10 SES 03 B, Mentoring Matters
There has been a growth in the numbers of overseas trained teachers (OTTs) in English schools over two decades (Ross and Hutchings, 2003), in response to teacher shortage. This growth has been seen as an extension of a laissez-faire market into state education (Hatcher 2006) and recruitment agencies have been accused of exploitation (de Villiers and Books 2009). OTTs have been considered vulnerable (NASUWT, 2007), and have suffered prejudice (Cole and Stuart, 2005). OTTs come from a variety of former colonial territories, not all with English as their first language. Teachers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and The United States, and teachers from European Union countries are entitled to automatic Qualified Teacher Status in England.
Mentoring is included in most teacher training and education programmes worldwide. Much research has been undertaken into its value of mentoring for beginning teachers, less for OTTs. They arrive ready for new experiences, but it is likely that they face added challenges because of their background as compared to home-trained teachers (Stevens, Emily, & Yamashita, 2010). Mentoring has been significant in withdrawals and failure rates of ethnic minority trainee teachers (Basit et al, 2006).
Mentorship itself is subject to different interpretations. Colley (2002) suggests that there is a mismatch between what mentors say and do. Bozeman and Feeney (2007) argue that mentorship remains under-conceptualised, and Cain (2009) argues that educational research is under-used in trying to improve mentorship.
Many emphasise the need for mentorship to entail a personal relationship, between individuals, with a strong emotional component (for example Maynard, 2000, Clarke & Jarvis-Selinger, 2005), but mentors sometimes fail to achieve this and instead simply emphasise the institutional at the expense of the individual (Devos, 2010). At a time of increasing diversity, both of recruits to teaching and also of routes into teaching, it is worth reminding ourselves that mentorship should consist of more than a technicist (Jones, 2001) delivery of targets and objectives. The movement of qualified teachers from country to country is likely to continue. This element of globalisation may have benefits for all countries (Appleton et el 2006) provided that teachers receive adequate support.
The research was therefore intended to sample the experiences of the mentor-mentee relationship from the point of view of recent OTTs in England, with a focus on cultural difference and support. The research questions were (i) how effectively do OTTs feel they are mentored? and (ii) to what extent do mentors show understanding of the needs of their OTT-mentees and respond effectively to their cultural diversity?
Appleton, S., John Morgan, W., and Sives, A. (2006), Should teachers stay at home? The impact of international teacher mobility, Journal of International Development 18, 771–786. Basit, T., McNamara, R., Carrington, O., Maguire, B., & Woodrow D. (2006), Did they jump or were they pushed? Reasons why minority ethnic trainees withdraw from initial training courses, British Education Research Journal, 32(3), 387-410. Bozeman, B., & Feeney, M. (2007)Toward a useful theory of mentoring: a conceptual analysis and critique, Administration and Society, 39(6), 719-739. Bryman, A. (2004), Social research methods, New York: Oxford University Press. Clarke, A., and Jarvis-Selinger, S. (2005) What the teaching perspectives of cooperating teachers tell us about their advisory practices, Teaching and Teacher Education, 21, 65-78. Cole, M. and Stuart, J. (2005), ‘Do you ride on elephants’ and ‘never tell them you're German’: the experiences of British Asian and black, and overseas student teachers in South-east England, British Educational Research Journal, 31(3), 349-366. Colley, H. (2002) A ‘rough guide’ to the history of mentoring from a Marxist feminist perspective, Journal of Education for Teaching, 28(3), 257-273. de Villiers, R. and Sue Books, S. (2009), Recruiting teachers online: marketing strategies and information dissemination practices of UK-based agencies, Educational Review 61(3), 315-325. Devos, A. (2010), New teachers, mentoring and the discursive formation of professional identity, Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(5),1219–1223. Hatcher, R. (2006), Privatization and sponsorship: the re-agenting of the school system in England, Journal of Education Policy, 21(5), 599-619. Hobson, A., Patricia, A., Malderez, A., & Tomlinson, P. (2009) Mentoring beginning teachers: what we know and what we don’t, Teaching and Teacher Education, 10(1), 207-216. Jones, M. (2001) Mentors' perceptions of their roles in schoolbased teacher training in England and Germany, Journal of Education for Teaching, 27:1, 75-94. Kitchenham, B. and Pfleeger, S. (2002) Principles of survey research. Available at: http://www.idi.ntnu.no/grupper/su/publ/ese/kitchenham-survey5.pdf (accessed 26 January 2014). Maynard, T. (2000) Learning to teach or learning to manage mentors? Experiences of school based teacher training, Mentoring and Tutoring, 8(1), 17-30. NASUWT (2007) Commission on vulnerable employment: consultation response. Available at: http://www.vulnerableworkers.org.uk/wp content/uploads/2008/05/naswut.doc (accessed 20 December 2013). Ross, A. and Hutchings, M. (2003) Attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; OECD Country Background Report. (London, Institute for Policy Studies in Education). Stevens, D., Emily, S., Yamashita, M. (2010) Mentoring through reflective journal writing: a qualitative study by a mentor/professor and two international graduate students, Reflective Practice, 11(3), 347-367.
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