Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


In battle against teacher turnover, MSU mentoring program proves effective

Beginning teachers in urban school districts quit at an alarming rate – often from lack of support – and Michigan State University education experts are targeting the problem with an innovative mentoring program.

The research-based initiative already has proven successful in the Lansing School District, based on a new study, and now is being replicated at a much larger district in Atlanta. It could ultimately serve as a national model.

A major component involves freeing up veteran teachers to advise their beginning peers throughout the school year. It’s a huge commitment – the Fulton County School System has released seven teachers from the classroom to act as full-time mentors – but holds promise for districts struggling to raise teacher quality and keep new teachers from becoming frustrated and leaving for another system.

Previous research has shown that nearly 50 percent of new teachers leave within five years and student achievement often suffers as a result.

“We call it the revolving door,” said Randi Stanulis, MSU associate professor of education and director of the program.

A study by Stanulis and Robert Floden, University Distinguished Professor and associate dean for research in MSU’s College of Education, found the mentoring program improved teacher effectiveness in the Lansing district when it was tested there during the 2005-06 school year. The findings are published in the March/April edition of the Journal of Teacher Education.

Stanulis said many school districts’ mentoring, or induction, programs are ineffective because the mentors are poorly chosen and not trained properly. This is typical in states such as Michigan that have an unfunded mandate requiring each beginning teacher to have a mentor. Often, the mentor simply becomes a “buddy” – available for advice and explaining school procedures but rarely observing or providing feedback about teaching and learning.

Through the MSU program, which is funded by the Carnegie Foundation’s Teachers for a New Era, veteran teachers are recruited and interviewed for mentor positions. They are matched with beginning teachers based on teaching responsibilities related to content and grade level. The mentors are continually trained throughout the school year.

Some mentors are then trained as coaches – meaning they can train mentors themselves and eventually make the program self-sufficient within the school system.

Stanulis said effective mentoring can create better novice teachers, improve student performance and potentially curb high teacher turnover.

“It’s not that first-year teachers are unqualified,” she said. “You wouldn’t take a student who just graduated from medical school and have him perform surgery the next day. But that’s what we do with teachers: They graduate in May and in August they’re expected to do the same thing as someone who’s been teaching 10 years.”

In Fulton County, as in many large districts, teacher turnover remains a problem. The school system loses about 1,000 teachers a year – or about 10 percent of its instructional work force, according to Tawana Miller, the system’s director of Title I and school improvement. Miller worked closely with the MSU team to implement the mentoring program in the Fulton County School System this year.

“Many new teachers are placed in an environment where it’s a do-or-die, sink-or-swim situation,” said Miller, who explains that she has “battle scars” from her first few years as a teacher in Fulton County. “It’s almost an impossible task.”

Randi Stanulis | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: County School System Education MSU mentoring program teacher turnover

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>