01 SES 08 C, Building Mentoring Relationships
Despite an increased interest in the professional experience component of initial teacher education programs, there has been limited investment in learning resources designed to improve the capacity of mentor teachers to provide effective guidance for pre-service teachers. This paper reports on the development and impact of an online learning program designed to build the capacity of mentor teachers to effectively support pre-service teachers undertaking a Master of Teaching program across early childhood, primary and secondary education streams in an Australian university.
This paper discusses the design of the online professional development program aiming to equip mentor teachers to work within a clinical approach to teaching. This approach conceives teaching as a clinical practice profession and advocates strong connectivity between educational theories, professional knowledge and classroom experience. It requires teachers to become practitioners of clinical teaching, focused on the growth of students using an inclusive, developmental, intervention based approach that utilizes deep learning and evidence based strategies.
The online professional development program is designed to support mentor teachers working within a clinical approach to teacher education. It highlights the importance of conceptualising mentoring as a ‘process’ that facilitates the development of pre-service teachers’ reflection, supportive relationships, and professional and personal learning. The mentoring process helps pre-service teachers to cultivate clinical practice, build their capacity to integrate theory and practice and make evidence based decisions about their teaching using relevant student learning data and research evidence.
This paper discusses the conceptual framework informing the professional learning program. It recognizes that mentor teacher professional learning is situated in complex application relevant and practice relevant contexts. It takes into account the learning content and emphasizes developmental and reflective processes. Moreover, the pedagogical design of the online professional development program is informed by evidence-based principles for the delivery of online professional learning. It highlights the importance of designing high quality interactive and self directed learning experiences, usinga variety of online strategies, such as, video demonstrations.
To determine the effectiveness of the online professional learning programs, mentor teachers are invited to complete online surveys and participate in individual and group interviews. School leaders are also invited to participate in individual and group interviews to explore impact of professional learning on pre-service teachers and more generally school communities.
By accessing online professional development, there is an expectation that mentor teachers would be better placed to work in partnership with the university. Their capacity would be built to work jointly with the university in facilitating professional development of pre-service teacher, by taking a common approach to provision of feedback on teaching and assessment of teaching performance. Indirectly, there is an expectation that pre-service teachers would be better supported in their learning through the school - university partnership arrangement.
Kriewaldt, J., McLean Davies, L. Rice, S., Rickards, F., Acquaro, D. (2017) Clinical Practice in Education: Towards a Conceptual Framework, in M.A. Peters et al (eds), A Companion to Research in Teacher Education. Burn, K., Mutton, T., (2013) Review of Research Informed Clinical practice in Initial Teacher Education. British Educational Research Association Aspfors, J. & Fransson, G. Research on mentor education for mentors of newly qualified teachers: A qualitative meta-synthesis, Volume 48, May 2015, Pages 75–86 Grossman, P. (2010) Learning to practice: The design of clinical experience in teacher preparation. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) and National Education Association (NEA) http://www.meshguides.org/
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