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Beginning Teacher Induction & Mentoring

For decades, education commentators and reformers have called attention to the challenges encountered by new teachers. Traditionally, elementary and secondary school teachers have been left to succeed or fail on their own in the classroom, a situation that teachers have often described as a “lost at sea” or “sink or swim” experience. As a result, school districts throughout the country have in recent decades instituted support programs for new teachers, a practice known as induction.

In 2002 Professor Ingersoll began research to examine the problems encountered by new teachers, including rates of attrition and the reasons for it, how many new teachers receive support, what kinds of induction they receive, and finally, whether these supports help retain teachers, improve their instruction, and boost their students’ achievement.

He summarized his initial research in two publications (co-authored with Thomas Smith), including a 2004 article in the American Educational Research Journal. These two publications have been cited almost 4,000 times and downloaded more than 31,000 times from the University of Pennsylvania’s Scholarly Commons website.

A 2011 review article (co-authored with Michael Strong) in the Review of Educational Research provided policymakers, educators, and researchers with a reliable assessment of what is known, and not known, about the effectiveness of beginning-teacher induction and mentoring programs. This article has been cited almost 2,000 times and downloaded more than 52,000 times from the University of Pennsylvania’s Scholarly Commons website.

The findings from this research have been featured in reports from organizations such as the Alliance for Excellence in Education, and the work has garnered widespread interest from school leaders and local, state, and federal legislative and policymaking groups.


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