Education Beginning-Teacher Induction
Ruth Kane
  • LAST REVIEWED: 30 September 2013
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 September 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0077


Induction programs for beginning teachers have become favored policy initiatives in recent decades to enhance new teacher transition, socialization, retention, and quality. Evidence suggests that induction and mentoring positively affect teacher retention and can facilitate socialization of beginning teachers into the profession. In spite of their growing popularity, however, there is limited evidence of the degree to which current policy investment in induction programs adds value in terms of teacher professional learning, teacher quality, and student learning. The increasing attention given to induction programs for beginning teachers responds in part to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) claims that the quality of a beginning teacher’s experience in the early years is now recognized as crucial in the likelihood of a teacher leaving the profession. In most countries, the introduction of induction programs for beginning teachers has been in response to the high levels of attrition of teachers, especially in the first five years. In other jurisdictions, however (e.g., Canada), induction programs are introduced with the hope of supporting enhanced teacher quality and a seamless transition from preservice to in-service professional learning. Induction programs for beginning teachers typically provide them with an orientation to their school and access to mentoring and professional development. Recent developments in the research literature point to the critical importance of the role of the mentor in ensuring the development of new teachers. Research publications in the field of beginning-teacher induction include large-scale quantitative and mixed-method studies, reviews of the research, and smaller-scale in-depth case studies within particular contexts. The nature of induction, itself being a process taking place over time, means that many studies reported in the literature are longitudinal. A number of research studies report evidence of beginning-teacher induction positively affecting the socialization of beginning teachers into the profession and on their retention. The research literature shows that the focus of induction has changed since the turn of the 21st century, from a focus on supporting beginning teachers’ socialization into teaching to viewing the induction process as part of an ongoing continuum of teacher learning that calls for regular feedback and appraisal. The renewed focus on teacher learning is evidenced by researchers looking to advance understanding of teacher professional learning throughout a teacher’s career. There is less evidence, however, of researchers using student learning as a reference point for the impact of induction programs.

General Overviews

Induction typically comprises a comprehensive program for beginning teachers that includes some form of orientation, mentoring, and professional learning opportunities for beginning teachers. The objectives and actual forms of induction differ across contexts, and priorities have changed over the past several decades, which is evident collectively in these references. Feiman-Nemser, et al. 1999 provides general overviews of beginning-teacher induction, revealing a historical focus on socializing the beginning teacher into the profession, addressing attrition through situated learning, and conceptualizing induction as a formal program. Building on the work of Feiman-Nemser and colleagues, Britton, et al. 2003 provides detailed accounts of well-established induction systems across five different countries, which brings to the fore the diversity of policies, practices, and, perhaps more importantly, the assumptions underpinning the umbrella term “induction.” The authors build a case for induction not as a formal program of support but as a complex system of teacher learning that necessarily involves multiple participants. Building on the work of Britton and collaborators, Howe 2006 presents an analysis of leading induction programs internationally, arguing that these feature common elements that need to be attended to. Fransson and Gustafsson 2008 is an edited book that includes seven chapters representing the approaches to induction across a number of countries in Europe. The chapters do not focus on a single country but explore interesting themes arising within induction in Europe, including international cooperation, teacher registrations, mentoring, and new teachers’ experiences. Strong 2009 revisits the evidence from research on US induction and mentoring programs on retention, teacher effectiveness, and student achievement and gives direction for future investigations. Wang, et al. 2010 provides a comprehensive overview of induction in the United States, bringing together lead researchers in the field in an edited volume that explores different conceptualizations of induction and presents research cases on the impact of induction on beginning teachers, mentors, and students. With commentaries from leading researchers in the field, including Sharon Feiman-Nemser, Michael Strong, and Sharon Schwille, Wang, et al. 2010 reinforces Britton’s conceptualization of induction as a complex system with multiple participants that would benefit from multidimensional research approaches. Draper and O’Brien 2006 draws on the authors’ own research in Scotland to provide a critical account of the purpose, design, and management of induction programs for teachers, both new and experienced. In the early chapters of this book, Draper and O’Brien seek to elucidate “what is induction for?” and, in so doing, provide a historical account of the changing purposes of induction. A more current view of the complexity and efficacy of current induction systems is elucidated in Jensen, et al. 2012. The authors draw from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Teaching and Learning International Survey of twenty-three countries to illuminate the differences between new and experienced teachers. The importance of Jensen, et al. 2012 is that even though most new teachers were working in schools with mentoring or induction programs, they did not receive the regular feedback that can improve classroom teaching, which raises questions as to the efficacy of current induction approaches. Jensen and colleagues make explicit links between appraisal and feedback and teacher learning and thereby signal a potential shift in the focus of induction to the pivotal role of the mentor and the provision of regular and purposeful feedback to the beginning teacher.

  • Britton, Edward, Lynn Paine, David Pimm, and Senta Raizen, eds. 2003. Comprehensive teacher induction: Systems for early career learning. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-94-010-0133-5

    An account of induction systems in five international contexts: France, New Zealand, Switzerland, Shanghai, and Japan. A clear introduction articulates the goals of the case study, and a final chapter provides a cross-case analysis framed around four key questions. A very good resource for gaining an appreciation of the different approaches, models, and goals of induction in different countries.

  • Draper, Janet, and Jim O’Brien. 2006. Induction: Fostering career development at all stages. Policy and Practice in Education 16. Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic.

    This book is a concise introduction to the process of induction. It focuses on induction for beginning teachers as well as for experienced teachers as they experience different transition points in their careers. It brings together perspectives on the processes of induction from Scotland and other parts of the world.

  • Feiman-Nemser, Sharon, Sharon Schwille, Cindy Carver, and Brian Yusko. 1999. A conceptual review of literature on new teacher induction. Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement.

    This report by highly regarded researchers in the field of beginning-teacher development is an important stepping-off point for readers to understand the multiple meanings of beginning-teacher induction. The authors critically look at the process of induction and the ways in which it can be conceptualized as teacher socialization, situated learning, and a formal program.

  • Fransson, Göran, and Christina Gustafsson, eds. 2008. Newly qualified teachers in northern Europe: Comparative perspectives on promoting professional development. Lärarutbildningens Skriftserie/Högskolan i Gävle 4. Gävle, Sweden: Gävle Univ. Press.

    The chapters of this edited book can be read independently; however, the opening and closing chapters do provide a context and a concluding discussion, respectively, that highlight the key themes within the book.

  • Howe, Edward R. 2006. Exemplary teacher induction: An international review. Educational Philosophy and Theory 38.3: 287–297.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-5812.2006.00195.x

    This paper first provides a review of literature on teacher education and teacher development as a basis for examining the induction programs from a number of different countries, leading to arguments for elements that are common to and essential for effective induction. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

  • Jensen, Ben, Andres Sandoval-Hernandez, Steffen Knoll, and Eugenio J. Gonzalez. 2012. The experience of new teachers: Results from TALIS 2008. Paris: OECD.

    A concise report from the OECD that draws closer attention to ways in which beginning-teacher experiences differ from those of experienced teachers; in so doing, it raises questions as to the efficacy of current induction programs.

  • Strong, Michael. 2009. Effective teacher induction and mentoring: Assessing the evidence. New York: Teachers College, Columbia Univ.

    This book focuses on reviewing the evidence from studies of mentoring and induction programs in the United States. In particular, the author examines the influence of induction and mentoring programs on various teacher outcomes, such as retention, teaching practice, and possible effects on student learning.

  • Wang, Jian, Sandra J. Odell, and Renée T. Clift, eds. 2010. Past, present, and future research on teacher induction: An anthology for researchers, policy makers, and practitioners. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

    This comprehensive edited book focuses on mentoring and induction seen from a theoretical and a practical perspective and includes chapters from a number of leading researchers in beginning-teacher induction. An excellent reference to gain an understanding of the state of research in the field. Published in partnership with the Association of Teacher Educators.

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