Mentoring Teacher Trainees of Mathematics for ESL Learners in Post-Compulsory Education Reflections and Challenges

February, 2017

Source: International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 6 No. 1, 2017, pp. 64-77
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article aims to reflect on the experiences and challenges of a mentor, which brought about by subject-specific mentoring within mathematics for English as a second language (ESL) classes for 16-18-year-olds.

The participants were a mentor and his three teacher trainees, who undertook their Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in post-compulsory education within a college of further education in England.

The author used an auto-ethnographic methodology.
He observed the students and conducted discussions with them on the mentoring process.

This article has provided a mentor’s perspective on the enactment of mentoring in a specific context. The author has demonstrated how specific guidance in the mentoring literature may be enacted and provided support.
Furthermore, the author emphasized the importance of mentors’ and mentees’ attention to the detail of the particular context, notably – in this case – the issues faced by ESL learners of mathematics in post-compulsory education in England.
The author also discusses his rationale in terms of teaching methods and diversity.
He argues that his rationale during the course of his mentoring over the year has been to expose his mentees to a combination of aspects of his own and others’ knowledge, experience and values gained from the teaching of mathematics in general and mathematics for ESL learners in particular. He exposed his mentees to research from theorists and practitioners that has impacted upon, and informed, his own viewpoints in relation to teaching methods.

The author argues that the ESL learners are drawn from a fluctuating, and increasing, migrant and refugee population. He emphasized that enabling a mentee to recognise and appreciate the value of the diversity of his/her learners is useful in that it can assist them to understand and address their individual needs more effectively.
The author concludes that this article advocates that mentors who are specialists in mathematics in the post-16 sector need to develop better ESL awareness, including a more nuanced understanding of the language relating to mathematics.
The author argues that having experience of teaching in the relevant subject area and of observing others teaching, along with an awareness of the value of critical reflection, is important in performing the role of a mentor. 

Updated: Nov. 01, 2018