can these beginning teachers identify which would assist them in the transition from pre-service to in-service teaching?

2. How would these beginning teachers judge the importance of each identified professional support activity?

3. What rationale do these beginning teachers offer which explains why they judged the importance of each professional support activity as they did?

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Significance of the Study

The significance of identifying beginning teachers' perceptions of professional support which they require is reinforced by Wildman, Niles, Magliaro, and McLaughlin (1989). These researchers described how educators have left beginning teachers to cope on their own. Yet, educators have expected beginning teachers to perform as well as teachers possessing years of experience.

Although no one would disagree that beginning teachers must teach, we often ignore the fact that beginning teachers have much to learn about teaching and little knowledge related to this new role. Moreover, they must learn it quickly if they are to survive (Wildman, et al, p. 472).

Vaughn (1980, p. 13) stated the problem clearly.

... the conditions under which a person carries out the first year of teaching have a strong influence on the level of effectiveness which that teacher is able to achieve and to sustain over the years; on the attitudes which govern teacher behavior over even a forty-year career; and, indeed, on the decision whether or not to continue in the teaching profession.

Pickard (1989) also supported further investigation into the beginning teacher experience, having called for "research which would assist in qualifying the use of teacher induction programs" (p. 12). Likewise, Quaglia (1989) indicated that more research into the area of the "types of help which are most readily accepted by beginning teachers" (p. 7) was necessary.

Tyler (1981), as cited in Pickard (1989, p. 8) added additional support for research in this area. He believed that the task of preparing teachers could not be accomplished solely through pre-service programs. Research was necessary which viewed teaching as a continuous and developmental career. Tyler stated,

Time is not sufficient in the pre-service program of teacher education to acquire all the intellectual and emotional resources that could be helpful. Pre-service education must be conceived as a substantial beginning of a lifelong program of professional education.

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Delimitations of the Study

The study was delimited to the perceptions of the group of beginning teachers contracted by their school divisions to begin teaching in Saskatchewan at the start of the 1990-1991 school year. More specifically, the study viewed these teachers as experts by definition and was further delimited to their perceptions of specific support activities that would have assisted them in moving from pre-service to in-service teaching.

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Limitations of the Study

The study was limited to the beginning teachers' ability to generate suggestions about specific types of support. The study was further limited to the willingness and ability of the beginning teachers to discuss fully the importance of each form of support. The willingness of the beginning teachers to discuss fully the rationale associated with their perceptions about the importance of each form of support was a further limitation. Due to the qualitative nature of the study, the generalizability of the results may be limited.

The research method employed for this study presented several limitations (Linstone and Turoff, 1975). The limitations above were related to a limitation of the research method, that is, the abilities or "expertness" of the members of the group participating. The study was further limited to the ability of the researcher to summarize and present group responses. The honesty of the researcher in dealing with data presented another limitation, as did the interpretations which participants gave the information provided to them during the several rounds of the study.

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Review of the Literature

Research literature which was reviewed examined beginning teachers' experiences. The literature focused on the concerns of beginning teachers, the socialization of beginning teachers, and the programs implemented to assist beginning teachers in this effort.

The concerns of beginning teachers can be classified in four categories: teaching concerns, planning concerns, relationship concerns, and other concerns. Teaching concerns identified in the literature included those dealing with 1) the process by which students in the school or classroom were controlled, managed, or punished (Veenman, 1984, 1987; Vonk, 1983; Bullough, 1989; Odell, 1986; Cruikshank and Callahan, 1983; Stern and Shepherd, 1986; Grant and Zeichner, 1981; Covert, 1991; Ryan, 1980, and Berg, et al., 1989); 2) the motivation of students and student participation ( Bullough, 1989; Veenman, 1984, 1987; and Vonk, 1983); 3) the evaluation or assessment of student work (Grant and Zeichner, 1981; Veenman, 1984, 1987; Bullough, 1989; and Covert, et al., 1991); and 4) accommodating individual differences among students (Bullough, 1989; Veenman, 1984, 1987; Vonk, 1983; and Covert, 1991). Planning concerns found in the literature included those dealing with 1) inadequate amounts of planning time (Grant and Zeichner, 1981; Berg, et al., 1989); 2) the management of time available to deal with one's work load (Cruikshank and Callahan, 1983; Ryan, 1980); 3) managing and organizing the work day through planning and scheduling teaching and learning activities (Odell, et al. 1987; Vonk, 1983; Stern and Shepherd, 1986; and Covert, et al., 1991); and 4) locating resource materials, curricula, instructional materials, and resource persons (Ryan, 1980; Grant and Zeichner, 1981; Stern and Shepherd, 1986; Odell, et al., 1987; and Covert, et al., 1991). Relationship concerns which the literature provided dealt with 1) contacts with colleagues and the principal (Vonk, 1983; Cruikshank and Callahan, 1983; Hitz and Roper, 1986; Berg, et al., 1989; Pickard, 1989; Grant and Zeichner, 1981; Stern and Shepherd, 1986, and Covert, et al., 1991); 2) contacts with parents as well as conducting parent interviews and maintaining a positive relationship with the community (Veenman, 1984, 1987; Berg, et al., 1981; Hitz and Roper, 1986; Bullough, 1989; and Covert, et al., 1991); and 3) balancing one's school and personal lives (Odell, et al., 1987; Stern and Shepherd, 1986; and Vonk, 1983). Other concerns dealt with 1) school policies, procedures, rules, and guidelines (Grant and Zeichner, 1981; Ryan, 1980; Vonk, 1983; and Odell, et al., 1987); 2) students meeting one's academic goals, the lack of repertoire of instructional approaches, and the lack of familiarity with textbooks and resources to be used (Cruikshank and Callahan, 1983; Vonk, 1983); and 3) the exhaustion associated with teaching, assuming the role of a teacher, and applying theory to practice (Veenman, 1987; Brock, 1990; Stern and Shepherd, 1986; Hitz and Roper, 1986; and Grant and Zeichner, 1981).

The literature about the socialization of beginning teachers focused on their experiences in learning the values and beliefs of their new profession. The socialization literature included an examination of factors that influence beginning teachers' socialization (Jordell, 1987; Etheridge, 1988). Other literature examined the phases through which beginning teachers pass during their initial year (Lortie, 1975; Lacey, 1977; Freshour and Hollman, 1990). The social strategies which are employed by beginning teachers to cope with their new teaching experiences were examined and reported in the literature (Lacey, 1977; Zeichner and Tabachnick, 1985). Researchers have explored the apparent shift from liberal to traditional teaching perspectives which seems to occur during the initial year of teaching (Zeichner and Tabachnick, 1981).

Induction programs were identified in the literature to be systems or processes for socializing teachers (Schlechty, 1985). Research related to induction programs examined the characteristics of induction programs. Such induction programs typically include workshop sessions, in-service programs, communications and support networks, and school-based assistance and support (Cole, 1991). A necessary component of all induction programs, according to the literature is program evaluation, in both formative and summative forms (Stoll, 1991). Some researchers identified obstacles which stand in the way of successful induction programs (Hall, 1982; Cole, 1991; Griffin, 1985; McNay, 1991). These obstacles include fiscal restraint, lack of recognition of the induction phase, and the lack of agreement about who is responsible for induction programs.

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Research Method

The Delphi Technique

Three elements characterize the Delphi Technique: the structure of the flow and interpretation of information, the provision for feedback to and from the participants, and the anonymity of the participants. Specifically, the technique involves the development of a series of related questionnaires for gathering opinion and judgement of a group of experts on any related issues. A selected group of respondents -- an expert group -- receives the first questionnaire. They return the completed questionnaire to those conducting the Delphi. The researchers summarize the results and develop a second questionnaire for the same expert group to enable them to broaden and deepen their interpretation. The expert group is given opportunity in the third round to re-examine its original judgements and opinions. Those conducting the study provide them with the discussions from the second round for assistance. Further rounds, if necessary, continue to provide opportunity for re-examination of interpretations and opinions until consistent results occur. The Delphi ends with a report of conclusions by those who conducted the study (Linstone, 1978).

Adaptation of the Delphi Technique in the Present Study

As this study was designed to examine the specific support needs of beginning teachers, the first round questionnaire provided a framework for respondents to address the topic. The eight support areas perceived by beginning teachers as identified by the pilot study (Putz, 1991) were chosen to provide this framework. In addition, a ninth category -- "Other Support" -- was provided to accommodate support that would not fall within these eight categories.

In November, 1990, the first round package was sent to a selected group of 183 beginning teachers in Saskatchewan schools, the "expert" group for the Delphi. An attempt was made to include teachers at both the kindergarten to grade eight and grade nine to grade twelve levels in this group. Additionally, teachers in both rural and urban settings were chosen. The group was selected from a list provided by the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation (S.T.F.). The S.T.F. had screened this list to ensure those on the list were, indeed, beginning teachers. To further guarantee participation by beginning teachers alone, materials included with the first round questionnaire clarified that the study was intended for beginning teachers -- those in their initial year of teaching.

Twenty beginning teachers returned the first round package. Of these, 10 were in rural schools and 10 were in urban schools. 12 of the beginning teachers were teaching in elementary schools and 8 were teaching in secondary schools. The returns of the first round package were analyzed for themes and commonalities. These themes and commonalities, once identified, were included in the second round package as specific types of support. Participants were asked, in the second round, to judge the importance of these specific types of support importance. In addition, participants were asked to provide a rationale for their judgements.

The rationales provided in the second round were analyzed for themes. The third round materials provided participants with the judgements regarding the importance of the support activities, along with accompanying rationale.

In the third round, participants were required to re-examine their original opinions and the rationale for each of the various specific types of support. The participants were asked to do this based on the information provided to them. Final conclusions regarding the specific types of support needed by beginning teachers and the perceived importance of each type were drawn from the third round data.

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Data Analysis Method

Three analysis techniques were employed in the present study to interpret the data gathered during the three rounds of the Delphi-type study: "clustering," "subsuming particulars into the general," and "noting patterns or themes."

In "clustering" (Miles and Huberman, 1984) the researcher attempts to understand a phenomenon better by "grouping, then conceptualizing, objects that have similar patterns or characteristics" (p. 219).

"Subsuming particulars into the general" (Miles and Huberman, 1984, 223) involves "asking the questions, 'What is this specific thing an instance of? Does it belong to a more general class?' " Thus, the analysis takes a "step up, trying to locate the immediate act, event, actor, or activity in a more abstractly defined class" (p. 223). This class, or concept, may have been defined previously or may emerge as the precursor to a pattern or theme through the analysis.

A third data analysis strategy, "noting patterns or themes," assisted the researcher in the process of data articulation. Miles and Huberman (1984), in discussing this strategy, stated

When one is working with text, or less well-organized displays, one will often note recurring patterns, themes, or "Gestalts," which pull together a lot of separate pieces of data. Something "jumps out" at you, suddenly makes sense (p. 216).

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Overview of the Study

The sequence of the study and the three rounds in which the answers to the research questions were found are displayed in Figure 1. In Round One, participants generated suggestions for support activities, providing information which led to the answer to Research Question #1. In Round Two, participants gave their opinions about the importance of the 58 support activities suggested in Round One. In addition, participants provided rationale for their judgements. This information provided information which led to the answers to Research Questions #2 and #3. In Round Three, participants reconsidered their opinions about the importance of the suggested support activities based upon information gathered in Round Two. This information led to the final answers to Research Questions #1, #2, and #3.

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Research Questions

The three research questions for which answers were sought were

1. What support activities can beginning teachers identify which would assist them in the transition from pre-service to in-service teaching?;

2. How would the beginning teachers rate each of the identified support activities according to the importance they give each?; and

3. What rationale can beginning teachers offer which explains why they rated the support suggestions as they did?

The results will be presented in answer to these research questions.

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Analysis of Results

Research Question #1: What support activities can these beginning teachers identify which would assist them in the transition from pre-service to in-service teaching?

The participants were asked in Round One to list support activities under nine categories originated from the pilot study: instructional support, system support, resource support, emotional support, managerial support, parental support, disciplinary support, work load support and other support.

A total of 58 individual support activities were described in compiled from the Round One data. An examination of these support activities, using the strategy of "subsuming into the particular," (Miles and Huberman, 1984, p. 223) revealed three central themes. The three themes were identified as Delivery Systems, Specific Support Activities to be Offered Via Delivery Systems, and Additional Structures and Processes.

Theme One: Delivery Systems: This theme represented the methods through which these teachers believed support could be provided to beginning teachers. Seven such delivery systems were identified; four formal and three informal. The four formal delivery systems (which would require the creation of some form of program) were peer assistance with an assigned, experienced teacher, in-service sessions for beginning teachers, beginning teachers manuals, and preparation time. The three informal delivery systems (which would not require the creation of any form of program) were in-school and central administrators, other teachers, and support staff (such as a school secretary). Figure 2 displays these Delivery Systems.

Theme Two: Specific Support Activities to be Offered Via Delivery Systems: This theme represented the numerous specific support activities described by the respondents which could be offered through the use of the Delivery Systems.

Theme Three: Additional Structures and Processes: Through the analysis of the 58 support activities compiled during Round One, it became apparent that some activities would require the creation of some additional structures or processes. That is, particular support activities could not be offered without some changes being introduced at the school, the school system, or both. The theme "Additional Structures and Processes" represented these particular support activities.

As analysis continued, it was concluded that the original eight categories required modification. Using a process termed "clustering," (Miles and Huberman, 1984, pp. 218-221) four of the eight categories were changed. Figure 3 illustrates the changes.

The remaining support categories, System, Emotional, Discipline, and Work Load remained unchanged. The category, Other Support was eliminated as no data was received which could be placed in that category.

These eight categories better represented the interpretations provided by the participating beginning teachers. These eight categories were then used to organize the respondents' specific support activities under Themes Two and Three uncovered through the Round One data analysis.

Figure 4 displays Theme Two (Specific Support Activities to be Offered Via Delivery Systems) and the eight specific support categories. Figure 5 displays Theme Three (Additional Structures and Processes) and the eight specific support categories.

Figures 6 and 7 collectively represent the specific support activities as identified by the respondents in Theme Two as organized according to the eight categories.

Figures 8 and 9 present the specific support activities desired by the respondents encompassed by Theme Three and organized according to the eight categories.

After analysis and categorization, the 58 support suggestions were returned to the respondents in Round Two of the study. (See Appendix B for the Round Two forms.) The respondents were required to judge the suggestions as "Very Important," "Quite Important," "Moderately Important," and "Not Important." In addition, the respondents were asked to provide a rationale to explain their judgements for each suggestion. This second round data was returned and then analyzed. The judgements were examined and rationales were summarized.

In Round Three, the support activity judgements were returned to the respondents, as were the summary statements of rationales. The respondents were asked to judge the support activities based upon the second round results and the summary statements. This data was returned and analyzed.

Research Question #2: How would these beginning teachers judge the importance of the identified professional support activities?

By analyzing the importance of the support suggestions which resulted from Round Three, it was possible to search for consensus about the importance of each. For the purposes of this study, consensus was reached if 12 of 16 participants in Round Three agreed on the rating of any individual support suggestion. Support activities which reached a consensus of Very Important are presented in Table 1.

This group of beginning teachers reached consensus on seven specific support suggestions. Preparation time, exchanging ideas and materials, sharing unit plans, and sharing activities were believed be the respondents to be Very Important. Peer assistance with an assigned, experienced teacher, support staff such as a school secretary, and information about available division-level resources were believed to be Quite Important.

Having determined areas of consensus among the beginning teachers, it was necessary to examine the rationale offered to look for commonalities.

Research Question #3: What rationale do these beginning teachers offer which explains why they judged the importance of the support activities as they did?

The participants were given an opportunity in Round Two of the Delphi-type study to explain their rationale for their opinions of the importance of each support activity. Summary statements were prepared by the researcher following an examination of the rationales. These summary statements were then provided to the participants in Round Three to assist them in reconsidering their opinions of the importance of each support activity. The participants' rationale offered for each of the support activities which achieved consensus as Very Important follow.

Preparation Time: Everything is new to a beginning teacher. One begins the year with no supplies, sheets, maps, etc. Beginning teachers require extra preparation time to deal with the large amount of lesson preparation and planning involved in their first year. This time constraint is often the only factor which limits teaching to "satisfactory" or "good," rather than "excellent."

Exchange of Ideas and Materials: Beginning teachers start fresh, with little in the way of a repertoire of ideas and materials. Further, locating ideas and readying materials for use in the classroom is very time consuming. New ideas and materials from other teachers, then, are always welcome. This can only improve beginning teachers' instructional methods and can aid their professional growth.

Sharing of Units Plans: Unit plans, even if they are only in the form of outlines, can be helpful. They offer strategies, content, and activities in an organized way. They would do much to prevent "groping in the dark," as well as to build confidence in knowing one is on the right track. Additionally, sharing of unit plans would lessen beginning teachers' workload, thus solving, to some degree, the problem with time. Beginning teachers would also gain from the feedback offered regarding the unit plans they offer.

Sharing of Activity Ideas: Beginning teachers need all the ideas they can get to build a large repertoire of teaching ideas and materials. This is especially true of activity ideas that are known to work well. Different ideas can be extremely stimulating for the classroom teacher and sharing them would assist beginning teachers make their classes more interesting.

In addition to the rationale provided for the support activities which reached a consensus as Very Important, the participants offered rationale for those support activities which achieved consensus as Quite Important. These rationale were:

Peer Assistance with an Assigned, Experienced Teacher: Having an assigned teacher would remove some of the tension associated with relying on several teachers. This person could provide help in several support areas, and could provide practical ideas and hints.

Support Staff such as a School Secretary: Beginning teachers depend heavily upon the school secretary. He or she can assist in locating school materials, supplies, and order forms, and can act as an intermediary between themselves and the administration. Despite this, secretaries do not know the classroom, limiting the scope of their assistance. The administration should clearly communicate the roles of and expectations for the secretary.

Information about Available Division-Level Resources:

People often assume that everyone is aware of available Division-level resources. Beginning teachers, however, need someone to show them what is available at the start of the year and to help when they need the resources. Information about access to posters, speakers, and print material are necessary. This would help beginning teachers provide a variety of lessons which are stimulating and suited to students' learning styles. A beginning teachers' manual could provide such information.

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This results of this study indicate that, despite the best efforts of teacher education institutions, the programs designed to prepare teachers do not completely ready them to carry out the role of the teacher. It would be unfair, however, to accuse these institutions of ineffectiveness or incompetence. As Cole and Watson (1991) state, "... the pre-service program provides merely the foundation for continuing professional growth" (p. 1). Many of the problems that beginning teachers face are due to a lack of mediated entry into the profession. Teacher education programs provide pre-service teachers with support through faculty members, library resources, peers, and cooperating teachers. Once they are in their first teaching positions in the field, however, these teachers typically find that support is not available to the degree previously offered. An induction program would accommodate a smoother transition from pre-service to in-service teaching by providing this support. Cole and Watson (1991) caution, however:

Only when support for beginning teachers becomes a norm in the workplace, one of many examples of teachers working collaboratively to help each other learn, will induction become institutionalized (p. 1).

Consequently, educators involved in the design of such a program must carefully consider the goals and purposes, along with the characteristics of successful induction programs as those offered by Tisher (1984), Fox and Singletary (1986), Varah, et al. (1986), Cole and McNay (1989) and Schlechty (1985), among others.

Several researchers have provided information about the support that beginning teachers need. In this study, such support was arranged in four categories: teaching concerns, planning concerns, relationship concerns, and other concerns. The specific support topics identified in the research of Veenman (1984, 1987), Vonk (1983), Grant and Zeichner (1981), Bullough (1989), Odell (1986), and Odell, et al. (1987) are consistent with the many suggestions that emanated from this study.

In particular, this study endorsed the need for support along two themes which emerged from those support suggestions identified as Very Important and Quite Important. The first theme was the beginning teachers' need to somehow compensate for their newness to the field (preparation time, exchange of ideas and materials, sharing of unit plans, sharing of activities, and information about available division-level resources). The second theme was the need for someone to help the beginning teacher, to give the location of materials, and to give specific information (peer assistance with an assigned, experienced teacher and support staff such as a school secretary). Thus, the designers of any induction programs must consider, at a minimum, that support be provided along these themes.

Designers of effective induction programs must also consider the advice of Tisher (1984) who recommends beginning teachers provide information about topics for these programs. This may seem unreasonable to some educators who feel that beginning teachers are unable to distinguish what kinds of support would be of greatest benefit to them. As Reiman and Edelfelt (1991) state, however:

It must be recognized that reality is in the eye of the beholder. School personnel may see their situation differently than outside observers do. As a consequence, researchers may not agree with the collective opinion of informants. Even if researchers see the situation correctly, the way in which respondents see it is the way that they believe it to be and, incidentally, the view from which they function (p. 3).

The pilot study (Putz, 1991) provides further guidance. This study identified three clusters of support of importance to beginning teachers. The first cluster involved support directly related to teacher-student interaction -- disciplinary and instructional support. The second cluster involved preparing to teach -- resource, managerial, and work load support. The third cluster involved the least amount of teacher-student interaction -- parental, emotional, and system support.

The present study provides evidence emphasizing the importance of a component of the first cluster, instructional and evaluation support. The statements of rationale compiled through the responses of these beginning teachers indicated their awareness of the absence of a "data bank" or established base of materials and activities. This idea was found throughout the rationale for the need for preparation time, exchange of ideas and materials, sharing of unit plans, sharing of activity plans, peer assistance, support staff, and information about division-level resources.

Having discussed the results of the present study, it is necessary to present a number of conclusions and recommendations based on the results and the wealth of information available in the literature.

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The following conclusions are presented, based upon the results of this study.

1. It can be concluded that, based upon the perceived importance of preparation time as a support activity, there exists a need to adjust the work load of beginning teachers. Reduced teaching loads, shared teaching loads, and the provision of more preparation periods for beginning teachers should be examined. Pre-service programs should examine the need for practice in organizational skills which would assist beginning teachers cope with in-service positions.

2. It can be concluded that, based upon the perceived importance of the exchange and sharing of ideas, materials, units, and activities, there exists a need to provide beginning teachers with a resource base with which to begin teaching. School boards should create policies and practices which promote the exchange of ideas and materials between teachers in general, and beginning teachers in particular.

3. It can be concluded that work load support is important to beginning teachers, despite the lack of interest shown this category by the expert group in this study. Preparation time (which was perceived as very important in this study) was used by the expert group to address the issue of work load.

4. It can be concluded that the Delphi technique was an effective way to identify and judge the importance of support activities desired by a group of teachers. Teachers in this study were able to list, judge the importance of, and provide rationale for support activities. This was done without the cost or logistics involved in getting such a geographically scattered group together. This technique may prove valuable in identifying necessary support to teachers during the implementation of the new curricula associated with the CORE Curriculum in Saskatchewan.

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A number of recommendations follow the conclusions of this study.

1. An induction program should be designed for beginning teachers in Saskatchewan. To do this, it is advisable for K to 12 educators to collaborate with faculties of education at our two universities:

the induction phase of teacher education should optimally serve as a context in which local school systems and colleges of education work together (Zaharias and Frew, 1987, p. 54).

Further support for this is offered in the Final Report of the Teacher Education Review Steering Committee. This report proposed a continuum of teacher education:

That continuum includes pre-service teacher education, through induction, to in-service teacher education. However, "the idea of a continuum can only become a reality if those who are responsible for each distinct part of teacher education join together and share responsibility for the whole" (Rolheiser-Bennett, 1991, p. 22)

2. Beginning teachers can identify areas of support of importance to them. The degree of support required will vary among and between beginning teachers due to the type of pre-service program in which they were enroled. Although pre-service programs in Saskatchewan are four-year programs which include extended practica, some pre-service programs are much shorter in duration. Graduates of more extensive pre-service programs are unlikely to require the degree of support as those from less extensive programs because of their greater exposure to educational issues and situations. Educators should consider the needs of individual beginning teachers when designing induction programs for beginning teachers in Saskatchewan.

3. Induction programs must provide a mentor to furnish in-school assistance to the beginning teacher, provide ideas and materials to be used by the beginning teacher, and provide the preparation time necessary for the beginning teacher to reflect and incorporate information, ideas, and materials. Induction programs must also provide in-service sessions intended to provide support for the beginning teachers along the lines identified in the literature and in this study.

4. Designers of an induction program should use seven of the eight categories of support which emerged in this study (instruction and evaluation, supplementary resources (print, a/v, speakers), managerial and planning, parents and the community, system, emotional, and discipline) as part of the framework for an induction program.

5. A beginning teacher induction program in Saskatchewan should incorporate the two formal Delivery Systems identified in this study and rated as Very Important or Quite Important: peer assistance with an assigned, experienced teacher and preparation time. School boards and their administrators, in cooperation with the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation and the two Universities should identify and train mentor teachers who could work with beginning teachers.

6. The Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, the Saskatchewan School Trustees' Association, and the League of Educational Administrators, Directors, and Superintendents should promote the need for their members to provide informal support to beginning teachers.

7. Support suggestions under Theme One (Delivery Systems) and Theme Two (Support Suggestions to be Offered Via Delivery Systems) for which consensus was not achieved and yet were rated by the participants in this study as moderately important and higher should be considered for inclusion in an induction program. In particular, a beginning teachers' manual could prove to be a highly effective means of providing support and material to beginning teachers. Such a manual could provide information which is primarily local in nature (for example, information pertinent to the procedures and forms used in the school division, and resources available at the school and division levels) and could also provide more general information (for example, information about working with parents and the community, resources available from the Stewart Resource Centre, school and classroom discipline, and teaching strategies). A beginning teachers' manual could complement in-service sessions.

8. An interactive video linkage could be provided through the SCAN network. This would allow beginning teachers to discuss concerns and successes with educators and other beginning teachers without leaving their school divisions. Covert, et al. (1991, p. 15) recommend this idea for use in rural Newfoundland. It would be just as useful in Saskatchewan.

9. Offering support to beginning teachers is an aspect of supervisory behaviour and must be taken into consideration when the planning for professional growth and development takes place between the in-school administrator and the beginning teacher. Thus, educational administrators' organizations in Saskatchewan such as LEADS and SCEA as well as post-graduate programs in educational administration should make administrators aware of the unique needs of beginning teachers.

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Recommendations for Further Research

Some recommendations for further research arise from the results and conclusions from this study.

1. Further research, both quantitative and qualitative in nature, should take place to further investigate the beginning teacher experience. This research would add to the growing body of knowledge related to this pivotal period in teachers' careers.

2. A study utilizing the Delphi technique could investigate the perceptions of in-school and division administrators about the support needs of beginning teachers. Such information would complement that gathered in this study.

The group of beginning teachers in this study appear to share many concerns with their counterparts in other parts of the world. This group, however, was able to identify many support ideas which would have better assisted them transfer from pre-service teaching to in-service teaching. It is now up to educators at the K to 12 level and at the university level to work together to create programs which will set beginning teachers on their way along the continuum of professional growth.

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