Induction of Teachers in the English Speaking Caribbean

Induction of Teachers in the English Speaking Caribbean

Ruth Baker-Gardner (University of the West Indies, Jamaica)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0204-3.ch025
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Abstract

This chapter examines the implementation of teacher induction programs to assist new teachers in the Anglophone Caribbean who, like their counterparts in other parts of the world, face a steep learning curve in the first five years of employment. The programs are part of a wider regional thrust to improve academic performance, and they are as varied as the territories in which they exist. A description of the programs implemented in each territory is presented. Information for the description was garnered directly from the ministries of education of each territory and also from their websites. This is followed by a summary of the findings of the research on induction available from Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Belize. It was discovered that all territories have implemented some form of induction program, and that these programs are beneficial to new teachers. The programs also have shortcomings which can be mitigated by the implementation of the recommendations proposed in the Draft Framework of Generic Teaching Performance and Academic Standards.
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Introduction

Teachers are the professionals vested with the responsibility of interpreting and delivering the curriculum to students daily. They are a critical element in the academic success of students who spend the better part of each academic year with them. Although most new teachers have been in training for a number of years before employment, they are in need of induction to effectively and efficiently ease into the profession. One of the recommendations presented to The Caribbean Community Task Force for Teacher Education (Mark, 2013) as part of its Draft Framework of Generic Teaching Performance Standards and Academic Standards states that teachers

who are on their first appointment, are considered to be interns …. Their professional development should be facilitated by providing them with … full and active participation in an induction program…. designed to engage the intern teacher in a variety of professional learning experiences that may include formal lectures, seminars and workshops, observation of teaching by experienced teachers, and supervised teaching practice. (p. 19)

Bruns, Luque and Moreno (2014) in concurring with the necessity of supporting new teachers in the Caribbean state that the English speaking territories which have induction programs are an exception considering that there are few countries in Latin America with formal induction programs to support new teachers.

In seeking to define the Caribbean, one has to carefully examine the many definitions that abound. Based on Girvan’s (2001) classification of the various definitions for this area, a socio-historical definition has been adopted for the geographical boundaries within which this discussion is situated. Girvan states among “scholars, ‘the Caribbean’ is a socio-historical category, commonly referring to a cultural zone characterised by the legacy of slavery and the plantation system. It embraces the islands and parts of the adjoining mainland” (p. 1).

This chapter focuses on the English speaking Caribbean territories considering that a shared historical background would result not only in a shared language, but in significant commonalities between the educational systems which have been influenced by the British colonial system. The English speaking islands were considered because of the on-going working relationships established between them facilitated through the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and other such regional integration attempts. The countries included in this discussion are the mainland territories of Guyana and Belize; the islands of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) member states which are: Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Anguilla, which is an associate member of the OECS is also included. The British Virgin Island is a member of the OECS, but was not included in this discussion. The map in Figure 1 shows the location of these territories.

Figure 1.

Map of the Caribbean showing the territories under discussion

Source: Interestingoceanfacts.weebly.com

Key Terms in this Chapter

New Teacher: A teacher who has been in the profession for less than four years.

Mentee: A new teacher who is engaged in a mentoring relationship.

Mentor: An experienced teacher who is providing support to a mentee in an institutionally recognised program.

Mentoring: Mentoring is the matching of the new teacher with a more experienced colleague or colleagues so that they can work together to simultaneously achieved developmental goals.

Induction: A comprehensive, systematic program of support provided for new teachers aimed at helping them to adjust to the demands of the profession, experience professional growth and contribute to students’ development.

CARICOM: The organisation comprising 15 Caribbean nations with a view to promoting economic integration among members.

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