Source: Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, Vol. 24, No. 5, 415–440, 2016
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study investigates the attitude of mentors toward student teachers’ team teaching in general and toward parallel and sequential teaching in particular. Furthermore, the authors also examine the advantages and disadvantages the mentors see for the actors involved (mentors, student teachers, and learners) and the conditions they consider necessary for successful implementation.
The authors carried out a quasi-experimental study with 14 student teachers and their 7 mentors.
The students enrolled a teacher education program which prepares students who have already obtained their Master’s degree to become secondary school teachers.
The authors conducted semi-structured interviews in order to map their attitudes, the advantages and disadvantages they observe and the conditions for implementation.
The findings indicate that mentors demonstrated an openness toward the use of team teaching during field experiences. They also considered it useful for their own teaching practice and professional development.
The mentors identified advantages for all actors involved. For example, the mentors agreed on the fact that team teaching implies an increased support and more professional growth for student teachers and rich and varied lessons for the learners.
The participants also observed disadvantages. For example, they mentioned that student teachers’ evaluation is more complex and that team teaching entails weaker relationships between the mentor and the student teachers.
In addition, the authors found that some elements were identified as an advantage for one specific actor, but as a disadvantage for another actor. For instance, the mentors mentioned the possibility of comparing student teachers as an advantage for themselves. However, the mutual comparison of the student teachers increased the pressure on them and turned into a disadvantage for them.
The authors examined the attitudes of mentors toward two types of the equal status model of team teaching, namely the parallel and the sequential teaching model. The authors found that the advantages and the disadvantages of one model matched (dis)advantages of the other model and vice versa. The mentors found more advantages in the sequential teaching model.
The participants also identified nine conditions of successful implementation. The mentors considered compatibility between the student teachers as a key element, with the other conditions perceived as less important. The participants mentioned one specific condition regarding the parallel teaching model for successful implementation, i.e. a sufficient number of learners in order to correspond to authentic teaching situations.
The authors conclude that this study contributes to the literature on students’ team teaching and may inspire educators to implement team teaching during field experiences in teacher education.