Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Impact of a Collaborative Peer Assistance and Review Model on Entry-Year Teachers in a Large Urban School Setting

Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Impact of a Collaborative Peer Assistance and Review Model on Entry-Year Teachers in a Large Urban School Setting

Article excerpt

Findings from multiple studies indicate that the various assistance programs provided for teachers have made important contributions to both teachers and students in these school settings. Two major areas emerged as important for teachers: assistance with instructional and managerial concerns and the importance of emotional support for entry-year teachers. Multiple studies show that assistance programs for beginning teachers help with managerial and instructional concerns and emotional support, which in turn increase teacher retention.

Managerial and Instructional Support

Multiple studies show the positive impact of managerial and instructional support on teachers' perceptions and teaching performance. After administering a survey examining concerns of first-year teachers, Odell (1986, 1987) reported that beginning teachers who have received assistance identify instructional needs as more important than managerial concerns. Teachers without assistance reported needs primarily focusing on student management (Veenman, 1984). These studies suggest that teachers with support can move beyond management concerns to better address instructional needs of their students. In a self report by first-year teachers, Huling-Austin and Murphy (1987) reported that teachers attributed a substantial amount of change to the assistance they received in the induction program. Most of the changes were of an instructional nature and of the type directly influencing quality of instruction. Marockie and Looney (1988) found that 67% of the 15 beginning teachers in their study reported making better use of their time in instruction; 33% believed they used praise more often, used better classroom management strategies, used space more efficiently, conducted their classes in a more businesslike manner, and improved their record keeping.

When the focus of the assistance programs included addressing teachers' teaching performance objectives, specific improvements resulted in the variables addressed. In a collaborative effort involving beginning teachers, exemplary teachers selected by the school district, and university instructors at the University of Georgia, the University of Georgia Teacher Assessment Project was implemented (Weller, 1982). Twenty-three teachers received inservice education during winter 1981 to improve competencies identified and measured on the Teacher Performance Assessment Instrument (TPAI). During the final observation, all teachers successfully demonstrated competency in all areas on the TPAI. Elsner (1984), using the Oklahoma Entry-Year Assessment Program, found that first-year teachers improved significantly in developing planning skills, handling class discussions, preparing unit and lesson plans, managing discipline problems, and teaching or training others.

Summers (1987) examined teachers involved with the Certification Renewal Experiences Designed to Improve Teaching (CREDIT), a project for first-year teachers implemented by Indiana State University. Findings indicated significant measurable changes for the CREDIT group compared to the control group in use of mastery learning and mastery learning theory, motivation to understand and use higher order questions, inclination to teach critical thinking skills, awareness of state and local curriculum guides, ability to communicate with parents, and ability to communicate with the public at large. Phelps and Wright (1986) reported a peer coaching program designed to improve classroom instruction in a rural area, where 35 teachers worked for 1 year to improve behaviors identified on the Effective Teaching Checklist developed at Tennessee Technological University. They reported the peer coaching technique to be a cost-effective method to provide in-class feedback and support for rural teachers; teachers significantly improved in 8 of the 12 categories tested: selection of methods, selection of materials, instruction, questioning, motivation, classroom management, providing practice, and evaluation and feedback. …

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