Purpose: Although new teachers’ induction is a key issue of principals’ work, there’s still little research on this. Occurring within the frame of a EU project, the goal of the study was to perceive the main needs of principals to support beginning teachers in Belgium (Flanders), Finland and Portugal.
Research method: It built on a questionnaire applied to 1654 principals in three countries. 261 principals replied to the questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and exploratory factor analysis were used, and a comparative test involving the countries under analysis was performed.
Findings: The most relevant needs referred to professional/organizational development and pedagogical leadership, comprising implementation of supervisory devices and ICT integration in the classroom. Principals stressed the need to support new teachers to promote differentiated pedagogy, critical reflection and collaborative practices. Moreover, we found significant differences between countries: Belgians presented the highest scores in all dimensions, followed by the Portuguese and the Finish, respectively.
Conclusions: There’s a consensus on the relevance of principals’ action as pedagogical leaders, with a great focus on collaboration as a methodology of work among teachers, and reflection as an opportunity for professional growth and learning. Traditionally, this issue concerned only teachers. Currently, there seems to be a shift towards a commitment of principals to become more directly involved in driving teachers’ practices and teaching processes. Nevertheless, this consensus is not total, as they value differently, in breadth and depth, the other dimensions, which must be analyzed in the light of the idiosyncrasies of each educational system.
school management, school principal; pedagogical leadership; new qualified teachers’ induction; professional and organizational development