What is Droichead?
Droichead is a formal welcome for newly qualified teachers by their experienced colleagues into one of the most important professions in society.
It has been designed in collaboration with the profession to reflect the importance of induction for newly qualified teachers. It recognises induction as a distinct phase on the continuum of teacher education, a socialisation process into the teaching profession. Droichea is a way of supporting the newly qualified teacher as they transition from initial teacher education as a student teacher to their career as a teacher of students.
The main objective of the Droichead process is to support the professional learning of NQTs during the induction phase, and therefore laying the foundations for subsequent professional growth and learning for the next phase of their career.
In teaching, as in all jobs, the induction phase can be exciting and rewarding, but can also be challenging.
I got a job!
Parent-teacher meetings are next week.
I love teaching this subject!
I’m so excited to get started!
There’s not enough time in the day!
I wonder does everyone find planning tricky?
Droichead is grounded in the belief that the best people to support an NQT are experienced colleagues who have relevant and in depth knowledge of teaching and learning in their schools.
Two or more experienced teachers in Droichead Schools come together as a Professional Support Team or PST and work collaboratively with the NQT to plan appropriate learning activities that will support the NQT during his or her Droichead process.
In preparation for this, the PST participates in a professional learning programme provided by the National Induction Programme for Teachers (NIPT). Four days release time with substitute cover is available for this purpose. In addition, the NIPT provides ongoing guidance and further professional learning opportunities for both the experienced and newly qualified teachers involved in the process.
So what does this support look like for the NQT?
There are two strands in the Droichead process; Strand A – school-based induction activities and Strand B – Additional Professional Learning Activities.
The school-based induction activities in Strand A can include, for example:
- Opportunities to become familiar with school policies and practices
- Opportunities to visit other classrooms and other schools
- Opportunities to use professional conversations to discuss teaching and learning with your colleagues
- Opportunities to reflect on learning and progress.
The Additional Professional Learning Activities in Strand B might include, for example:
- Opportunities to meet other NQTs at cluster meetings.
- NQTs attend one cluster meeting per term of their Droichead process.
- Participation in a further Professional Learning event, such as FÉILTE, the Festival of Education in Learning and Teaching Excellence, a subject association meeting, or a relevant conference or course in your local education centre.
Droichead provides many opportunities for individual and collective reflection. NQTs collect their thoughts and ideas on moments of key learning throughout the process to help them to plan future professional learning opportunities. This is called Taisce. An information video about Taisce can be found in the Droichead Videos section of the Teaching Council website. Schools who are interested in finding out more about Droichead should contact the NIPT on www.teacherinduction.ie.
Droichead, your formal welcome to the teaching profession.
As part of the Droichead process, you will be supported in reflecting on your professional practice, and collecting examples of your learning. This collection will help you to identify your needs as a newly qualified teacher and also, help you develop your practice and learning. This is called your Taisce.
Taisce is the Irish name for ‘treasure trove’. Taisce is a way of connecting the three phases of the continuum of teacher education. It links the teacher’s initial teacher education in university or college to Droichead, the newly qualified teacher’s induction into the profession; and to Cosán, the experienced teacher’s continued engagement with professional learning.
The Teaching Council, in it’s policy on the continuum, identify teachers as life-long learners. Taisce is a tool that you can use to reflect on any area of your learning and practice. It is collected by you and used for you to enhance your development as a teacher.
As a newly qualified teacher, you will gather your thoughts and reflection on your moments of key learning; your thoughts and ideas; some useful resources and websites; the work of your students’ among other things.
Some of these reflection may come from your work in the classroom; some may come from your informal conversations with colleagues and friends; others will form the basis for your more formal, professional conversations with your PST.
Professional conversations are central to Droichead, but the key point to emphasis here, is that you, the NQT, decides the subject of these conversation, based on your individual needs. After having reflected on a moment or conversation, you may decide that you would like to collect it as a photograph, a video, a piece of useful information, or you may choose to write about it. What you collect is up to you. Equally, how you collect it is your choice, too.
You may choose to use a digital scrapbook or folder. Whatever you choose, it should reflect the way you learn best, and it should be easy for you to open, to add too, and to draw from. Remember: this is your Taisce, so you choose the format that best complement your learning style.
Once you have added items to your private collection, you may choose to select one or more to share with your Professional Support Team. You could do this to illustrate some key learning, to ask for support in an area, and to plan for what you would like to focus on next. Maybe your PST will suggest a book or website that can help you move your learning forward. Or perhaps, they would suggest chatting to a colleague with a particular interest or expertise in the area. Equally, there may be an upcoming event, like a conference or workshop, that would provide you with further opportunity for learning. You may choose to attend this as your Additional Professional Learning Activity requirement for Strand B of Droichead. In this way, you are trusted, as a professional, to make your own decisions about your professional learning.
Here are some examples of what other NQTs have done in the past:
“So, from the get go of my Droichead experience, I knew that this was a private folder, so I could put anything in it, so I felt like I could be as honest as possible. I was able to use it for my own reflections, rather than trying to impress somebody. The reason I kept it in a folder is just because I found it easier to deal with the paper, rather than going online all the time, I suppose. It was all different things I picked up over the two years I was involved in Droichead. One of the things that I still use to this day was something that came about when I had a meeting with my mentor and I wasn’t really that comfortable teaching guided reading because it was a brand new thing to me this year. So, she actually gave me this, which is all of the skills that you have to teach from the get go of guided reading; and I use it to this day. So this is kind of my main piece, if you like, that I wanted to share from my Taisce.”
“For the Taisce programme, as part of the Droichead process, I had chosen to use the iPad to record some of the teachable moments that we encountered. We specifically looked at how the Aistear programme could develop the skills of one particular child. I spoke with the Learning Support teacher, the resource teacher, SNAs in the school, to try and establish the best way forward for this particular child. The child disengaged on an ongoing basis from mainstream teaching, so we incorporated the programme for the benefit of the child’s integration into the classroom, and to become much more confident and comfortable in the surrounding with his peers. By using varied resources around the classroom, in particular there was a 3D cow, Daisy, so we decided we would use that theme to just engage the child with the learning process. It worked, hugely, for his progression for the past number of weeks. As far as my own teaching in the classroom, and how to encourage distant learners coming forward, it was massively helpful, because I was taking the small steps and making huge leaps with it in the classroom.”
So , to sum up, Taisce is a way to support you, as a newly qualified teacher, to reflect on your learning throughout your Droichead journey. Remember: reflect on your key learning, collect your thoughts and ideas, and select items to share with your Professional Support Team to help plan for what to focus on next.
Taisce: your reflections, your learning, your journey, and you hold the keys.
Completing the Online Droichead Form D Application
- Log in to your portal account on the Teaching Council website: www.teachingcouncil.ie.
- Select ‘My Conditions’.
- Under the Droichead Condition, select ‘View Details’.
- Select ‘Begin Form D Application’.
- Make yourself familiar with the important document and notices above before selecting ‘Begin Form D Application’
- The Personal Details and Employment Details section will be pre-populated with the information you provided when you made your Droichead application.
- In the School Based Induction (Strand A) section, the Date Droichead Process Commenced’ will be pre-populated from when you made your Droichead application. You are required to tick to confirm that you have completed the minimum time requirement and fill in the two mandatory fields.
- You must now fill in the Professional Learning Activity page:
- In relation to Cluster Meetings, you are required to select the option that is applicable to you:
- You either confirm that you have completed one Cluster Meeting per term for the duration of your Droichead timeframe or confirm that you have previously completed the full 20-hour Induction Workshop Programme and Cluster Meeting Number 1.
- From your own files, you must then upload to the Portal, a Certificate of Completion for each Cluster Meeting you attended. Click on ‘Choose File’, select the Certificates from your own files and upload.
- Now, in relation to your Professional Learning Activities you must select the option that is applicable to you:
- You either confirm that you have previously completed the full 2o-hour Induction Workshop Programme and are therefore not required to complete one other Professional Learning Activity or confirm that you have engaged in at least one other Professional Learning Activity relevant to your needs and as identified with your PST. In this case, you should provide the name of same and the date or dates it took place in addition to the duration of the activity.
- Under the Reflective Practice Section, tick to indicate that you have engaged in reflective practice and that you ‘believe that you are ready to move to the next phase of your professional learning. Then provide details of the area(s) of interest for your future professional learning.
- In relation to Cluster Meetings, you are required to select the option that is applicable to you:
- Now, you are required to download and print off your Joint Declaration Form.
- You and all members of your Professional Support Team must now review the 5 pages of the Joint Declaration form for accuracy before signing and stamping it.
- Digital signatures or digital stamps will not be accepted. You must ensure you and your Professional Support Team members sign the form using a pen and the form is stamped using the official school stamp. Where the school does not have a school stamp, you may provide an email/statement from the school outlining this and upload it along with your Joint Declaration Form.
- Once the form is signed and stamped you need to save all 5 pages to your own files.
- Now, when you are ready to upload your signed and stamped Joint Declaration Form (all 5 pages), login to your portal account and click on ‘Application’ and under ‘My in progress Application’ click on ‘Continue’ under your ‘Form D.
- Click on Joint Declaration. Tap on the top of the screen and upload your Joint Declaration Form by clicking on ‘Choose File’, then retrieve the Joint Declaration Form which must include all 5 pages from your own files and upload.
- Click on ‘Submit’.
- You will immediately receive a message followed by an email thanking you for submitting your Form D. The Form D will be processed in order of date received.
- When processed, and all is in order, the Condition of Droichead will be removed and you and all members of your Professional Support Team will be issued with a notification advising you of this.