Source: Teacher Education Quarterly, Volume 38, No. 3 Summer 2011
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This article examined how mentor teachers help interns in learning to plan lessons.
The participants were six collaborating teachers working with interns at Sandburg Elementary School and their interns. They were invited to participate in a year-long study designed to explore new roles and practices for university and school-based teacher educators.
The author audio-taped the 19 mentor teacher study group sessions held during the school year, kept field notes and collected written documents related to each study group session.
In addition, she held formal interviews with the six collaborating teachers near the end of the study that focused on their beliefs about good teaching and mentoring as well as their experiences as learners of mentoring. The author also conducted a group interview with the six teachers where she asked for their feedback about the collective work in the study group.
The author revealed that some of the interns attempted to teach meaningful content but failed to consider ahead of time the nitty-gritty details or they attempted to teach a lesson that lacked a clear, worthwhile purpose. She understood that the interns often taught from plans that their collaborating teacher had read through and approved of Hence, she wanted to help the collaborating teachers consider playing a larger role in helping interns strengthen individual lesson plans before interns actually taught from those plans.
The author concludes that becoming a teacher of planning requires mentors to possess conceptual and practical knowledge of instructional planning, how novices learn to plan, and how to teach planning. Therefore, mentors must understand what planning entails and they also have developed their capacity as instructional planners/curriculum developers.
Mentors must possess knowledge of interns as learners of planning and know how to use planning—their own and their intern’s—as a site for the novice’s learning. Furthermore, as this study’s findings suggest, mentors must also examine their underlying vision of good teaching in relation to their views about planning.
Given the daunting challenges mentors face in strengthening their capacity to teach planning, the problem then becomes one of helping mentor teachers to develop a new vision for their role as teachers of planning and to expand their capacity in guiding, supporting and assessing interns’ learning to plan.
The author argues that conceptualizing further aspects of mentoring practice and examining core challenges mentor teacher developers face in helping mentors become school-based teacher educators are important next steps.