Members of staff joining a school of education often have extensive experience in practice but not in academia and the university setting may present a complex diversity of roles, ways of working, values and goals. Colleagues may face issues of understanding the organisational structure and culture, changing identities, and concerns about their academic reading and writing abilities. This paper presents a study designed to examine the efficacy of a personalised needs-led self-study group approach to induction for experienced professionals joining a University School of Education. The approach was new to both current staff members and the four early academic staff, most of whom were teacher educators. In group sessions new colleagues had space for dialogue and story-telling based on their experiences, and created visual images for reflection and discussion with group members. Progressive group activities included presentations at local and international conferences, and academic writing.
The purpose of the research reported here was to examine the efficacy of the self-study group as part of an induction process; exploring the developing professional identity of the new staff, the role of the group, and the effects of collecting visual research data for reflection and analysis of personal and group themes. New colleagues prepared a reflective account of their experiences of the group and their developing professional identity, took part in an evaluation workshop, and responded to questions on the longer term impact of the group. Outcomes of the group process included participants' increased confidence to work in the context of complexity, and the ability to embrace their changing identities. A self-study group process can help facilitate the development of the professionals needed to work in the dynamic context of the university of today and is likely to have implications for a range of organisational settings.
& Solly, D.
A Personalised Needs-Led Group Approach to Induction: Perceptions of Early Academics in a University School of Education.
Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 37(11).