10 SES 08 D, Partnership-Based Mentoring and Minority Teacher-training
Globally, there have been a number of reports concerning teacher attrition especially among those in their early careers (Guarino et al., 2006; OECD, 2005; Towse et al 2002). The challenges that ECTs face are often complex and dynamic, and involve a range of personnel, organisations, environments. These are often influenced by local and national policy and practices. Research has further shown that the retention of early career teachers (ECTs) is strongly influenced by a gradual and supported immersion into a community of practice of teachers (Wenger, 1998; Samaras & Gismondi, 1998). It is generally viewed that the professional learning and development support frameworks with elements of mentoring can have lasting effects on the quality of practice of ECTs.
It is argued that the development of collaborative partnerships, which recognise the expertise of both schools and university, and are fostered on trust and mutual respect, have been encouraged in many countries to ensure a smooth transition for ECTs (Furlong et al. 2000; Sachs, 2003; Moran et al, 2009; Jeffrey & Tobias 2009). It has been suggested that such partnerships may help create democratic spaces in which “academic and practitioner knowledge...come together in less hierarchical ways in the service of [student teachers, teachers and teacher educators]” (Zeichner, 2010: 89).
However, international researchers have found that there exist tensions and problems in building successful collaborative partnerships (Lynch and Smith, 2012; Smith, Brisard, & Mentor, 2006). This position is reflected in one of the key policy recommendations (15) of the most recent review of teacher education in Scotland:
“New and strengthened models of partnership among universities, local authorities, schools and individual teachers need to be developed. These partnerships should be based on jointly agreed principles and involve shared responsibility for key areas of teacher education” (Donaldson, 2011, p.91).
Internationally, partnerships have been be variously contextualised and take many different forms dependent on context and activities in focus. Their mechanisms (and effectiveness) are often underpinned by a number of theoretical and conceptual frameworks including expansive communities of practice (Wenger, 1998; Roth and Lee, 2007), mentoring (Crutcher & Naseem, 2016) and models of professional and lifelong learning (Kennedy, 2014)
This paper reports on research undertaken to investigate partnership-based mentoring between a Scottish University and two local authority partners. The project, funded by the Scottish Government, was to support ECTs to undertake classroom based practitioner enquiry, as part of their professional learning and development programme during their Induction year.
The partnership was devised with a view to providing a multi-level supportive framework for all participants within a collaborative mentoring frame. Groups of ECTs (around 200 in total) were supported through the practitioner enquiry process by local authority mentors (11) who, in turn, were mentored by University tutors (5), through involvement in a number of activities.
The project aimed to build professional capacity through partnership-based mentoring by:
- Providing support to ECTs to develop classroom-based practitioner enquiry skills to facilitate the development of practice, and generate evidence to provide deeper insights into pupil learning;
- Providing support to local authority mentors and university tutors to develop mentoring skills in the context of practitioner enquiry.
The research reported aimed to:
- Critically investigate the implementation and effectiveness of the partnership-based support model adopted, with a view to informing future practice and guiding policy development;
- Critically explore the influence of the support model on the professional development of all partners.
Crutcher P.A., & Naseem, S. (2016) Cheerleading and cynicism of effective mentoring in current empirical research. Educational Review, 68:1, 40-55. Donaldson, G. (2011). Teaching Scotland’s Future. Report of a review of teacher education in Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Government. Furlong, J., Barton, L., Miles, S., Whiting, C. and Whitty, G. (2000). Teacher education in transition – Reforming professionalism? Buckingham: Open University Press. Jeffrey, J. and Tobias, R. (2009) Circle of Enquiry: partnership researchers’ perspective on school-university collaborative processes. AERA Annual Conference, San Diego. Kennedy, A. (2014) Models of Continuing Professional Development: a framework for analysis. Professional Development in Education (3) 336-351. Lynch, D., & Smith, R. (2012) teacher education partnerships: an Australian research-based perspective. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 37(11), 132-145. Mertens, D. (2005). Research and Evaluation in education and psychology. Integrating diversity with quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods. Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage. Moran, A., Abbott, L., and Clarke, L. (2009) Reconceptualizing partnerships across the teacher education continuum. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23, 952-958. OECD (2005). Teacher matters. Attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/35/49/35004200.pdf (2005) Retrieved on 28.07.2009 Roth, W. & Lee, Y (2007) Vygotsky’s neglected legacy: a cultural-historical activity theory. Review of educational Research. 77(2), 186-232. Sachs, J. (2003). The activist teaching profession. Buckingham: Open University. Samaras, A. , and Gismondi, S. (1998) Scaffold in the field: Vygotskian interpretation in a teacher education program. Teaching and Teacher Education 14, 7, 715 – 733. Smith, I., Brisard, E., & Menter, I. (2006) Models of partnership development in initial teacher education in the four components of the UK: recent trends and current practices. Journal of Education for Teaching, 32(2), 147-164. Towse, P., Kent, D., Osaki, F., Kirua. (2002). Non-graduate teacher recruitment and retention: some factors affecting teacher effectiveness in Tanzania. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18 (2002), pp. 637–652 Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Zeichner, K (2010). Rethinking the connections between campus courses and field experiences in college-and University-Based teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education 61, (1 – 2); 89 – 99
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