TeachConnect is an online community designed to assist beginning teachers in their transition into the teaching profession.
“The teaching profession faces a grand design challenge: What kind of online community can best support teachers to connect to each other and to the knowledge that they need?”
Dr Nick Kelly & Steven Kickbusch
- It’s well known that the transition from pre-service into early-career teaching is a challenging one.
- It’s also known that support during this period (such as mentorship, induction and follow-up from a university) can do a lot to help – but many teachers are missing out.
- In particular, teachers in insecure employment or in rural areas are likely to miss out on support during this transition.
- A lack of support has a significant impact on teacher job satisfaction and intention to leave the profession.
- Existing online communities (e.g. Scootle, The Learning Place, Facebook groups) still leave a large gap to be filled.
TeachConnect is an online platform that links pre-service teachers with experienced teachers and peer support such as:
- A close mentoring relationship with an experienced teacher (reflection on teaching practice)
- Discipline-specific communities for teachers to give and get feedback
- A collective knowledge sharing space for teachers to answer questions, share resources and give advice.
- Teacher mentors and subject experts have joined the platform and participated in online and in-person seminars.
- Teachers engage with mentors through messages, chat and circles.
- The larger the network, the more expertise. In TeachConnect knowledge is re-used, growing every year as teachers build up a knowledge-base around all aspects of the profession.
- External sites and multi-media bringing teachers into subject-specific discussions.
How it works
TeachConnect is open to anyone with a school or university affiliated email. It is accessible from anywhere, at anytime and available on all devices eg. mobiles, tablets and laptops.
TeachConnect impacts upon the development of teachers at every stage in their career.
- Whilst they are pre-service teachers, they develop an online network of support with an experienced mentor teacher and a close circle of colleagues. Within this circle, trust grows and enables reflection on practice to occur within the group. Also, pre-service teachers have access to the large community knowledge base, where they can ask anything of the larger teaching network. This support helps them during practical experience and in the transition to early career.
- As early career teachers, they already have a trusted network on which to draw upon when faced with the challenges of their first years of teaching. Research shows the value of support during the first years for improving both teacher satisfaction and retention. Currently many early career teachers in Queensland miss out on support – TeachConnect ensures that by augmenting this existing support, there will be a positive impact upon teachers in Queensland.
1. Kelly N., Clara M., Kehrwald B. & Danaher P. (2016). Online Learning Networks for Pre-service and Early Career Teachers, Palgrave Pivot
1. Kelly N. and Antonio A. (2016). Teacher peer support in social network sites, Teaching and Teacher Education, 56: 138-149
2. Clara M., Kelly N., Mauri T. & Danaher P. (2017). Can massive communities of teachers facilitate collaborative reflection? Fractal design as a possible answer, Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 45(1), pp. 86-98
3. Kelly N. & Fogarty R. (2015). An integrated approach to attracting and retaining teachers in rural and remote areas, Journal of Economic and Social Policy: Special issue on Digital Rural Futures, 17(2), Article 1.
4. Kelly N., Reushle S., Chakrabarty S. & Kinnane A. (2014). Augmenting the support for pre-service teachers into practice through large online communities of knowledge-sharing, Australian Journal of Teacher Education 39(4), pp. 68-82
Conference and media articles
1. Kelly N, Clara M. and Kickbusch S. (2015) How to develop an online community for pre-service and early career teachers, ASCILITE 2015, Perth
2. Kelly N. (2015) Online communities for teachers: What research says about their limits and potential. AARE Education Matters Blog
3. Kelly, N. (2013). An opportunity to support beginning teachers in the transition from higher education into practice, Proceedings of ASCILITE 2013, Sydney
1. Kelly N., Kickbusch S., Hadley F., Andrews R., Wade-Leeuwen B., & O’Brien M. (In press). The praxis of online mentoring. In: Ambrosetti A., Rorrison D., Kriewaldt J., & Capeness R. (eds). Educating Teachers: Innovative Perspectives in Professional Experience. Springer.
2. Merceica B., & Kelly N. (Under review). Early career teacher peer support through private groups in social media, Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education
3. Kelly N., Sim S., & Ireland M. (Under review). Slipping through the cracks: Teachers that miss out on early career support, Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education