10 SES 06 C, The Role of Mentors and Institutional Factors in Teacher Education
The theme of this article is how two different styles of mentoring preservice teacher is related to mentor self-efficacy and mentor effort in the their work with preservice teachers in teacher education. Student teachers often desire practical advice from mentors in their demanding practice placements; A prevalent mentor practice in Norwegian schools is however characterized by promoting reflections among preservice teachers. Approaches where mentors offer advice on how to act as a teacher (“clear mentoring”) are traditionally not emphasised in mentor training (Lejonberg & Tiplic, 2016). There is reason to believe that mentors in mentor education become familiar with ideas consistent with reflection-based mentoring (Lejonberg, Elstad, & Christophersen, 2015). Quantitative research has seldom focussed on the content and quality of the mentoring given to the student teachers. Nor have we seen many studies about mentors’ support for different forms of mentoring. Previous studies have provided conflicting evidence about whether the key elements of reflection-based mentoring actually promoted professional growth among mentees; likewise, conflicting valuations of the outcomes of mentoring characterised by communication of evaluations, advice, and clear feedback have been made in various analyses. The present study contributes to the field of mentoring by presenting evidence concerning how mentors evaluate different forms of mentoring in teacher education, and by exploring how mentor characteristics such as mentors’ self-efficacy and willingness to prioritise the mentor work relate to mentors’ support for different forms of mentoring. This article also represents a methodological and theoretical contribution. The analysis is done by structural equation modelling; with this methodological approach, there is always uncertainty related to the direction of possible causality. Usually when using this method, the causal arrows have been assigned by the researchers on theoretical grounds. In this case however, we present and discuss all included latent variables as both dependent and independent. In this way we also aim to contribute to general and theoretical discussions of relationships between beliefs about mentoring and characteristics of mentors.
Judging another based on one’s own practical experience can be seen as a less complex approach than using the competencies and preferences of the other as starting point in encouraging their professional development (Loughran & Russell, 1997). Hobson and Malderez (2013) claimed that, in contrast to developmental mentoring, mentoring characterised by too much evaluation, advice, feedback and critique may be an obstacle to mentees’ well-being and professional development. Richter et al. (2013) found that “mentoring that follows constructivist rather than transmittive principles” encourages the self-efficacy of mentees (p. 166). Such findings can be interpreted as arguments for reflection as a key element of mentoring. In contrast to the findings presented in Richter et al. (2013), Lejonberg and Tiplic (2016) presented results which indicated that reflection-based mentoring did not contribute to mentees’ self-efficacy as teachers. On the other hand, transmittive-inspired approaches were related to higher reported levels of self-efficacy. Also, Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006) and Tickle (1993) Kirshner et al. (2006) highlighted the importance of clear guidance when trying to learn something demanding and new. Also, several studies have found that beginning teachers seek concrete feedback and advice on how to perform in their daily work (Joram, 2007; Worum & Bjørndal, 2014). Criticising the reflection-based mentoring practices that are dominant in Scandinavia, Skagen (2013) argued that following such ideas takes the focus away from the skills teachers need. We find that effort is associated with support for reflection, while self-efficacy is moderately related to clear mentoring and more weakly associated with reflection-based mentoring. The findings presented here are interesting as they provide insight into mentors’ preferred mentoring strategies.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efﬁcacy: The exercise of control: New York: Freeman. Byrne, B. M. (2010). Structural equation modeling with AMOS: Basic concepts, applications, and programming: Routledge. Haladyna, T. M., & Rodriguez, M. C. (2013). Developing and validating test items: Routledge. Hobson, A. J., & Malderez, A. (2013). Judgementoring and other threats to realizing the potential of school-based mentoring in teacher education. International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, 2(2), 89-108. Joram, E. (2007). Clashing epistemologies: Aspiring teachers’, practicing teachers’, and professors’ beliefs about knowledge and research in education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23(2), 123-135. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2006.04.032 Kirschner, P. A., Sweller, J., & Clark, R. E. (2006). Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: An analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based teaching. Educational psychologist, 41(2), 75-86. Kline, R. B. (2005). Principles and Practice of Structural Equation Modeling. 2005. New York, NY: Guilford. Lejonberg, E., Elstad, E., & Christophersen, K.-A. (2015). Mentor education: challenging mentors’ beliefs about mentoring. International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, 4(2), 142-158. doi:http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/IJMCE-10-2014-0034 Lejonberg, E., & Tiplic, D. (2016). Clear Mentoring: Contributing to Mentees’ Professional Self-confidence and Intention to Stay in their Job. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 1-16. Loughran, J., & Russell, T. (1997). Meeting student teachers on their own terms: Experience precedes understanding. Constructivist teacher education: Building a world of new understandings, 164-181. Richter, D., Kunter, M., Lüdtke, O., Klusmann, U., Anders, Y., & Baumert, J. (2013). How different mentoring approaches affect beginning teachers' development in the first years of practice. Teaching and Teacher Education, 36, 166-177. Skagen, K. (2013). I veiledningens landskap: innføring i veiledning og rådgivning: [The landscape of mentoring] Cappelen Damm Akademisk. Tickle, L. (1993). Capital T teaching. In J. Elliott (Ed.), Reconstructing Teacher Education (RLE Edy N) (pp. 110-124). London: The Falmer Press. Worum, K. S., & Bjørndal, C. R. P. (2014). Studenter og veilederes perspektiver på praksisveiledningens kvalitet i barnehagelærerutdanning. [Students and mentors perspectives on mentoring in preschool preparation]. Paper presented at the Veilederkonferansen, Bodø. http://www.uin.no/omuin/fakulteter/phs/konferanser/veilederkonferansen/Documents/Worum_Bjørndal.pdf
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