ERG SES E 01, PechaKucha Poster Session
Politically-instigated reviews of initial teacher education (ITE) have promulgated policy reform as a result of ‘shortcomings’ internationally. Recommendations promulgate need for reform including school-university partnership. Since 2014, ITE in Ireland has become a two-year, Master’s level programme of study, with two block placements. This research seeks to explore mentoring arrangements from student teachers’ and mentors’ perspectives. It seeks to more deeply understand how student (preservice) and mentor (inservice) teachers experience and perceive the ITE school placement given that it is – to a large extent – a terra incognita in this context. Through a qualitative research design, their lived experiences are sought.
Data thus far evidence the extent to which this ITE ‘reform’ challenges, changes or exacerbates Irish teachers’ ‘legendary autonomy’ and/ or agency. Recent research conducted in the Irish context argues that student teacher voice needs to inform the processes which structure their learning during ITE placement, particularly concerning its relational and collaborative dimensions. This research attempts to fill this gap, as well as asking if, and if so, how, mentors mutually learn alongside students during their school placement.
Beginning with contextual overview, this presentation will subsequently draw theoretically from Lortie (1975), Hargreaves (2010), and the capabilities approach (Sen; Nussbaum), particularly questioning the role of mentors as conversion factors within an isolated pedagogical culture. Subsequent critical analysis as to which extent mentoring is enacted or restricted by school cultures and larger performativity forces will be discussed. Questions will be raised from data collected to date, including: perception of ‘teacher as learner’; basic and conceptual levels of teacher education; curriculum and assessment; collaborative ‘third spaces’; work-based learning; and coteaching. Researching the student teacher experience presents as a window into the ‘black box’ of local school cultures in which student teachers operate, cultures which are salient, but not reflected, in teacher education policy. For example, whether or not teacher learning – at the earlier stage of the career during ITE or later on as mentor – challenges traditional norms and identities, or whether it embraces 'venturesome' learning environments in practice, is also discussed. While mentoring during ITE placement provides a nexus for both student and mentor teacher learning that has potential to develop theoretical, practical, and reflective competencies for both mentor and mentee, little attention has been afforded to research the pedagogical approaches and strategies involving reciprocal and mutual learning during this workplace learning activity in teacher education.
These, potential theoretical implications, and signposts for future research are offered by way of conclusion.
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