Leaving a legacy of wisdom : learning from experienced teachers

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Much has been said about the loss of tacit knowledge of experienced teachers. In this research an attempt was made to uncover the accumulated knowledge of three experienced teachers in the hope that this could be transferred to the Beginning Teachers in a Singapore-school. The school's induction programme for Beginning Teachers was further enhanced with a Mentor Buddy Programme and a Learning Circle coordinated by the Vice-Principal.<br><br>The study spanned over three years. It involved three cohorts, comprising more than 20 Beginning Teachers, three experienced teachers with more than 30 years experience each, and several members of the middle management team in the school. The Vice Principal who played a key role in operationalising the processes also served as a participant and researcher.<br><br>In the course of time a refined induction framework named the 'Hai Induction Road Map', evolved to provide a platform to build a vibrant, on-going sharing of knowledge as well as experiences and exchange of ideas on pedagogy and educational philosophies among the Beginning Teachers and the more experienced teachers.<br><br>Though the experienced teachers needed some coaxing and cajoling before they came on board, it was clear that once they had started on this sharing mission they quite naturally took responsibility to serve as mentors to the Beginning Teachers.<br><br>It was also evident that the new role rejuvenated their thirst for continual learning and they were quite open to embracing the youthful vibrancy and new ideas of their younger colleagues.<br><br>The feedback from all participants confirmed observations that most who participated in the processes, embedded in the Hai Induction Road Map, were both grateful and generous in sharing with each other. They were also of the collective view that what mattered most in culture building were structures that encourage collaborative behaviour and an open minded attitude in wanting to learn as well as to contribute to the experience and insights.<br><br>The personal commitment and convictions of people managing the modus operandi, especially that of school leader(s), was key factor in initiating and nurturing a form of coalition of collaborative learners.