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Ethics | Equity & Social Justice | Further Education | Mentoring | National Contexts | Partnership

Professional Development | Professional Learning | Research Methods | Theoretical Frameworks

Mentoring (Marion Jones)

In the drive for raising educational achievement through improved quality of teaching mentoring has increasingly been employed as a key strategy in the initial training and continued professional development of teachers in the UK and internationally. The growing interest in the mentoring phenomenon is reflected in the large number of items included in TEG bibliography. There is increased recognition that mentoring in its various forms can be employed as an effective strategy in teachers’ workplace learning (EPPI review on teachers’ professional development), which is based on the belief that the development of professional practice is most effective and beneficial when it takes place in the professional setting and involves collaboration with expert classroom practitioners. Although the National Framework for Mentoring and Coaching is helpful in identifying the principles and core concepts of mentoring, it remains a fluid concept that is difficult to define. Depending on its purposes and the context within which it occurs is interpreted and enacted in many different ways. It is a highly personal process which is largely determined by the quality of the relationship that has been established between mentor and mentee, the way in which they perceive their roles and how their behaviour is mediated by the structural, social and cultural factor inherent in the practice setting. Particularly where mentoring combines aspects of nurture and support with the requirement to act as assessor and gatekeeper to the profession potential tensions have been identified.

Whilst there is a plethora of literature exploring mentees’ perceptions and the impact of mentoring on their professional and personal development as teachers, the needs of the mentors themselves and their professional knowledge base have only received limited attention. The concept of ‘reflective practice’ is frequently associated with the mentoring process, particularly in relation to the critical analysis and evaluation of classroom practice. However, an aspect that has been raised as a matter of concern is mentors’ articulation of their own craft knowledge of teaching and the principles underpinning it.

More recent publications included in this bibliography draw attention to the need to incorporate a strategic, long-term component in institutional mentoring schemes and to develop a pedagogy of mentoring by adopting an 'inquiry as stance' philosophy embedded within a participatory approach to learning. There is also evidence emerging of the reciprocal benefits supporting the view that assisting beginning teachers in their professional development can facilitate professional learning not only in the mentee, but also the mentor and across the school as a whole. Thus mentors can play an important role as mediators between newcomers and established members of the profession. And yet, some items draw attention to the fact that many mentors operate in relative isolation and seek to develop their own community of practice as mentors .

References

Cordingley, P, Bell, M, Rundell, B, Evans, D (2003) The impact of collaborative CPD on classroom teaching and learning, In Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.

Jones, M (2001) Mentors' Perceptions of Their Roles in School-based Teacher Training in England and Germany, Journal of Education for Teaching, 27(1) pp 75-95.

Cunningham, B.(2007) All the right features: towards an architecture for mentoring trainee teachers in UK further education colleges, Journal of Education for Teaching, 33(1) pp 83 - 97.

Webb, M E, Pachler, N, Mitchell, H & Herrington, N (2007) Towards a pedagogy of mentor education, Journal of In-Service Education, 33(2) pp 171-188.

Hurd, S, Jones, M, McNamara, O, & Craig, B(2007) Initial teacher education as a driver for professional learning and school improvement in the primary phase, Curriculum Journal, 18(3) pp 307 -326.

Bryan, H & Carpenter, C (2008) Mentoring: a practice developed in community, Professional Development in Education, 34(1) pp 47-59. [Link]

 

 

 

How to reference this page: Teacher Education Group (2009) The Teacher Education Bibliography. London: TLRP. Online at http://www.tlrp.org/capacity/rm/wt/teg (accessed )

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