22 SES 05 D, Academic Work and Professional Development
In the project described in this paper, we have studied mentoring as a strategy for competence enhancement in higher education.
As a part of the university's strategy to enhance excellence in teaching quality, University of Stavanger in 2012 established a mentoring programme for new employees in scientific positions aiming at professionalizing their teaching.
This paper is based on an evaluative study questioning the value of the working methods in this programme, which we are both architects for and responsible for. Seeing the working methods in the programme as mediating tools (Vygotsky 1996, Wertsch 1991) for learning processes, the functioning and relevance are questioned. The two main work methods in the programme are the object in the research: individual mentoring conversations and internal teaching in groups.
Handal (2006) is concerned with how universities can enhance their professionalism as a teaching institution. It is an interesting and important question because when we live in an "audit society" - a society which not only consists of numerous investigations where activities are designed with the thought that they will be evaluated and revised. In this perspective the values of freedom, openness, debate and criticism will give way to highly symbolic, standardized and quantifiable expression points, rankings and efficiency with the consequence that the focus on teaching loose ground in terms of research.
Handal (2006) use the term "dual professional". He claims that scientific staff are professionals as researchers and professionals through education at the graduate level. In addition they have a fairly large common knowledge base as a fundament for professional performance and - shared professional ethical values and norms. But very often they do not fill professional standards as "teachers" in relevant subjects.
Handal argues for developing professionalism in teaching. This professionalism can only be achieved through education, where one can acquire knowledge of concepts, theories and research about students, about students' learning and about the organization of knowledge. Education for new scientific staff will, according Handal, be an investment in teaching professionalism.
It is a process-oriented evaluation research conducted. Our main aim is to describe, and also affect our programme's direction and content (Sverdrup 2002, p.33 (Our translation)). This gives our research both pragmatic and constructivist intentions. The evaluation examines the main activities in the mentoring programme. The empirical material being analyzed, will tell us whether the programme contributes as intended, and the results will be used to revise the programme if needed.
Our theoretical starting point is that teaching in higher education is similar teaching in other educational contexts in sense of expressed expectations of professionalism and quality Teaching (Hargreaves 1996; Lortie 1975; Munthe 2003) is generally understood as involving high degree of uncertainty , because there is no clear standards for what good or right teaching actually is. At the same time teaching is seen as complicated, hectic and as a collection of choices (Hanssen, Raaen and Østrem 2010; Kleven 1994; Kvernbekk 2005). We understand professionalism as professional practice linked to established and valid knowledge and skills (Molander and Terum, 2008).
Since our programme is based on mentoring where a new colleague is connected to an experienced colleague, we also lean on theory of mentoring (Gjems 2007; Handal 2000; Hanssen and Østrem, 2010, Hanssen, Husebø and Moen 2012). This theory is placing weight on the newcomers own questions and needs. The mentoring process should start in themes and issues raised by the new. Another idea is that in front of the mentoring session there must be made a choreography of the session organizing the meeting and making sure that each parts is prepared to contribute and experience meaning (Næss 1999).
-Gjems, L. (2007). Meningsskaping i veiledning. I T. Kroksmark og K. Åberg (red.), Veiledning i pedagogisk arbeid. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget. -Hanssen, B. og Østrem, S. (2010). Veiledning som didaktiske møter. I Høihilder og Olsen (red.) Oslo: Pedlex. -Handal, G. (2006). Kritiske venner, I H. Strømsø, K. H. Lycke og P. Lauvås (red.), Når læring er det viktigste – Undervisning i høyere utdanning. Oslo: Cappelen Akademiske Forlag. -Hanssen, B. og Østrem, S. (2010). Veiledning som didaktiske møter. I Høihilder og Olsen (red.) Oslo: Pedlex. -Hanssen, B., Raaen, F.D., Østrem, S. (2010). Det heseblesende arbeidet. In P. Haug (Ed.), Kvalifisering til læraryrket (pp. S. 9-28). Oslo: Abstrakt. -Hanssen, B, Husebø. D og Moen, V(2012): " Å forelese er en ensom affære. Jeg er sikker på at de fleste går inn i klasserommet med en sommerfugl eller to i magen …". I T.L. Hoel,B. Hanssen og D. Husebø. Utdanningskvalitet og undervisningskvalitet under press? Spenninger i høgere utdanning. Trondheim: Tapir akademiske forlag. -Hargreaves, A. (1994). Changing teachers, changing times: teachers' work and culture in the postmodern age. London: Cassell. -Hsieh, H-F. & Shannon, S. (2005).Three Approaches to Qualitative Content Analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15 (9): 1277-1288. Hodnett, ED -Kleven, A. (2010). Lærerarbeidet i klasserommet. I T.L. Hoel, G. Engvik, og B. Hanssen, (red.) Ny som lærer – sjansespill og samspill. Trondheim: Tapir akademiske forlag. -Kvernbekk, T. (2005). Pedagogisk teoridannelse: insidere, teoriformer og praksis. Bergen: Fagbokforl. -Lortie, D. C. (1975). Schoolteacher: a sociological study. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. -Næss, G. (1999). Veiledning som møte – hva er det spesielle? Årbok, Veiledernettverket i Agder: Høgskolen i Agder. -Molander, A., & Terum, L. I. (2008). Profesjonsstudier. Oslo: Universitetsforl. -Munthe, E. (2003). Teachers' professional certainty: a survey study of Norwegian teachers' perceptions of professional certainty in relation to demographic, workplace, andclassroom variables. no. 25, Unipub forl., Oslo. -Sverdrup, S. (2002). Evaluering. Faser, design og gjennomføring. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget. -Säljö, R. (2001). Læring i praksis. Et sosiokulturelt perspektiv. Oslo: Cappelen Akademiske Forlag -Vygotskij, L.S. (2001). Tenkning og tale. Oslo: Gyldendal forlag. -Wertsch, J. V. (1991). Voices of the Mind, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
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