Safe Passages: Providing Online Support to Beginning Teachers
In this article, the authors describe the design, implementation, and outcomes of an online support community for beginning teachers, called the Lighthouse project. The goal was to investigate the use of online collaborative consultation in providing social, emotional, practical, and professional support to beginning teachers. Group members included 12 first-year teachers, 4 experienced teachers, and 8 teacher education faculty members. Types of issues discussed and the impact of the support community on beginning teachers were examined using three data sources: messages generated by participants, follow-up phone interviews, and an online survey. Qualitative and quantitative results indicated online discussions provided teachers with the opportunity to clarify their thinking about complex educational issues and make more informed decisions about their professional practice. In addition, the project provided beginning teachers with increased emotional support, decreased feelings of isolation, increased confidence, more enthusiasm for work, increased reflection, ability to adopt a more critical perspective, and improved problem-solving skills.
Dewert, MH; Babinski, LM; Jones, BD
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