Newly Qualified Teachers’ Needs of Support for Professional Competences in Four European Countries: Finland, the United Kingdom, Portugal, and Belgium

  • Vilhelmiina Harju
  • Hannele Niemi
Keywords: lifelong learning, newly qualified teachers, professional learning needs, teachers’ professional competence

Abstract

The first few years in the teaching profession are usually demanding. Although initial teacher education forms an essential foundation for teachers’ work, it cannot fully prepare new teachers for the complexities of working life. This study focuses on investigating the need for professional development support among newly qualified teachers to determine what their
professional learning needs are and how these needs differ among teachers from four different countries: Finland, the United Kingdom (England), Portugal and Belgium (Flanders). The research data was collected via a questionnaire from 314 teachers, each with less than five years of teaching experience, and both closed and open-ended questions were included. The quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics and factor analysis to identify the latent variables associated with their needs. Answers to the open-ended questions were used to gain deeper insight into the newly qualified teachers’ situation. The results indicate that new teachers need support, especially regarding conflict situations and in differentiating their teaching. In addition, when analysing the profiles of eight support-need latent variables, all of the teachers in the different countries viewed supporting students’ holistic development as the most important area. Although the results of this study cannot be generalised, they provide an important overview of new teachers’ learning needs that should be taken into account when planning and organising support for them.

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Published
2016-09-30