19 SES 09, Parallel Paper Session
The use of mentoring in educational settings as well as a tool to support pre-service teachers during their education has become more common recently. When it comes to teacher education two trends have been recognised in the relevant literature, one is about the use of mentoring as a way to support the socialization into the academic tradition and another is about mentorship as a tool for professional development. The study that will be presented in the present research paper focuses on the latter, with a point of departure in how a group of pre-service teachers use the mentoring group conversations as a resource in their search for professional knowledge. Previous research (Kizildag & Eriksson, 2013, Kihlström, 2007, Santerini, 2010) have shown that different kinds of group mentoring models have been used as a way to support pre-service teachers construction of professional knowledge. However, there is still a lack of research as to how these conversations are used by pre-service teachers in their search for and construction of professional knowledge.
This research paper aims to contribute with close descriptions of how the pre-service teachers in four mentoring groups use these conversations as a tool in their search for professional knowledge and to investigate how the content in these conversations is related to professional knowledge in formal policy texts.
The mentoring model that will be presented in the present research paper is a formal group mentoring model initiated by the Department of Teacher Education at a Swedish University. According to local policy documents this model aims to support the pre-service teachers in the process of developing professional knowledge and identity. The mentoring group meeting is described as an arena for discussion and reflection over the connection between theoretical knowledge and the teaching practice. The teacher’s professional role and the pre-service teacher´s personal development are topics that ought to be discussed during these meetings. Each mentoring group consists of a mentor, who is an experienced teacher working in preschool or compulsory school, and a group of six to nine students. The group meets for one and a half hour three times per semester during the whole course of their educational program.
A combination of policy ethnography (Beach, 1995, 1997) and critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 1992, 1995, 2003) are used as a theoretical and methodological framework for the data production and the analysis. It is this way feasible to investigate and contextualise the findings in the field of social practice, i.e. the teacher education program and mentoring model, within the framework of national and local teacher education policy. More specifically the theoretical understanding used as an analytical tool when analysing the conversations in the mentoring group is based on a combination of a sociocultural- (Vygotsky, 1978), experiental- (Dewey, 1997, 1999) and conversational perspective (Bachtin, 1981, 1986, 1991). As this contributes to a way of understanding the process of professional development from without the conversational interaction between the pre-service teachers and their mentor as well as the pre-service teachers in between.
References Bachtin, M. (1981). The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press. Bachtin, M. (1986). Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press. Bachtin, M. (1991). Det dialogiska ordet. Gråbo: Anthropos. Beach, D. (1995). Making Sense of the Problems of Change: an Ethnographic Study of a Teacher Education Reform. Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, Göteborg studies in educational sciences, 100. Dewey, J. (1997). Experience and Education. New York: Simon & Schuster. Dewey, J. (1916/1999). Democracy and Education: an Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. New York: Free Press. Fairclough, N. (1992). Discourse and Social Change. Camebridge: Polity Press. Fairclough, N. (1995). Critical Discourse Analysis: the Critical Study of Language. London: Longman. Fairclough, N. (2003). Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research. New York: Routledge. Kihlström, S., Andersson, E., Davidsson, B., Larsson, I. & Arvidsson, I. (2007). Using Diaries, Reflection and Mentorship in Teacher Training. Högskolan i Borås, Institutionen för pedagogik Nr 3:2007. Kizildag, Ayse & Eriksson, Anita (2013). Empowering teacher students for diversity in schools: mentorship model as a mediator in Sweden. In G. Tchibozo (ed.). Cultural and Social Diversity and the Transition from Education to Work. 17, s. 145-162. Santerini, M. (2010). Intercultural competence teacher-training models: the Italian experience. I Centre for Educational Research and Innovation Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: Educating teachers for diversity: meeting the challenge, s. 185-202. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society: the development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard United Press.
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