Brock researchers develop new plan to teach the teachers

The Campaign for a Bold New Brock

Brock researchers develop new plan to teach the teachers

Sept. 2, 2009

New teachers in six local school boards will start their jobs this fall with a tool to help them better navigate the classroom.

Brock University and the Ontario College of Teachers, in collaboration with six southern Ontario school boards, have developed a resource kit for new teachers and their mentors based on professional dialogue, critical reflection, and case-based inquiry.

With Learning from Experience: Supporting Beginning Teachers and Mentors, new teachers are guided through sessions where they can express individual concerns, and mentors can answer with accounts from their own careers. Sessions will focus on challenges with students’ needs, time management and other new teacher hurdles.

The new method has teachers meeting in small groups, rather than the large, impersonal sessions of old, said Lorenzo Cherubini, an associate professor in Brock’s Faculty of Education.

“Traditionally, professional development is one of those things where you attend a meeting, get a binder, shelve it and that was the end,” he said. “This gives new teachers a voice to articulate what they need and empower them to improve their practice in the name of improving student learning.”

The kit is the result of three years of study. Teachers from the Grand Erie District School Board, Halton District School Board, Halton Catholic District School Board, Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, the District School Board of Niagara and the Niagara Catholic District School Board met at Brock over a school year, where beginning and mentor teachers discussed their needs and shared their experiences when it came to new teacher induction.

Researchers hope the kit will be used across the province, Cherubini said. The five-booklet package can be used in sessions with beginning teachers, mentors or in joint sessions.

“This project provided the opportunity to use teachers’ lived experiences as valuable resources for supporting ongoing professional learning,” sad Deirdre Smith of the Ontario College of Teachers, a co-lead on the project.

The Learning from Experience resource kit is available on Brock’s Faculty of Education website in both English and French: