Pathways to Participation for Preservice Teachers

Pathways to Participation for Preservice Teachers

What if new teachers entered the classroom already connected to a network of teacher mentors?   The bumpy road all new teachers travel during the first year of teaching suddenly becomes so much smoother when support and advice replace isolation and frustration.  Colleges of education can play an important role in exposing preservice teachers to a myriad of online communities that enable students to discover and build individual networks they can use as new teachers.

In a just released report, Pathways to Participation, Karen Collias examines how online networks help preservice and new teachers connect with in-service teachers, providing them with the knowledge, resources, mentoring, and general support necessary to succeed in the classroom.  The report, produced in collaboration with, builds a research-based case that supports preservice teacher connectivity with their in-service peers. Read the full report here.

Key insights:

* Researchers have identified major benefits of teacher online connectivity to fill the gap between what preservice teachers experience in the university and what they will find in schools.

* Despite research-based benefits, preservice teachers have little motivation for university-based online community involvement but “strong intent” to participate in online communities once they graduate.

* Teacher educators add value to teacher preparation by exposing students to real-world teaching practices through extra-university online communities that address individual interests and affinities.

* Preservice and in-service teachers and teacher educators participate in online communities based on interests but also in those perceived as easy to use and trustworthy with opportunities for social learning.

* Independent online communities can connect preservice teachers to educators who share their interests, and provide access to resources and exposure to the real world of teaching.

* Established connectivity through online communities reduces isolation among new teachers and delivers expertise, mentoring and opportunities to establish and expand professional networks.

* Online platforms outside the university support teacher education reform efforts through scalable, accessible and cost-effective options to introduce and inculcate educator connectivity as a lifelong habit and component of successful teaching and learning.





  • Sarah April 26, at 18:07

    I won't tell you anything new, but it's just the same in any other field. You'd think experience teaches us at least anything, but that's so rare. Feel free to disagree but the world changes, and we have no control over it. E.g., If only Obama had enough balls to put Putin to his place, but it seems like it's never happening, welcome third world war. Great post, thanks! Sarah


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