Content and Context of the Administrative Internship: How Mentoring and Sustained Activities Impact Preparation

February 2013

Source: Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, Vol. 21, No. 1, 59–75, 2013
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study aimed to explore the experiences of administrative interns and mentors at the completion of their experience. The authors were interested to examine the interns' types of activities, and interactions with mentors with a particular focus on the degree to which these were passive or active.

The participants were 17 interns who completed a 320- hour internship experience at five sites, including elementary, middle, and high schools, central office, and a community agency and their mentors.
Data were collected through 17 detailed activity logs, which were written by the interns, and information gleaned from preliminary surveys of both interns and mentors upon completion of their experience.

The authors argue that both mentors and interns entered into the mentoring experience with expectations of their role, some based upon formal communication from the university, while other expectations stemmed from their own assumptions and anecdotal past experiences. The authors found that both mentors and interns reported feeling a need for more explicit guidelines about necessary activities, which implies on task conflict.
The authors also found that both groups expressed dismay at what they saw as lack of clarity by the university guidelines and handbook.
Furthermore, the results reveal that the interns reported inconsistency in the quality of their mentor as educational role models and with the mentors’ understanding of the internship purpose and design.

The authors argue that the findings reveal that ongoing dialogue is critical among the research team, but also among stakeholders such as the intern, site-based mentor, university supervisor, and instructors about what constitutes active involvement and what specific activities and experiences will most effectively prepare aspiring leaders for contemporary school leadership positions.
The authors conclude that many interns reported a sense of completing the internship with compliance and were focused on simply completing time logs and getting in the hours. Hence, they suggest that teacher education programs must move internships from compliance-based activities to meaningful and authentic learning experiences. 

Updated: May. 27, 2018