Science and Mathematics Mentees and Mentors: Who Benefits the Most?*

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Published: 
Jul. 01, 2016

Source: Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, Vol. 24, No. 3, 213–227, 2016
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this study was two folded: Firstly, to determine if there was evidence that the additional components increased persistence in teaching, and, secondly, to determine the perceived effectiveness of the required mentor professional learning and the perceived effectiveness of mentoring by the mentees.

Methods
School district designee, mentor, and teacher perceptions of mentoring support were collected through the use of interviews and surveys.
The participants were school district designee, 81 mentees in the five partner school districts and their 54 mentors during the 2013–2014 school year.
 

Discussion

Findings offer insight for structuring mentor models to increase effectiveness and persistence of teachers and build the capacity of mentors.
The findings reveal that providing mentoring for novice teachers is essential to their effectiveness and persistence in teaching. Furthermore, mentees noted that they wanted to have more reciprocal observations and feedback with their mentors and wanted to co-plan instruction for greater effectiveness.

Mentors reported that they grew professionally from the mentoring and shared experiences with the mentee, which included participation on lesson study research teams and professional learning. STEM mentors were influenced in their teaching and in increased reflection related to their communication with colleagues.

School district designees, mentors, and mentees were consistent in noting the need for more contact time. Specific suggestions were face-to-face time, observations and feedback, co-planning instruction, and team teaching.
The most common change mentors made was that they incorporated new strategies into their teaching. The participants agreed that teaching the same course was important so that the co-planning and knowledge of target standards would be useful. In contrast to the school district designees, the mentors and mentees believe that they should work in close proximity, although there are courses for which there may be only one teacher in a school necessitating either a mentor who does not teach the same course or the mentor is in another school.

Through this research, the authors offer insight for educational administrators on what both resident teachers and mentor teachers perceive as the critical components of an effective mentor model, and additionally, show the relationship between differing mentor models’ effectiveness and persistence of resident teachers in teaching. Educational leaders will be challenged to create more time for authentic discussions and feedback between mentors and mentees, while being bound by the current time and budget constraints faced in the educational arena.
 

Conclusions

School districts are faced with considerable challenges when it comes to leveraging resources to create the most effective and comprehensive induction programs for beginning teachers. With greater accountability in education, school district leaders must closely examine the use of their financial resources and consider the most efficient and beneficial ways to assure a positive return on investment. Recommendations by the participants for effective mentor models also provide insight to be considered.

Updated: Feb. 26, 2017
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