Better educational policies for better immersion and progression in the teaching career

POLICY BRIEF on the landscapes of education systems: challenges and opportunities for a new approach to the teaching career

The LOOP project aims to contribute to the improvement of the teaching career by rethinking its structure and progression options as well as to empower teachers to know how to enhance their professional development.

The LOOP document published here contains an analysis of teaching careers in the different consortium countries (Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Germany, Greece and Slovenia), and a characterisation of formal and informal teacher induction practices as well as teacher mentoring programmes.

In most European countries, teachers experience great professional instability, face increasingly challenging audiences, complain about lack of resources and recognition, as well as excessive tasks, many of them of administrative nature. On the other hand, there is a small number of young teachers (under 30 constitute around 10% of the teaching population, on average in OECD countries) who express interest in the profession.

The Policy Brief outlines a set of recommendations, signed off by the LOOP Policy-Working Group, which is intended as a roadmap along a new structure for the teaching career. The ambition is to enable it to become a reference in the design of new educational policies and their permanent updating in a society characterised by constant dynamism. The Policy-Working Group, created within the framework of the project, is a body that guarantees the successive adaptation of LOOP’s results to the interests of its target groups. The majority of its members are public authorities, researchers and partners with strong experience in experimentation and evaluation of the impact of new educational policies.

In this first Policy Brief, a proposal is made to review the teaching careers in the different countries of the partnership, with a view to valuing them and effectively increasing their attractiveness at a time when there are serious difficulties in finding new teaching professionals.

One of the recommendations identified in this publication concerns the urgent provision of support to teachers who are at the beginning of their professional activities, through the possibility of applying for a structured induction programme, supported by more experienced peers, benefiting, for this, from specific training and a decrease of the working hours.

Thus, it is urgent to retain and motivate new professionals by reconsidering the support provided to teachers, through access to an induction programme supported by mentoring, provided by experienced teachers, from the same school or subject group. It is also recommended that these mentors are trained to adopt a collaborative and constructive attitude in different dimensions of the teaching professional activity, such as bureaucratic-administrative, affective-emotional, sociocultural and didactic-pedagogical.

Thus, it is understood that it is imperative to create new career opportunities, through the valorisation of pedagogical functions of special importance, including those that can be performed by teacher mentors, with benefits at the level of their progression and the right to a shorter working hours adapted to their functions.

Find the full report here: https://empowering-teachers.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Policy_brief_1_D4.1_10052.pdf

LOOP project works for you with you: Co design Sessions in Portugal

The Induction Programme for new teachers and the Mentor Capacity Programme developed in the scope of the LOOP project – Empowering teacher’s personal, professional and social continuous development through innovative peer-induction programmes are in the final design phase and during the summer will be ready to be tested during the 2022/2023 school year in Portugal, Greece, Spain, Slovenia, Germany, Italy and Croatia.

On the 6th of June 2022, it took place in Portugal, at the DGAE premises, the co-design sessions that joint the efforts between DGAE, INOVA+ and Casa do Professor with professionals that are working in the field, namely 30 teachers (new and experienced), as well as 14 headmasters, to respond to their expectations and ambitions regarding the progress in the teaching career.

In Portugal, it is expected to have the Accreditation of the Mentor Capacity Programme so that experienced teachers besides the access to new knowledge and improve their skills can benefit from credits for career progression. It will start in November 2022 in a b-learning format.

The Portuguese teachers are aware that the pilot of the Induction Programme for new teachers will start in January 2023 with an experimental and a control group that will play a key role for 6 months to validate the tools and the structure of the programme. However, during the first term of the school year, new teachers will participate in workshops to familiarise themselves with the programme.

We are now finalizing both programmes to prepare the ground for the piloting after the summer break. Teachers and headmasters are aware that they need to have considerable time to dedicate to the LOOP activities during the whole school year.

LOOP is getting support by Public Authorities: Ministry of Science and Education of Croatia involved with LOOP Project 

We are happy to announce that LOOP project is gaining support by Public Authorities outside the partnership. This milestone is achieved through the Croatian public authorities, and more specifically the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education. 

The support of the Croatian Ministry comes in the form of appointing contact persons and representatives, who were actively involved in project outputs. More specifically, a contact person was appointed from the Directorate for Support and Improvement of the Education System – Service for European Union Programs and Projects, who contributed to the first Work Package by providing feedback and offering additional resources. Ministry representatives were also in attendance in the project’s 2nd Transnational Meeting in the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, as well as in the Policy Making Workshop. Those experienced professionals offered an objective perspective and expert knowledge on induction programmes based on mentoring, as well as suggestions for improvement based on their own experience from Croatia’s national educational system.  

The involvement of the highest national body related to the project’s topic is undoubtedly an achievement of high importance that will help LOOP not only to better disseminate the project’s results, but also to achieve higher quality outputs with even bigger impact. 

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The National Report of Slovenia is published.

According to the National report of Slovenia, the majority of teachers who took part in the survey, replied that they participated in some form of an induction programme when they started their professional careers, while also receiving help from more experienced mentors or colleagues. The induction programmes were more focused on the pedagogical and didactical aspects of the teaching profession rather than the knowledge on the professional field. Inexperienced teachers highlighted the practical exchanges with their more experienced colleagues which was the most helpful aspect of the programme. On the other hand, emotional and socio-cultural aspects are briefly addressed, while the administrative duties were not addressed in a mention-worthy extent.

Find the full national report here.

The National Report of Germany is published.

According to the National report of Germany, head teachers and experienced teachers mentioned they felt that they were not well prepared in their initial training on the didactic-pedagogical level. According to this research, new teachers need support in class management, teaching methods and sharing experiences and knowledge on specific subjects. For this matter, a mentorship program is important, even though the interviewed teachers do not consider mentoring full time, because mentoring will disconnect them from their practice and their colleagues.

Find the full national report here.

The National Report of Spain is published

According to the National report of Spain, novice teachers find it essential that mentoring should be carried out by practicing teachers who combine mentoring with regular teaching practice. For experienced teachers and school principals, it is important that mentors have a specific motivation. An interesting aspect is also highlighted, which is the possibility of having recently retired teachers who have a great teaching background as mentors. The mentoring programme would receive great benefit from the wisdom and experience of this group. 

Find the full national report here

The National Report of Portugal is published.

According to the National report of Portugal, most teachers were open to different types of activities to in include in a formal induction programme such as: implementing regular one to one meetings with a mentor and participation in workshops provided by experienced teachers. On the other hand, experienced teachers mentioned that in order to be a mentor an individual should be personally, socially and politically motivated. The majority of experienced teachers stated they would need to receive training to be a mentor.

Find the full national report here.

The National Report of Italy is published.

According to the National report of Italy, new teachers suffered a major shock when they took on a role in the education system. For this matter, a training courses has been developed with a series of actions to support this training process. The actions among others are: the face-to-face training activities and workshops, observation in classrooms by the mentors and professional re-elaboration. New teachers also express the need to receive more information from the bureaucratic and administrative points of view.

Find the full national report here.

The first year press release is out

Introducing LOOP: A project for empowering teachers personal, professional and social continuous development through innovative peer-induction programmes

LOOP is a policy experimentation project that aims to contribute to the shift towards a comprehensive teaching profession policy that spans all stages of the teachers’ professional careers namely by:

  • Structuring a peer-learning induction programme based on mentoring, to support the initiation of the teaching profession and adapting to a new workplace culture.
  • Creating a mentors’ programme for the development of competences to guide and support new teachers during the implementation of the induction programme.
  • Testing and validating the induction and mentoring programmes in the schools of the LOOP network.
  • Preparing policy recommendations for the integration of induction and mentoring programmes into the national policies and frameworks of teachers’ continuous professional development.

LOOPs implementation started in March 2020 under the coordination of INOVA+ from Portugal and the Directorate General School Management (Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science For the development of the results, 3 Public authorities in the educational sector, along with 6 Universities and 4 research Organisations  from 7 European countries (Portugal, Spain, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Germany) are collaborating to contribute to improving teaching careers paths, in terms of rethinking career structure and guidance and also how to empower teachers to better navigate throughout the career system, creating opportunities to promote excellence in teaching at all levels, by continuing to support the professional development, causing an increase in the quality of the profession and the level of attractiveness.

Last year was dedicated to the immersion into the project topics through a detailed research phase of nearly 10 months that included desk research and fieldwork such as surveys, interviews, and focus groups with school leaders and teachers (experience and recent). Around 850 participants from the 7 countries have been involved in the identification of their needs for better personal, professional and social development. The background analysis complemented  with a catalogue of good practices will be soon available on our website and will prepare the soil for the development of the induction and mentoring programmes. 

The preliminary results of the desk and field research were presented in the second transnational project meeting (14th- 15th of December 2021) hosted by the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. The meeting was the first to be held face to face and the partners actually met each other after 10 months of working on this project. 

During the meeting a Policy Matching Workshop took place with the participation of representatives of the public authorities from Portugal, Slovenia, Greece, Spain, Croatia, and Italy and two Teachers Word Café were organised, one with Portuguese teachers online and one with Slovenian Teachers, focusing on how the induction programmes can be adopted and put in practice. 

We invite you to take part in the LOOP project and be a member of our Network, which already counts over 100 members in Europe. Our members will have the opportunity to take part in the field research activities, in the co-design sessions for the teachers’ induction programme and the mentors’ capacitation programme and participate in the field trials experimentation phase acting as first users of the new policy tools for teachers‘ career.

Join our network by submitting a registration form here and be a driver for the transformation of the teaching profession and its policy for all stages of the teaching career.  

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