01 SES 16 A, Ecosystems of Teacher Development Part 2
Symposium continued from 01 SES 14 A, to be continued in 01 SES 17 A
The induction phase of teaching career can be conceptualized as an ‘ecological niche’, located in the narrow slot between the initial teacher education and the school life. This study examines empirical experiences of a Peer-Group Mentoring (PGM) model which has been developed especially for this niche. In this model, student teachers and experienced teachers participate in a group facilitated by an educated mentor. This version of PGM is also called a ‘Hybrid Peer-Group Mentoring’. This collaborative form of mentoring has been developed through a series of action research projects in Finland in 2006 – 18 (e.g. Kiviniemi, Tynjälä, Martin & Heikkinen 2018). The developed Hybrid PGM connects the often separate, generational teacher subgroups - student teachers and teachers - together. The idea is to induce the newcomers to the teacher profession and to promote bidirectional and inter-generational learning. Here the interdependently co-existing parties interrelate under social practice of PGM refining and increasing the group's common understanding on being a teacher and feeding each other with new input. (Korhonen, Heikkinen, Kiviniemi & Tynjälä 2017). Experiences of the in-service participants were studied by interviewing them, and the data was analysed through thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke 2006). The analysis focused on teachers’ individual perceptions and experiences. Four main themes were identified: 1) Enjoying group activities, 2) Personal professional development, 3) Attaching to the professional community, and 4) Developing the teacher profession. Though there was much variation in participating teachers’ experiences of Hybrid PGM the procedure provides synergies for pre- and in-service teacher development programmes. The scope of how teachers perceived their professional practices varied from individual and practical thinking to communal and ideological thinking. Along with their own professional development, the teachers perceived the procedure as an arena to develop actively current teacher education. They were eager to support the students and share their professional expertise with the newcomers but at the same time reform and rebuild the profession. The teachers did not consider the student teachers as competitors, but as successors in the dynamic professional sequence. The study shows that the hybrid model of peer-group mentoring enables opportunities for teacher learning that benefit both schools and teacher education institutions. The result of this study can be regarded as a textbook example of the benefits of intergenerational learning, where older generations of teachers learn from their fresh young colleagues and vice versa (Geeraerts, Vanhoof, & Van den Bossche, 2016).
Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), pp. 77–101. Geeraerts, K., Vanhoof, J. & Van den Bossche, P. (2016). Teachers’ perceptions of intergenerational knowledge flows. Teaching and Teacher Education, 56, 150–161. Heikkinen, H., Jokinen, H. & Tynjälä, P. (2008). Reconceptualising mentoring as a dialogue. In G. Fransson & C. Gustavsson (Eds.), Newly qualified teachers in Northern Europe. University of Gävle, Teacher Education, Research Publication 4, 107–124. Kiviniemi, U., Tynjälä, P, Martin, A. & Heikkinen, H. (2018). Student teachers’ experiences of participating in mixed peer mentoring groups of in-service and pre-service teachers in Finland. Teaching and Teacher Education, 61, 153–163. Korhonen, H., Heikkinen, H., Kiviniemi, U. & Tynjälä, P. (2017). Student teachers’ experiences of participating in mixed peer mentoring groups of in-service and pre-service teachers in Finland. Teaching and Teacher Education, 61, 153.
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