Teacher Induction: Supporting the supporters of novice teachers in Europe (TISSNTE) Teacher Induction: Supporting the supporters of novice teachers in Europe (TISSNTE)

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
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1 Across Europe the issue of the quality of teaching on pupil attainment has assumed an increasing importance in maintaining a developing and competing economy. There have been a variety of initiatives instigated both at national and European levels focussing on the competence of teachers and ways to improve their practice. Much of this has concentrated on the production of explicit indicators for teacher quality, in terms of competence, standards, learning goals or key qualification. The content and format of initial training is undergoing change and the importance of career-long updating and development for practising teachers has been recognised. In many countries practising teachers have become increasingly involved in the training of new entrants to the profession. To support this movement the European Commission has developed a common European Framework for teacher competences and qualifications. The peer learning cluster on teacher and training quality currently being formed should add to this. 'Teachers Matter' (OECD 2005) highlights the definition of clear teacher profiles and also stresses the need for more attention to be given to the needs of those beginning their careers in the profession. We as European educators seek to support this.
However these measures leave a number of areas still to be addressed at national and, importantly if reciprocity and mobility of teachers across boundaries is to be facilitated, European levels.
Included in these are:

  • How these aims are to be achieved in the school and the classroom
  • How a common level of parity across Europe is to be worked towards
  • What form support for teachers should take
  • By whom and where this support should be provided.

Not withstanding Community efforts most strategies to date have been restricted to action at the national level or to policy groups such as in the Commission, ENTEP or OECD. In this project we aim to facilitate cross European debate and action through the practical engagement of teachers in their schools and classrooms with a focus on one particular target group. This group is those responsible for supporting new teachers as they take up a post in school and through the first 2 years of their teaching career. This document will refer to these people as 'mentors'.

2 The ultimate aim of this proposal is to develop a five-day intensive programme for 'mentors', this includes teachers in schools who have the task of inducting new teachers. The mentors will be involved in actively identifying and exploring their own needs and their role in the novice teachers induction period as well as in considering and evaluating the various strategies and materials currently available to them to support their role in schools. This will result in an increase in their knowledge about the qualities, skills and practices involved in supporting beginning teachers.
The specific objectives of this proposal is to make mentors:

  • more aware of their needs and responsibilities
  • more able to articulate novice teachers needs
  • aware of how to make novice teachers develop their professional profile
  • more aware of their rights for a special training and support as mentors
  • familiar with the use of tools and materials developed for their training
  • more aware of similarities and differences across Europe
  • more aware of the range of novice teachers support strategies available
  • able to analyse and adapt the existing and newly developed approaches and strategies for supporting novice teachers
  • make them sensitive of their pedagogical, social, emotional, managerial, organizational and communicative supporting skills and train them in those skills
  • able to analyse situation and give advice on special needs pupils (gifted, minority, immigrants )
  • aware of where to find answers to behavioral/psychological aspects
  • aware of where to find subject knowledge update
  • more philosophical, with greater awareness of why they do what they do
  • through their increased skills able to foster more confident, effective and committed beginning teachers
  • generate a positive attitude to life-long learning.

3 The proposed project has several innovative features:

  • There is no common approach to supporting mentors - this project will provide a framework.
The project is innovative in that:
  • professional development courses focussing on mentors as agents of professional change in the induction period of novice teachers are not common
  • it adopts an interdisciplinary approach and provides opportunities to integrate multifaceted aspects of teachers? professional activities
  • it works in an organizational context with perspectives of the individual and organisation
  • the needs analysis involves active reflection on the personal role and national situation of each participant, with strengthened impact in an international co-operation
  • the course is based on different kinds of expertise of those involved in university teacher education, school/classroom teaching, supervision, etc.
  • the course bridges the gap between the university education and full engagement in teaching at school setting what novice teachers are facing
  • ICT is used as a vehicle and means of material and expertise dissemination, as well as a means to create a learning community of mentors
  • The project adopts an exemplary approach; it serves as an example for participants in using the materials in their own situations and contexts.

4 Several pedagogical and didactical approaches will be used in the intensive course and the materials used pre- and post-intensive course.
The course will require active involvement both individually and as a member of changing collaborative groups. Understanding will be developed through strong participation in group work and experiential learning both formal and informal. Reflection will be an integral part of the experience. This learning process for mentors will be further enhanced by the employment of distance learning techniques (e.g. e-portfolios, email chat rooms, e-learning), the pedagogy is one of blended learning.

5 Target groups:

  • Those responsible for supporting novice teachers in school are the target of the project. This includes teachers in schools with the duty of caring for new teachers, teacher educators and those responsible for the support and formulation of policy for novice teachers and their induction. Henceforth all of these groups will be referred to as 'mentors'.
The project will impact on mentors in the following ways:
  • make them aware and able to evaluate the effectiveness of current knowledge of where mentoring exists and of support provision for 'mentors'
  • enhance their understanding of skills in mentoring through participation in the programme
  • make able to identify their areas of need in the support of new teachers
  • develop their skills in mentoring
  • inform decision and policy makers across Europe of the significance of mentoring to quality enhancement in schools
  • ensure the development of novice teachers.

6 Since there is no common cross-Europe experience of formulating and providing support for mentors of novice teachers, examples of strategies presently used must be collected, analysed and evaluated. Further research and development is necessary in the area of assessing need, formulating tools, applying these and as a result of trial and evaluation producing the finished course. It is therefore necessary to develop, test and then run a pilot, including evaluative research on the learning outcomes of this pilot, before the enhanced course is made available to others. Because of this a period of 3 years is necessary for the full development of the intensive course.


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