Beginning teachers’ requirements and implication for teacher induction in Switzerland


Theoretical framework: In the career entry phase, beginning teachers are faced with requirements, even more complex as they got to know during their education as a teacher, despite of their experiences from preservice-teaching (Keller-Schneider, 2010). In Switzerland, beginning teachers are challenged to master the same tasks as experienced teachers do. But this challenging situation is perceived individually different (Ryan/Deci, 2017). It can lead to stress as well as to satisfaction (Rice, 2012).

Beginning teachers in Switzerland are supported by an induction program, they can choose optional. To know about their concerns helps to create an induction-program, fitting to beginning teachers’ needs. This paper focus on investigations of beginning teachers’ perceptions of competence and challenge in their career entry phase, and tells about the induction program, based on the finding of this study.

Research questions: Based on the theory of Lazarus on the transactional model of stress and coping (Lazarus/Folkman, 1984), dealing with professional demands depends on individuals’ appraisals of the situation and available resources. Mastering the professional requirements, perceived as important, is shaped by individuals’ competences, beliefs, self-efficacy and resources. Dealing with the complexity of requirements as a fully responsible teacher, perceived as challenges, fosters beginning teachers in their further professionalization.

This paper focus on the research questions, how beginning teachers perceive the requirements they have to master as fully responsible teachers (1), how competent they feel (2) and which requirements is challenging for them (3).

Method: To identify stage specific concerns of beginning teachers, a qualitative content analyzes (Mayring, 2000) was conducted on notes of counselling sessions of beginning teachers. Based on these findings, an instrument was developed to evaluate the perception of beginning teachers. Based on the theory of stress and coping of Lazarus, beginning teachers assess the requirements according to its relevance, to their competence to deal with and their perception of challenge (Keller-Schneider 2010). This instrument, containing 12 first-order and 4 second-order factors, was used in a survey to collect data form beginning teachers from primary and secondary schools (n=652). By confirmative factor analyzes (Muthén/Muthén, 2015) the model was replicated, so the scales fit to the data can be used for further analyzes. By a latent profile analyzes several types of beginning teachers were identified, reflecting different profiles of challenges. These types were investigated on their type specific profile of perceived challenges and competences, based on the relevance of job requirements, as well as their differences.

Results show, that specific requirements represent challenges for beginning teachers and describe the stage specific situation. But by differences between the profiles they show as well, that challenges are perceived individually different.

Conclusions: Based on the results of the study, conclusions for an induction program were derived to meet beginning teachers’ needs. The existing induction program of Zurich University for Teacher Education will be discussed, based on the findings of the study.

Key words: Beginning teachers, professional development, relevance of requirements, competence, challenge, induction program, Switzerland

Manuela Keller-Schneider


Manuela Keller-Schneider
PhD, Professor, Zurich University of Teacher Education, Switzerland