Source: Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, Volume 13, Issue 5 October 2007 , pages 481 – 498
This paper reports the findings of a qualitative case study of the benefits for teachers undertaking the role of mentor/supervisor in pre-service teacher education programmes. The research has a particular focus on school-based teacher educators working in rural and/or isolated communities and uncovers the role of reflection associated with professional experience programmes.
The researchers endeavoured to capture the rich tapestry of the variety of settings, both Early Childhood and Primary, in rural New South Wales, Australia. The participants were providing professional support for pre-service teachers with varied levels of experience from first year through to internship. A further complexity was added by including mentors with a wide variation of experience both as mentors and as classroom teachers. Prior research suggests that teachers find the mentoring role to be professionally and personally rewarding.
While this study would support such findings, it also identifies new issues associated with rurality and isolation. Given the complexities of the data sources, the findings expose a breadth and depth of outcomes for the participants engaged in reflective practices. The study gives voice to the teachers involved and makes recommendations to the teaching profession on ways that might better serve the needs of teachers in these communities.