Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 36, (November, 2013), p. 166-177.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The purpose of this study is to examine whether quality and frequency of mentoring predict beginning teachers’ development of professional competence and well-being in the first two years of their career.
In particular, the authors investigate the effects of mentoring on teacher efficacy, teacher enthusiasm, beliefs about learning, emotional exhaustion and job satisfaction.
The authors outline two theoretical mentoring approaches: constructivist- and transmission-oriented mentoring, which constitute the theoretical framework of this study.
The participants were 756 German beginning mathematics teachers who participated in a pre-test/post-test study over the course of one year.
Findings indicate that the quality of mentoring rather than its frequency explains a successful career start.
These results showed that most beginning teachers experienced constructivist-oriented mentoring involving opportunities for reflection, experimentation with different teaching methods, and autonomous decision making.
Additionally, beginning teachers who experience constructivist mentoring show higher levels of efficacy, teaching enthusiasm, and job satisfaction.
Constructivist mentoring also reduces emotional exhaustion after one year of training compared to teachers without constructivist mentoring.
However, mentors who supervise their mentees closely and convey their ideas of teaching to their mentee do not successfully foster beginning teachers’ competence and well-being.
Findings also showed that beginning teachers who interacted frequently with their mentors showed less constructivist beliefs when the quality of mentoring was taken into account.
Further the findings revealed that transmission- and constructivist-oriented mentoring represent two qualitatively different approaches that cannot be described as the two poles of a continuum.
The findings suggest that mentor teachers should be carefully selected and should receive training about successful supervision of mentees.
These results indicate that mentors could be chosen on the basis of their supervision practice.
Mentors who provide their mentees with opportunities to practice and support them with help if needed, seem to be more helpful than mentors who closely guide their mentees.
In addition, mentors should participate in trainings to further develop professional competence as teacher educator.