Mentorship – internationally valued guidance for new teachers
NQT-COME is an international Nordplus Horizontal project (2009-2012) launched by NQTNE network with the aim of promoting professional learning of newly qualified teachers in their induction phase. The project team is proud of the international cooperation between educational experts, policy makers and stakeholders developing better practices for induction of new teachers in the Nordic and Baltic countries.
The project focuses on sharing research based evidence and best practices of mentoring in Nordic and Baltic countries. Parallel to the research, series of seminars, workshops and conferences have been held by the project network in all participating countries. The partners of the project are teacher education institutions, educational research institutes, teacher unions and municipalities from Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
The need to support new teachers is a global challenge. Despite the growing efforts to support early career teachers, the problems in the induction phase have led to increasing numbers of young teachers quitting the job in many countries. The national solutions to handle this problem seem to have many similarities but also differences, due to the special features of the societies and the educational culture. In many cases the support for new teachers is almost synonymous to the concept of mentoring including one-to-one mentoring, peer mentoring and group mentoring. However, there are various understandings of the concepts, activities, actions and relationships between people and organisations connected to new teachers. These are some of the factors that are being researched, compared and discussed during the seminars and workshops of NQT-COME project.
The participating organisations find that learning and professional development of teachers should be seen as a continuing process combining formal, non-formal and informal learning throughout the career which takes place in a specific setting of educational culture and practice and is constituted in a special way. It is impossible to think that the best way to support new teachers is the same all around the world but it is relevant to know and learn from the alternative ways of supporting new teachers and through that in each country provide the best possible support for the beginning of their professional careers. And in this point NQT-COME project helps us to gain better understanding.
Text: Anne Hütt, Archimedes Foundation
(based on an article by Mari Kerde, Coordinator of International Cooperation, Tallinn University Haapsalu College)