2.1 Review of related literature Sydney(2012) has done an investigation a pilot mentoring course for classroom basedteachers mentoring a pre-service teacher.
The professional development programcalled ‘Mentoring Certificate’ focusedspecifically on mentoring practices and was not specific. That is, there were no references toprogram requirements or tasks that pre-service teachers were required to do ontheir practicum. The mentoring certificate was designed with two objectives inmind:1. To create opportunities for reflection on thementors own teaching practices so that pre-service teachers are mentoredeffectively.2.
To create opportunities for mentor teachersto identify their own mentoring style and consider mentoring processes in orderto plan for mentoring. The mentoring certificate was designed to be conducted through fourafter school sessions. Each session was two hours in length and the sessionsoccurred weekly. The course included topics that concerned the nature ofmentoring, roles in mentoring and approaches to mentoring. The courseutilized researched based readings, amentoring framework and a personal mentoring plan template.
The structure ofthe course was designed so that participants had the opportunity to engage inprofessional conversations and reflective activities, as well as to developknowledge of mentoring and apply the knowledge to their own context. The coursealso included reflective homework activities for the participants to completebetween sessions. The purpose of the homework activities was to encourageactive application of learning. The professional development used the knowledgetransmission model for implementation. The knowledge transmission model isdescribed by Wang and Odell (2002) as facilitated professional developmentwhereby a presenter presents Information to the participants (mentor teachers) who thenapply it in their own time and way. This model of implementation was chosen dueto time constraints and funding issues. Eleven teachers participated in theprofessional development course.
Nine of the teachers had been teaching formore than fifteen years with two teachers having taught for less than fiveyears. The range of experience of mentoring amongst the participants correlatesto the number of years teaching. As such, the more experienced teachers hadmentored many pre-service teachers and the teachers with limited teachingexperience had only mentored one pre-service teacher previously. This research utilized qualitative survey research.
A short surveywas used to gather a variety of data about the professional development courseand the learning participants realized . This paper reports onthe questions that concerned changed understandings of mentoring and changedpractices of mentoring as a result of participating in the professionaldevelopment. The four questions asked are as follows.1. What have you achieved from the course?2. How did the course promote change how youmentor pre-service teachers?3. Briefly describe some of the processes youuse when mentoring a pre-service teacher4.
What were the changes in your mentoringpractices? The survey was implemented three months after the completion of thementoring course.The responses to the questions were analyzed qualitatively and were coded into themes.It is important to note thatthis research did not collect data on mentoring practices prior to theparticipants undertaking the course, therefore this research did not comparementoring practices before and after, nor did it measure changed practices byway of a scale. This can be considered a limitation of the research as thesurvey has only gathered data about perceived changes in mentoringunderstandings and practices. A further limitation of the research is the smallsample size.
Peter Hudson(2013) study exploresthe mentoring of pre-service teachers in selecting and implementing teachingstrategies to meet students? learning needs. Two case studies involving 28mentor teachers in a professional development program and a mentor-menteepartnership during a four week practicum provided data about mentoring teachingstrategies for differentiated learning. Findings showed that contexts forlearning about differentiation occurred at the pre-action, in-action, andpost-action stages.
Central to each stage were pedagogical knowledge practicessuch as planning, preparation, classroom management, assessment, and problemsolving (reflection-in-action to present solutions to problems) as key toin-action strategizing and the mentoring processes. Mentoring pre-serviceteachers on how to devise teaching strategies for differentiated learning needsto be researched with a wider range of mentors and pre-service teachers,including those at different stages of development.2.2 Datacollection methods and analysisThis interpretive study investigatedmentoring and pre-service teachers? pedagogical development for teachingprimary students.
There were two case studies, viz: (1) 28 mentor teachersinvolved in professional development mentoring pre-service teachers, and (2) afinal-year mentee and her mentor in a four-week practicum. University ethicsapproval and consent from participants were gained before commencing thisqualitative study for which participants were given pseudonyms for anonymity. Case study 1 included experienced mentorteachers (n=28) from different publicschools who were involved in a two-day Mentoring for Effective Teaching (MET)professional development program that focused on mentoring pre-service teachers.They were audio-recorded within six focus groups(approximately four to fiveparticipants in each group) and provided writtendocuments about effective teaching during this two-day period.
During an hoursession, these participants discussed effective teaching strategies andcollated their responses on graphic organizers . They were asked to recordresponses to questions about their favorite teaching strategy, and when, whyand how they use this strategy. To elicit open responses, differentiatedlearning was not mentioned specifically for case study 1, for instance, theywere asked: What are the usual student outcomes when you use this teachingstrategy? The purpose was to formulate a bank of teaching strategies as areference point for mentoring pre-service teachers (see also Hudson, in press). Case study 2 presented dialogues between an experienced mentor teacherand a final-year pre-service teacher (mentee) within a field experience held ina Year 1 public school.
The mentor (Jenna,) and mentee (Rebecca) operated alight-weight digital audio recorder around their necks, which allowed for easeof talking during formal and informal discussions (e.g., walking on playgroundduty or in a staff room). There were 45 audio-recorded dialogues (approx 3minutes to 38 minutes in length) between the mentor and mentee during thefour-week practicum period.
The mentor and mentee were not asked to focus onteaching strategies or target students? differentiated learning for theirdiscussions. Instead, the dialogues in case study 2 were intended to be a”natural” mentoring process where subsequent analysis of teaching strategiesand differentiation could occur. The purpose was to understand the mentoring ofpre-service teachers for selecting and implementing teaching strategies thatdifferentiate learning needs. The fact that they had to use the digital audio recorders presented acaveat that they knew they were being recorded. Nevertheless, 45 recordingsduring the four weeks provided multiple opportunities for analyzing data andthe emergent issues pertinent to the classroom context. As a final-yearpre-service teacher, Rebecca had successfully completed all units assigned to aBachelor of Education (primary) degree with this practicum (used as data inthis study) and a final internship as the last two units to complete. A unit inAustralian universities is 12 credit points with four units (48 points)constituting a full semester load for university students. Data from case studies 1 (n=28)and 2 (mentor-mentee) were transcribed by a research assistant with a PhD.
Forcase study 1, a constant-comparative method was used to collate data intocommon themes (Yin, 2009), while in case study 2, dialogues between the mentorand mentee were available to exemplify the mentoring of teaching strategiesused for differentiated learning. In this study, data were analyzed accordingto the mentoring model framework (Hudson, 2010). Findings from the two casestudies about mentoring pre-service teachers will be presented and analyzedwith further consideration of the pre-action (before teaching), in-action(teaching), and post-action (after teaching) stages to delineate broad timeperiods. 2.3 The Current Study Simons(2012) study, therefore, sought to harness the experience ofteachers’ currently teaching values education in schools by using theirknowledge to inform pre-service teacher education programs. As these teachershave supervised pre-service teachers themselves, they also have some insight intothe ways in which pre-service teacher education programs prepare pre-serviceteachers to teach with a values focus.
Perhaps most importantly, the fact thatthese teachers are currently teaching with a values focus in their classroomevery day means that they are aware of the skills needed, the challenges thatarise, and the benefits that come from teaching with a values focus. As such,they are one very important source of knowledge when considering how to adaptpre-service teaching degrees in order to skill our future teachers in valueseducation.By listening to the stories of currentteachers teaching with a values focus, and applying the findings to pre-serviceteaching degrees, they may be powerful agents for promoting change inpre-service teacher education.2.4 MethodUsing a qualitative case study design, thestudy investigated primary school teachers’ perceptions of teaching valueseducation in Australia and the skills pre-service teachers require to implementa values-based pedagogy effectively. Case study is an exploration of a complexphenomenon from multiple perspectives (Simons, 2009).
One of the strengths ofthe case study design is its foundation in real-life situations which resultsin a rich and holistic account that can often play a vital role in advancing afield’s knowledge base (Merriam, 1998; Simons, 2009). While a small number of teachers contributed to the current study, they were actively engaged inthe phenomenon under discussion (values education) and provided front lineinsight into this area. The richness of qualitative data allows for anintricate exploration of this data to delve into issues and identify themes.2.5 ParticipantsSeven teachers (6 female; 1 male) with 3 to28 years of teaching experience were drawn from three local primary schools inthe Brisbane Metropolitan area. Teachers employed in a primary school settingteach students from Grades 1 to 7, with children aged between 4 and 13 years ofage.
2.6 ConclusionIn conclusion, the teachers in the presentstudy provided an insider’s perspective of what pre-service teachers need toknow in order to be effective at values-based education. These teachers suggestthat being a reflective practitioner is important for a number of reasonsincluding: the modeling teachers expressin the classroom, consistency between spoken ideals and behavior, the abilityto respond sensitively and compassionately to their students and their abilityto engage students in meaningful and thought provoking learning experiences. These findings support current literature that advocate pre-serviceteachers becoming reflective practitioners. Furthermore, the present studysuggests skills such as questioning, active listening and recognizing andsupporting diverse student needs are essential if teachers are to teacheffectively with a values focus.
It does take time and experience to become an effective teacher ofvalues-based education. It requires knowledge about the content they teach,their students, and how they might adapt curriculum materials to enhancestudent learning outcomes. It would seem that more experienced teachers are inan excellent position to mentor pre-service teachers as they strive to create ademocratic classroom. Pre-service teachers need to be exposed to skilled otherswho can model the teaching ‘performance’ to a high standard(Mergler&Tangen, 2010). As teachers beliefs about their ability to teacheffectively and form meaningful connections with their students are formedearly in their teaching career (Woolfolk Hoy, & Burke-Spero, 2005), it isessential that they are mentored by experienced teachers in values educationearly in their degrees.
Mergler (2012) studied about The pre-service teachers in his study and each experienced three different schoolcontexts during their practicum placements for their Bachelor of EducationDegree. The first part of this two stage study was reported in an earlierpaper, (Cattley, 2005), while this current commentary reports on the last partof a project in which pre-service teachers wrote reflective statements in theirfinal practicum and at a follow-up stage five months later. The practicum, as differs from many other studies, is an important pointin teacher formation upon which to focus exploration of professional identity.While other researchers focus on reflective writing for the development of theteaching skills of experienced teachers, fewer authors talk about professionalidentity of pre-service teachers. Atkinson (2004), Sugrue, (2004) and Twiselton(2004) are, however, some exceptions but these focused on reflective discourseon practice whereas this current study focuses on the use of reflective writingand its possible influence on the development of professional identity forpre-service teachers. Given the complexities of the nature of, and responsibilities involvedin teachers’ work (Connelly and Clandinin 1999; Valli,1997), the focus forreflection in this present study was upon non-instructional aspects ofteaching. The importance of a wider focus for teacher development such as thedevelopment of “self as teacher” is supported by writers such as Tickle (1999,p.137) and Bjarnadottir, (2005).
This is not to say however that competence inteaching practice is not important. It is of course inextricably involved inprofessional identity development but it is the notion of teaching as a”relational profession” (Connelly and Clandinin, 1999, p.85) that behooves usto focus on a broad range of school situations in which the pre-serviceteachers find themselves. Their emotional responses to these, warrant attentionrather than the more common single focus on lesson delivery. The process for this part of thestudy involved the eight participants writing reflective logs on at least fouroccasions over their eight week practicum block. The participants were placedin eight different school settings. A further question through email was posedto participants five months after the final practicum.
All participantsvolunteered for this project, were female and in Bachelor of Education coursesranging across all year levels of schooling from junior primary to secondary.These pre-service teachers left school themselves from between 5 and 20 yearspreviously, thereby representing a range of ages and life experience