Intensive Mentoring that Contributes to Change in Beginning Elementary Teachers’ Learning to Lead Classroom Discussions

Jan. 02, 2012

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol. 28, Issue 1, January 2012, p. 32-43.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

In this article, the authors examined whether intensive mentoring program that is devoted to a specific and important aspect of teaching can have an effect on classroom practice.
The authors assumed that teacher effectiveness can be improved by helping teachers develop certain competencies that are related to quality teaching, rather then focusing on isolated skills (Kyriakides, Creemers, & Antoniou, 2009).

Method and Participants
The authors compared between two groups of beginning teachers.
Forty two beginning elementary teachers participated in a yearlong intensive mentoring program. This program focused on learning to facilitate text-based discussions that foster higher-level thinking in language arts.
Forty one beginning teachers participated in the second group which was not part of the treatment.

The study took place across one school year in a large high-poverty school district in the Southeastern United States.

The teachers in the treatment group worked with full-release mentors about leading classroom discussions.
The mentors were asked to focus their weekly interactions with beginning teachers on building classroom communities that were conducive to leading text-based discussions to promote higher-order thinking.
Teachers in the comparison condition received the district’s “standard” mentoring program, which consisted of assigning a beginning teacher to a school-based mentor who was also a full-time teacher.
The teachers in the comparison group did not have prepared, full-release mentors to support them.


The findings indicate that this mentoring intervention had an effect on beginning teachers’ practice in leading classroom discussions after one year in the mentoring program.
The results show that teachers in the district treatment group improved as compared to a similar group of beginning teachers in the district who did not participate in the treatment.


This intervention has the potential to assist teachers, administrators and staff developers in improving the quality of instruction in a focused and quantifiable way.

Kyriakides, L., Creemers, B. P. M., & Antoniou, P. (2009). Teacher behavior and student outcomes: suggestions for research on teacher training and professional development. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25, 12-23.

Updated: Aug. 29, 2012