An Analysis of the Implications Between the Theoretical Framework and the Policy Context of Provincial Education Policy in Ontario

Lorenzo Cherubini

Abstract


Induction is broadly defined in the literature as a formal process of transitioning novice educators into the professional role of teacher. In Ontario, Canada, the establishment of the Education Quality and Accountability Office and large-scale external assessments to measure student learning in grades three, six, and nine has underscored the significance of teacher quality. As a result, the Ontario Ministry of Education has put into policy that all public school boards to deliver the New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP) to new teachers. To a great extent, NTIP includes many of the components discussed in the literature that defines effective practices. Given that NTIP is a relatively new policy in Ontario, it seems timely to make some observations about the profound implications between the theoretical framework and the policy context of this initiative. This paper discusses the fundamental disconnect between two core concepts associated with NTIP policy that relates to the role of the school principal and to the language of Professional Learning Communities. By citing the language of the PLC, and be defining the principal’s role as evaluator, the NTIP policy may in fact be ignoring the research that discusses the conflicts and residual consequences that emerge when professional development initiatives that endorse teacher authority and collaboration clash with hierarchical and bureaucratic realities. The language of NTIP seems to suggest that new teachers have a significant degree of professional autonomy and individual self-determination. It endorses a value-orientation to new teachers’ professional development and growth. Yet, by imposing the evaluative component, the policy may be merely recreating the typical and traditional structure of power relations in the schools and thus taking away from its educative value for the new teacher participants. The evaluation component of NTIP maintains the traditional hierarchy of schools, reaffirms industrial-type connotations of power, control, and status, and ultimately creates a normative assumption of structure that is deemed to be rational.

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