PREPARATION, RECRUITMENT, AND RETENTION OF TEACHERS
James M. Cooper
CONNECTING PREPARATION, RECRUITMENT, AND RETENTION
The preparation, recruitment, and retention of teachers are interrelated, but typically there is no policy framework that links them together in a coherent fashion and that is connected to national and state educational goals and standards.
The preparation, recruitment, and retention of teachers can be viewed as
a pipeline that springs leaks over time. In many developing countries, the
number of new teachers cannot keep up with population growth. In Western
countries, where suffi cient
numbers of teachers are prepared, many newly prepared teachers either choose
not to teach at all or leave teaching within a few years. In the
Until the early 2000s in the
Although the challenges of implementing a policy framework that links teacher preparation, teacher recruitment, and teacher retention are great, they must be met. Some of the more important of these challenges have been listed below:
• Align teacher preparation with the needs of diverse learners, content standards, and contemporary classrooms.
• Simplify and streamline hiring processes so teachers are not discouraged from teaching, particularly in “hard-to-staff” schools.
• Ensure that all new teachers participate in quality induction and mentoring programmes.
• Address working conditions so that schools become learning communities for both educators and students.
• Reinvent professional development for teachers so that it supports sustained growth and is organized around standards for accomplished teaching.
• Ensure better pay for teachers who demonstrate knowledge and skills that contribute to improved student achievement.
• Design incentives for increasing the diversity of the teaching force and for teaching in critical shortage areas.
To create and maintain an effective policy framework aimed at teacher quality, governments must develop and use a system for collecting data to inform policymakers of the results of various policy initiatives. Policy coherence is difficult enough when policymakers are dispersed among separate jurisdictions. However, without effective data gathering and analysis, policy coherence is virtually impossible. Many of the issues touched upon in this principle have been elaborated in the five principles that follow.
Cobb (1999); Darling-Hammond,
TEACHER SUPPLY AND DEMAND
The teacher supply and demand balance is affected by policy considerations, local labour market conditions, institutional practices, and societal attitudes toward teaching.
In some countries (for example, the United Kingdom,
Keeping the supply and demand of quality teachers balanced requires a
consideration of several factors. There are three major components of teacher
demand: pupil enrolment, pupil-teacher ratios, and turnover. With respect to
pupil-teacher ratio, for example, these ratios have slowly declined over the
years in several Western countries, particularly in primary grades. In
contrast, the ratio of primary pupils to teachers is three times higher in the
least developed countries than in developed ones. As important as enrollment
and pupil-teacher ratios are, however, the demand for teachers in any given
year is affected most by teacher turnover (see Issue 5). The supply of teachers
also depends on several factors, including the number of students graduating
from teacher preparation programmes, the proportion of these students who
choose to enter teaching, the number of teachers licensed through alternative
programmes, and the number of returnees from the reserve pool of teachers, including
retired teachers. Other factors influencing the supply of teachers include
salaries and benefits, working conditions, difficulty of licensure standards,
presence or absence of incentives to attract teachers, and public perception of
teaching as a profession. In Western countries, the supply of teachers is less
an issue of numbers than one of teaching field and distribution. For example,
Governments should continue to experiment with various strategies for attracting high calibre teachers, especially since the research base is not strong enough to rule out particular approaches. Increasing teacher salaries is not likely to attract people into teaching who don’t have the “calling.” However, adequate salaries to support a family and to save money for children’s education are likely to keep teachers who do heed the calling. All new teachers, whether graduates of traditional or alternative programmes, should be held to high academic and performance standards. It makes no sense to strengthen the requirements for college-based teacher education programmes, while at the same time ignoring standards for those coming through alternative licensure programmes.
Based on the review of teacher recruitment initiatives, the following practices are effective and should be considered by policymakers.
• Collect and analyze data on the supply and demand of teachers at national, state, and local levels to direct recruitment efforts.
• Cast a “wide net” in recruiting, including targeting secondary school students, paraprofessionals already working in schools, and mid-career professionals in other fields.
• Develop multiple pathways to becoming teachers while maintaining high standards for all new teachers.
• Develop a comprehensive, research-based strategy to recruitment, rather than multiple initiatives that may not relate to each other nor fit with other initiatives.
• Evaluate the effectiveness of these initiatives, including the effectiveness of teacher recruits and their retention.
A variety of teacher recruitment strategies should be employed to expand the teacher pool and improve the pipeline into teaching.
Internationally, recruiting quality teachers is a problem due primarily
to the low status of teaching (as evidenced in some countries by very low
salaries) and the lack of appeal found in the profession. In a study of ten
Asia- Pacific countries,
Although sufficient numbers of teachers graduate from teacher preparation programmes each year, teacher shortages exist in part because graduates either do not enter teaching, or a significant number of those who do enter leave within three to five years. To combat this shortage, as well as to address the issue of bringing greater diversity and quality into the teaching profession, a variety of teacher recruitment strategies need to be employed at various points in the education pipeline. Teacher recruitment can begin at the secondary school level. Secondary school students can participate in Future Teacher or Future Educator clubs, internships, or formal coursework in pedagogy and/or educational foundations. Efforts made at the secondary school level address another important recruitment issue; namely, attracting high quality and diverse students into teaching. University settings provide another opportunity for teacher recruitment. Examples include forgivable loans and scholarships, paid internships in school systems, and opportunities to work toward an advanced degree through five-year programmes. Partnerships between schools and universities can provide incentives that are helpful in attracting teacher candidates. Such incentives include bonus or salary increments for teachers willing to teach in hard-to-staff schools, earlier job offerings, and streamlined job application processes. Many of these programmes attempt to counteract the reasons that pre-service teachers give for not entering the teaching profession. Paraprofessionals are another group of potential recruits. These adults, currently working in schools, have the advantage of already knowing the school and the students. They tend to come from diverse backgrounds and are familiar with the social and cultural contexts in which students live. Programmes for paraprofessionals include financial assistance to pursue a degree, academic and social supports including work with a cohort of other paraprofessionals and faculty mentors, and flexible teaching arrangements which allow them to continue working in their current positions while taking classes and fulfilling practicum requirements. Mid-career, post-baccalaureate professionals working in other fields (for example, private industry, and the military) provide a fourth arena for teacher recruitment. Programmes geared toward this group often focus on hard to- staff fields such as science and mathematics as well as hard-to-staff schools. Participants in these programmes may be seeking to change careers or have retired from one career and are interested in teaching as a second career. Many enter teaching through alternative licensure programmes. Although some view these programmes as “back door” routes into teaching that are less rigorous than other programmes and that lead to less-than-high quality teachers, these programmes can be quite effective provided that they “provide options to the traditional undergraduate teacher education programme without lowering existing standards” (Darling-Hammond, Berry, Haselkorn, and Fideler, 1999, p. 208).
There are three policy areas related to teacher recruitment: school-university partnerships, recruiting teachers for hard-to-staff subjects and schools, and using two-year colleges. There are several advantages of school-university partnerships. They can enhance pre-collegiate recruitment efforts by providing secondary students with early opportunities to engage in teaching experiences and take courses aimed at understanding the profession. They can also provide opportunities for paid internships and early employment as well as signing bonuses for agreeing to teach in hard-to-staff areas or schools. School-university partnerships have been found to be successful in recruiting new teachers into the profession, particularly recruitment into hard-to-staff subjects and schools. These partnerships make it possible to use incentives such as scholarships and forgivable loans. These incentives encourage students to attend college and, specifically, to enter teacher preparation programmes. Two-year colleges (for example, community colleges, technical colleges) can be important players in the recruitment-preparation sequence. For the sequence to be operative, however, there must be clear articulation agreements between programmes at two-year colleges and teacher preparation programmes at four-year universities. These agreements allow for smoother transitions for students and help the programmes fit together more seamlessly.
American Council on Education (1999); Bolam (1995); Bristor, Kinzer, Lapp, & Ridener
Effective teacher preparation programmes, both traditional and alternative, must include high standards for entry and require strong content preparation, substantial pedagogical training, and supervised clinical experiences in schools.
There is great diversity in teacher preparation programmes internationally
depending in large part on the economic, political, and social contexts that
exist within each country. In countries such as
There are four components of teacher preparation programmes that
contribute to their effectiveness. The first is the existence of high standards
for entry. Over the past two decades, there have been increases in the entry-level
qualifications of students enrolling in teacher education programmes, both in
terms of undergraduate grade point average and standardized test scores. The
second and third components of effective teacher education programmes are
strong content (subject matter) preparation and substantial pedagogical
training. Heated debates have occurred as to the relative importance of these
two areas, but essentially both are keys to effective preparation. In terms of
content preparation, most researchers believe in the importance of solid
subject matter knowledge. However, the idea that more content is better is not
always necessarily true. Rather, there may be a point after which additional
content courses produce minimal value. What seems to be needed is not necessarily
more content preparation but rather having sufficient knowledge of content to
teach it well. In addition, teachers need to know how to organize and present
the content in a way that makes it accessible for increasingly diverse groups
of learners. Shulman (1987) calls this knowledge,
“pedagogical content knowledge.” The link between content and pedagogical
knowledge shapes teachers’ decisions about materials, instructional approaches,
and assessment. In addition to pedagogical content knowledge, teachers must
possess general pedagogical knowledge, including competencies in the areas of
classroom management and discipline. To ensure that subject matter expertise
and pedagogical expertise receive sufficient emphasis, many programmes in the
High standards of quality for teacher preparation programmes are the key to preparing high quality teachers for our schools. Although teacher shortages require implementation of a variety of recruiting strategies, it is essential that all teacher preparation programmes contain high entry standards, a combination of subject matter preparation and pedagogical training, and a long term, supervised clinical practicum. Additionally, more research is needed on efforts to combine subject matter and pedagogical preparation by having teachers in various university departments work together to enhance teacher development. Quality teacher preparation is not the sole responsibility of Colleges of Education; faculty in a variety of departments throughout the university must be involved.
Allen (2003); American Council on Education (1999); Ben-Peretz (1995); Bristor, Kinzer, Lapp, & Ridener (2002); Cobb (1999); Coleman & DeBey (2000); Darling- Hammond (2000); Darling-Hammond (1997); Galluzzo & Arends (1989); Jarrar (2002); Kolstad, Coker, & Kolstad (1996); Morris & Williamson (2000); Shulman (1987); Wilson, Floden, & Ferrini-Mundy (2001); Hanushek and Rivkin (2004).
Teachers are primarily attracted to teaching by intrinsic motivation, but extrinsic factors play a major role in retaining them.
With the exception of the United Kingdom and the United States, where
from 30 to 50 percent of teachers leave within the first three to fi ve years, overall attrition
rates in many other developed countries are low to negligible: Germany (less
than 5 percent); France (insignificant); Hong Kong SAR (less than 10 percent);
Australia (18 percent for female teachers in the age group 25-29 years of age;
only data available); and Portugal (insignificant). Because the student
population in some of these countries (
Most teachers choose to enter teaching because they believe that
teaching is important work and contributes significantly to society. An
overwhelming majority of new teachers in the
While policy efforts are often directed to the supply side of the equation, school staffing problems are primarily the result of the demand created by teachers leaving for reasons other than retirement. Since the primary cause of teacher turnover seems to be due to poor or difficult working conditions, changing the culture of schools should be the primary target of policy efforts. This cultural change would involve the creation of learning communities – schools that are learner-centered, assessment-centered, knowledge-centered, and community-centered. Schools should be places that support learning by teachers, as well as students. According to Ingersoll (2001), cultural change would “contribute to lower rates of turnover, thus diminish school staffing problems, and ultimately aid the performance of schools.”
Darling-Hammond & Sclan
INDUCTION AND MENTORING PROGRAMMES
Induction support, including well designed mentoring programmes, can improve retention rates for new teachers.
International interest in teacher induction has existed since the 1960s,
but only in a relatively few countries. Research conducted since the 1980s has
focused on five areas: (a) mentors for novice teachers; (b) release time for
both novices and mentors; (c) planned, schoolbased support
activities; (d) planned, external support activities; and (e) increased
administrative support. In general, when retention is a greater problem,
induction receives greater emphasis.
One approach to stemming the high attrition rates in teaching is to redefine novice teacher needs. Consistent with recent research, the fi rst years of teaching need to be viewed as a phase of learning that follows and builds on the learning that occurred prior to entry into the profession. If teachers receive no support during this time, one of two outcomes typically occurs. First, the teacher may leave the profession (attrition) or transfer to other schools in search of support (migration). Second, the teacher may stay in the profession but learn poor practices in an attempt to cope with his or her struggles. Although novice teachers indicate that induction support is important in their development as teachers, there is a great deal of disparity in terms of both the quality and accessibility of induction programmes found in schools. Three reasons can be given for this variability.
• The criteria for participation in mentoring programmes are variable, especially in situations where the programmes are not adequately funded.
• The criteria for the qualifications and support of mentors are also diverse, resulting in a wide variety of expertise.
• The structure of mentoring programmes is varied and is rarely set up in such a way as to be most accessible and convenient for novices or their mentors.
Effective induction programmes must address these areas if they are to meet novice teachers’ needs and improve retention rates. Rather than focus on “fix-it” approaches to specific problems (for example, classroom management), effective induction programmes should focus on the subject-specific pedagogical strategies needed by novice teachers to promote and foster student learning. Improving instruction and student learning often proactively addresses the classroom management issues experienced by many new teachers. To focus on such pedagogical issues with novice teachers, mentoring programmes need to be structured to accommodate professional discourse. Mentors need to be selected based on high quality standards and trained to analyze and evaluate instruction effectively and conduct discussions about their findings with novices. Effective mentor programmes also include common planning time for mentors and novices as well as release time available to both teachers so that each can observe in the other’s classroom. Finally, incentives should be provided to mentors in an effort to encourage high quality teachers to participate in the programme. Mentor programmes that provide incentives for attracting mentors and for quality mentor training tend to be more effective. High quality induction programmes are effective in providing the support needed by novice teachers during their first years of teaching. Novice teachers indicate that where such programmes are supported and financed, the guidance offered them has increased the likelihood that they will remain in teaching.
It takes several years to become an effective teacher. Unfortunately, many novice teachers leave the profession much too early. The following recommendations are intended to change this pattern. The first is funding research on models of developmentally staged supervision and induction. Support for teachers that enables them to move along the developmental continuum is also important. The second is funding the development of effective mentor/induction programmes and quality assessments of these programmes. Because student learning is the ultimate goal of classroom instruction, the assessment of mentoring programmes must include the monitoring of student learning. When funding for induction programmes is on a par with that provided for recruitment of new teachers, both teachers and the educational system benefit. The time, effort, and money necessary to mentor novice teachers are substantial. Fortunately, the rewards in terms of teacher retention are also substantial. Investing in the short term yields long-term payoffs in terms of higher quality teachers who remain in the profession longer.
Bolam (1995); Darling-Hammond (2003); Darling- Hammond (1997); Darling-Hammond, Berry, Haselkorn, & Fideler (1999); Darling-Hammond & Sclan (1996);Feiman-Nemser (2003); Gold (1996); Hirsch, Koppich, & Knapp (2001); Ingersoll (2001a,b); Ingersoll & Smith (2003); Morris & Williamson (2000).
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Prof. James M. Cooper,Professor Emeritus from the
Dr. (Ms.) Amy Alvarado, Assistant Professor at the