Source: Professional Development in Education, Vol. 41, No. 1, 40–56, 2015
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This article presents a model of professional development that involves tutoring/mentoring. It also focuses on the interaction between tutor and tutee as perceived by the tutees.
Four tutors assigned to each of the two-year specialization programmes offered at the school of professional development (SPD) for teacher educators. The school is part of an intercollegiate professional development.
This study employed a mixed-methods design methodology comprising a questionnaire that was drafted especially for this research and was based on semi-structured interviews and pilot sampling.
Six educator-graduates were interviewed and 231 graduates responded to the questionnaire.
The results indicate the contribution of tutor's work to the participants’ professional development as perceived by the tutees themselves.
The study also found that tutees noted the required characteristics of a tutor were: : background in education, teaching and teacher education; an advanced academic degree (PhD); expertise in the disciplinary area of the study programme; leadership competencies; knowledge of andragogy; ability to establish interpersonal relations; and prior experience and expertise in research and in tutoring.
The mentor serves as a role-model of collegial tutoring. The tutor is expected to lead and mentor adult learners (the tutees).
The tutor is expected to transform this group into an integrated group in which every member is respected and accepted.
Furthermore, the authors identified three groups of elements regarding tutor's role as the most beneficial to the participants’ professional development, namely: modelling; usage of reflective methods; and bridging between the individual and the group.
Finally, the participants in the study related to two central elements in tutors' work: professional and interpersonal. The professional element stems from the tutor’s expertise in the disciplinary area, and from his practical experience. The tutor is able to bridge between practice and theory. In the course of this process, he contributes to a critical understanding of the content and to a clarification and consolidation of concepts and perceptions.
The authors conclude that this model of tutoring/mentoring strengthens the understanding of the factors that influence professional development.