Academic journal article International Journal of Education

Excellent Mentor Teachers' Skills in Mentoring for Pre-Service Teachers

Academic journal article International Journal of Education

Excellent Mentor Teachers' Skills in Mentoring for Pre-Service Teachers

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study aims to identify the performances of 76 Taiwanese awarded mentor teachers in mentoring pre-service teachers by analyzing their written reports related to mentoring processes. An inductive content analysis method was used to construct headings and codes in relation to mentoring skills. The analytical result reveals that 448 headings were formed and were further categorized into six groups, reported as six mentoring skills. The mentoring skills rank-order from high to low frequencies are as follows: employing the built model as a framework for teaching guidance, guiding interpersonal interactions, fostering career competitive ability, encouraging reflections on internship experiences, creating mentoring plan through discussions with pre-service teachers, and giving emotional supports. Like the previous studies, the study finding reveals that the person-oriented supports like giving emotional supports, only accounting for 1.3%, seem to be unusually used by Taiwanese mentor teachers.

Keywords: mentor teacher, pre-service teacher, mentoring skill, field-based practicum

1. Introduction

Participating in field-based practicum experiences is a vital part of teacher education program. The field-based practicum should establish conditions to make pre-service teachers thoughtful and to equip them with the ability to enhance students' education (Zeichner, 1996). Specifically, the aim of field-based practicum should be educative: it should help pre-service teachers understand the role of teacher, foster the pre-service teachers' capacity to learn from field experiences, and accomplish the central task of teaching-helping pupils to learn (Graham, 2006, p. 1119). To achieve effectiveness in field-based practicum experiences, a mentor teacher's role is established to support pre-service teachers during field-based practicum experiences.

Minister of Education of Taiwan strongly emphasizes on quality of mentor teachers and has awarded 76 mentor teachers for their contribution to field-based practicum experiences since 2006. The mentoring skills of the excellent mentor teachers are concerned. Previous studies have indicated the approaches on specific skills in mentoring of general mentors (Crasborn, & Hennissen, 2010; Hennissen, Crasborn, Brouwer, Korthagen, & Bergen, 2011; Rajuan, Beijaard & Verloop, 2007; Rippon, & Martin, 2006); however, few studies identified the quality of mentoring work of excellent mentor teachers for pre-service teachers. This study aims to identify the performances of 76 Taiwanese awarded mentor teachers in mentoring for pre-service teachers.

2. Literature Review

2.1 The role of mentor teacher

Mentor teacher means that a more experienced teacher than a mentee possesses knowledge and skills desired by the mentee (Ambrosetti & Dekkers, 2010). During mentoring, mentor teachers are often regarded as a subject for learning educational practice by pre-service teachers. This above approach reflects the existence of a hierarchical relationship between a mentor and a mentee.

The role of mentors is often replaced by terms such as guide, advisor, counselor, instructor, sharer, supporter and encourager (Bray & Nettleton, 2006; Sundli, 2007; Hall, Draper, Smith & Bullough, 2008). According to studies (Hall et al. 2008; Hawkey, 2006; Le Maistre, Boudreau & Pare, 2006; Schwille, 2008), mentors can provide not only pedagogical guidance, emotional support and professional socialization, but also empathy and serve as role models. Considering that teachers' knowledge and skills are event-structured, context-based, and practice-oriented in nature (Kessels & Korthagen, 1996), mentor teachers have multiple roles. Despite these multiple roles in the mentoring approach, many mentor teachers recognize their position more as an advisor and imperator, who gives instructions and suggestions on teaching practice, than as an encourager of reflection on concrete thoughts and actions in the classroom (Feiman-Nemser, 2000; van Ginkel, Vermunt, Verloop, & Beijaard, 2005). …

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