Exemplary Mentors' Perspectives towards Mentoring across Mentoring Contexts: Lessons from Collective Case Studies

Apr. 21, 2010

This article was published in Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol. 26, Issue 3, Author(s): Lily Orland-Barak and Ronit Hasin, “Exemplary Mentors' Perspectives towards Mentoring across Mentoring Contexts: Lessons from Collective Case Studies“, Pages 427-437, Copyright Elsevier (April 2010).

Framed as collective case studies, this study examined the perspectives that mentors, who are considered exemplary in the field, exhibit towards mentoring in different mentoring contexts in the Israeli school system.
These perspectives were examined from a variety of view points: The mentors themselves, their mentees, supervisors, school principals, and project leaders.
Mentoring contexts are distinguished by their organisational, instructional and professional orientations towards teaching and mentoring. Perspectives towards mentoring are reflected in the language that the mentor uses in order to describe his/her work and the behavior that the mentor exhibits as it plays out in his/her actions.

The findings reveal that, despite the different contexts of practice, star mentors shared common perspectives towards mentoring in terms of educational ideologies and envisioned roles and practices, exhibited through the use of a similar professional language.

The authors also learned that these attributed meanings were highly congruent with their mentees, principals, supervisors and colleagues' perceptions of the mentors' practice.

The common emergent themes that surfaced in mentors and their respective participants' characterizations of their practice were: Organisational skills, interpersonal relationships, integration of theory and practice, knowledge and expertise, challenge, modelling and reflexivity. Mentors also acted upon some of these characterizations in unique, idiosyncratic ways, guided by the distinctiveness of their organisational and educational mentoring context.

The authors identified similar ideologies and beliefs across contexts, but also differences as to the emphasis that each mentor gave to a particular aspect of organisation, knowledge and relationships.

Updated: Aug. 03, 2010