Early Career Teachers

Mentoring, Development, Career Progression

Research Publications

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education Special Issue

Guest Co-Editors:

Benjamin KutsyurubaQueen’s University
Lorraine GoddenCarleton University

The role of mentorship and coaching in supporting the holistic well-being and ongoing development of educators

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 10.38.29 AMMentoring and coaching in education often have the dual aims of personal support and professional learning because the protégés are being helped to assimilate into new roles or responsibilities as well as to develop employment-related skills. The primary intended beneficiaries of the mentorship and coaching may be students, recently qualified or more experienced teachers, and instructors in schools, colleges, and university settings. However, there is limited research on the role of mentoring and coaching in supporting holistic well-being and ongoing development of educators at these various levels. Therefore, together with Dr. Lorraine Godden (Carleton University), we endeavoured to seek out research that explores the role that mentoring and coaching practices play in helping educational professionals attune to the importance of maintaining their own well-being and fostering the well-being among those they serve and with whom they work. Of particular interest for us was to learn how mentorship and coaching can support the well-being and mental health of educators who work under demanding conditions, often in complex and stressful environments, and how their well-being capacity can contribute to the well-being of their mentees/protégés/coachees, students, and colleagues. Furthermore, learning how educator well-being is supported through coaching and mentoring in different locales and diverse settings would help with understanding the specific, contextualized factors conducive to flourishing in educational institutions.

In this regard, we have guest co-edited a special issue of the International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education (IJMCE). Our aim was to examine potential benefits, challenges, and implications of mentorship and coaching as supportive structures for the well-being of educational professionals and students in a variety of educational contexts, including compulsory and post-compulsory educational settings. We also intended to contribute to and enhance the body of literature pertaining to the role of mentoring and coaching in supporting the holistic well-being and ongoing learning and development of educators and students.

We are enormously pleased by an overwhelming response to our call for papers to this special issue and we believe it provides a rich, deep, and fairly comprehensive picture of the connection between mentoring and coaching and well-being in the field of education. The special issue features 10 papers from across Canada, Malta, and the United States that examine the role of mentoring and coaching in supporting the well-being of educators and students in a variety of roles and contexts. The collection of articles in this issue addresses the notion of well-being of educators in different geographical locations and in a variety of educational contexts. The range of articles included here is indicative of a circle of support where at different levels of education, professionals are able (through mentoring and coaching) to support the development of others and to facilitate the well-being of peers, colleagues, and students. Our hope is that this special issue will serve as a guide for academics, policymakers, and practitioners in their quest to find answers about the benefits, challenges, and implications of using mentorship and coaching programs and initiatives to promote educator well-being and flourishing in their respective milieu.

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The impact of mentoring on the Canadian early career teachers’ well-being

Benjamin KutsyurubaQueen’s University, Kingston
John Bosica, Queen’s University
Lorraine GoddenCarleton University

 

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 10.50.30 AMThe purpose of this paper is to explore the impact that mentoring has on Canadian early career teachers’ (ECTs’) well-being. The authors describe findings from a pan-Canadian Teacher Induction Survey (n ¼ 1,343) that examined perceptions and experiences of ECTs within K–12 publicly funded schools, with particular interest in retention, career interests and the impact of mentoring on well-being. An online survey was used to examine perceptions and experiences of ECTs within publicly funded K–12 schools across Canada. For this paper, the authors selectively analyzed 35 survey questions that pertained to mentorship and well-being of ECTs, using quantitative and qualitative procedures. The findings revealed a strong correlation between the mentoring experiences and well-being of the participating Canadian ECTs. The teachers who did not receive mentorship indicated significantly lower feelings of well-being, and conversely, teachers who participated in some kind of mentorship demonstrated much higher levels of well-being. This paper draws on the selective analysis of the data from a larger study to elicit the connections between the mentoring support and perceived well-being. Due to inconsistencies in terminology and multifaceted offerings of induction and mentoring supports for ECTs across Canada, there might have been some ambiguity regarding the formal and informal mentorship supports. A longitudinal study that is designed to specifically examine the connection between the mentorship and well-being of ECTs could yield deeper understandings. A comparative study in different international contexts is commended.  The findings showed that the ECTs who did not receive any mentorship scored significantly lower feelings of well-being from external, structural, and internal well-being sources, and conversely, the ECTs who participated in some kind of mentorship scored much higher levels of feelings of well-being. Policy-makers should therefore continue to confidently include mentorship as an intentional strategy to support and help ECTs to flourish. However, inconsistent scoring between individuals and their levels of external, structural and internal well-being suggest that more research on the connection between mentoring and well-being of the ECTs. Work-life imbalance seems to be more challenging for ECTs than policymakers who provide these expectations are aware. Therefore, excessive work demands and intensive workloads need to be given proper attention for their potential negative effects (such as stress, burnout and absence) on the beginning teachers’ health and well-being. Likewise, purposeful strength-based approaches should be undertaken to establish generative and pro-social efforts to enhance the connectedness, collaboration, collegiality and resilience-building opportunities for novice professionals within flourishing learning communities. In this paper, the authors have undertaken the first steps in exploring the impact that mentoring has on Canadian ECTs’ well-being. The study increases the understanding of how mentoring can be used as a purposeful strategy to support the well-being of ECTs and retain them in the teaching profession in Canada and potentially in different international contexts.

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Contextual factors in early career teaching: A systematic review of international research on teacher induction and mentoring programs

Benjamin KutsyurubaQueen’s University
Keith D. WalkerUniversity of Saskatchewan
Lorraine GoddenCarleton University

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 10.57.24 AMEarly career teachers (ECTs) are situated in a dynamic contextual landscape that both influences their development and practice and dictates professional expectations for instruction and professional learning. This systematic review of international research literature sought to establish the understanding of teacher induction and mentoring program support of ECTs through the following research questions: 1) which nations and regions are represented in research literature that details formal or programmatic support of ECTs? 2) what international research evidence is there to describe various contextual factors that affect experiences of ECTs? and, 3) how do teacher induction and mentorship programs respond to the various contextual factors affecting ECTs? Upon detailing our review method and sampling procedures, we synthesize the convergences and divergences of the findings within each of the contextual factors. The conceptualization of contextual factors in this review included social, political, cultural, organizational, and personal forces that influence the professional practices of ECTs. Finally, we summarize the review findings in a heuristic model that offers a visual representation of the implications of our findings, and discuss the implications for policy, practice, and future research.

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Developing Resilience and Promoting Well-Being in Early Career Teaching: Advice from the Canadian Beginning Teachers

Benjamin KutsyurubaQueen’s University
Keith D. WalkerUniversity of Saskatchewan
Rebecca Stroud Stasel and Maha Al Makhamreh, Queen’s University

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Our multi-phase pan-Canadian research study examined the differential impact of teacher induction and mentorship programs on the retention of early-career teachers (ECTs). One of the research phases—interviews—explored the lived experiences of novice professionals during their first years of teaching as they dealt with requirements, expectations, and challenges. In this article, we describe the perceptions of the ECTs (N = 36) regarding their needs, hopes, and concerns in relation to developing resilience and promoting well-being for ECTs across Canada. Based on the phenomenological analysis of the data, four themes emerged: cultivating a work-life balance; nurturing a positive mindset; committing to reflective practices; and consulting, connecting, and collaborating with others. These ECTs, who sometimes thrived, and other times struggled, were able to articulate and contextualize their experiences and actions within high-demand environments of early career teaching, and provided useful insights for other ECTs’ resilience and well-being. This article concludes with implications for research, practice, and school leadership in the areas of teacher induction and mentoring.

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The Role of School Administrators in Providing Early Career Teachers’ Support: A Pan-Canadian Perspective

Benjamin KutsyurubaQueen’s University
Keith D. WalkerUniversity of Saskatchewan

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 11.12.53 AMThis article is based on an extensive mixed methods pan-Canadian study that examined the differential impact of teacher induction and mentorship programs on the retention of early career teachers (ECTs). It discusses the findings from the analysis of publicly available pan Canadian documents detailing the mandated roles, duties, and responsibilities of school administrators in teacher induction and mentorship. It then describes the results of the Teacher Induction Survey (N = 1,343) and the telephone interviews (N = 36) that elicited the perceptions of Canadian early career teachers regarding the school administrator’s role and engagement in effective teacher induction and mentoring programs.

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Attrition, Retention, and Development of Early Career Teachers: Pan-Canadian Narratives

Benjamin KutsyurubaQueen’s University
Keith D. WalkerUniversity of Saskatchewan
Maha Al Makhamreh & Rebecca Stroud Stasel, Queen’s University

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 11.13.02 AMOur pan-Canadian research study examined the differential impact of teacher induction and mentorship programs on the early career teachers’ retention. This article details the stories from our interview participants (N=36) in relation to what their lived experiences were during their first years of teaching and how they dealt with the requirements, expectations, and challenges. Their narratives were analyzed through the lenses of Early Career teacher attrition, retention, and development. Our findings showed that despite geographic, contextual and policy differences, there were striking similarities in teachers’ lived experiences and in the impact of these experiences on their decisions to stay or leave and predispositions towards personal and professional development as teachers.

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The Role of Trust in Developing Teacher Leaders Through Early-Career Induction and Mentoring Programs

Benjamin KutsyurubaQueen’s University
Keith D. WalkerUniversity of Saskatchewan

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In this conceptual paper, we analyze the role of trust in developing successful mentoring relationships within induction programs. As such, we emphasize the three domains, or tridimensionality, of trust, which pertain to trust shared between: (a) protégé and mentor, (b) mentor and school administrator, and(c) protégé and school administrator. We believe that establishing, maintaining, and sustaining collaborative and trusting relationships across these dimensions not only contribute to retention of teachers, but, more importantly, promote the development of teacher leadership among the neophyte educational professionals.

 

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Curbing early-career teacher attrition: A pan-Canadian document analysis of teacher induction and mentorship programs

Benjamin KutsyurubaQueen’s University
Lorraine Godden & Leigha Tregunna, Queen’s University

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Over the past two decades, the phenomenon of teachers abandoning the profession has been noted internationally, and has increasingly caught the attention of policy makers and educational leaders. Despite this awareness, no pan-Canadian statistics or comprehensive reviews are available. This paper reports on the exploratory, pan-Canadian document analysis study that examined a) the organization and mandates of teacher induction programs in each jurisdiction; b) the role of mentorship as an aspect of teacher induction programs; and c) the mandated roles, duties, and responsibilities of school administrators in teacher induction and mentorship processes in each jurisdiction

 

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Teacher induction and mentorship policies: The pan‐Canadian overview

Benjamin KutsyurubaQueen’s University

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The purpose of this exploratory article is to address the questions of teacher attrition and retention by examining the policies supporting beginning teachers in different jurisdictions (provinces and territories) in Canada through teacher induction and mentorship programs.

This research study relied on the collection of documents as the primary method of data collection. Both policy documents as means of external communication and the informal responses to formal policies by various stakeholders were analyzed in a complementary fashion in this study. The study examined numerous government documents, websites, program/policy memoranda, newsletters, as well as academic reviews pertaining to beginning teacher induction programs across Canada.

Data analysis revealed significant policy variability across the provinces and localities, with comprehensive induction programs instituted only by the educational authorities in New Brunswick, Ontario, and Northwest Territories. A fundamental building‐block of the induction programs was the creation of a formal mentoring program that matched experienced teachers with teachers who were new to the profession and/or to the province/territory.

Policy makers should consider the implementation of structured induction programs that successfully inculcate new teachers into school cultures and result in decreased teacher attrition and increased retention of beginning teachers. Mentoring is at the core of successful induction programs. Evident in all policy‐mandated induction programs under study was the importance of the school principal’s role in effective functioning of mentoring programs. This aspect of the principal’s role should be further examined and researched to understand the administrator role in the implementation and functioning of effective induction and mentoring programs for beginning teachers not only in Canada but worldwide.

In considering implementation of teacher induction programs, policymakers need to be aware that comprehensive, intensive support programs for new educators are both an effective and an efficient public investment. If mandated by policies at the macro levels as part of formal induction programs, mentoring programs have the potential to transform schools into collaborative places by establishing a culture of mentoring in schools.

Despite the perceived and actual benefits, government‐instituted induction programs for new teachers are not very common in Canada. While the discussions of such programs are certainly present in the educational literature, this exploratory pan‐Canadian review of induction and mentoring policies has the ability to inform provincial and territorial policymakers about the variability in institutionalizing those programs.

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