The database used for the present paper was the EBSCO host. The tutorial watched was the ‘EBSCO advanced search – guided style’ one. The newly acquired knowledge included the way to apply limiters and expanders during the search process, where to enter the search term and which fields to search (subject terms).
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It also became clear how results could be refined after the search had been completed, and how one could ensure the increased result refinement by sorting the sources according to the source type. The process used to locate the articles was the search by keywords ‘mentoring of new teachers’.
The educational sphere deserves particular attention, and pedagogics is not an exception. This paper is focused on research findings on mentoring of new teachers, conducted by two different groups of researchers. Pedagogics goes hand in hand to educational developments in the spheres of teaching and learning.
Mentoring of new teachers has become one of the most spread topics within pedagogics and methodology. The aim of the paper is to reveal the nature of mentoring, outline key elements of two research findings, and compare them.
British researcher, Kim Brown (2001), examined the problem of mentoring of newly qualified language teachers. This perspective seems to be of current interest, because thousands of newly-qualified and graduated teachers may face the same problems during their first year of teaching.
According to the author’s findings, “conflicts over teaching language methodology, in particular, emerge as a contributory factor in the breakdown of relationships between these teachers and their mentors” (Brown, 2001, p. 69). Proceeding from this statement, mentoring may lead to misunderstanding.
Brown observed six teachers with different experiences, who received different kinds of their mentors’ support. In the results of the analysis of the research, the author comments upon the findings. The research shows that a new teacher may perceive his mentor’s support in a different way.
In its turn, it causes many challenges for a young teacher. A mentor is considered to be “a reflection of seniority and experience” (Brown, 2001, p. 71), who has a positive influence on a teacher. Ideally, a mentor and a teacher should have “a shared vision of effective language teaching methodology” (Brown, 2001, p. 71).
Two teachers received formal induction support that was expressed in available and reliable mentor’s help, regular meetings of the teacher with the mentor, and a “good teamwork and liaison” (Brown, 2001, p. 74).
Four teachers received informal induction support, where there were the following negative characteristics: mentor’s non-membership to a language department, absence of special programs for newly qualified teachers, irregular meetings of teachers with their mentors. Consequently, conflicts and absence of positive role models are basic aspects of unsatisfactory experiences of mentoring.
The results of the findings show that “it is precisely the shared understanding of subject-specific issues which helps to ensure successful induction for newly qualified teachers” (Brown, 2001, p. 87). Thus, a positive experience of mentoring helps a newly qualified teacher to survive at the beginning of his/her pedagogical career.
The second research illustrates the positive experience of mentoring; it seems to deepen the previous research. The research, conducted by a group of researchers, is focused on the mentors’ program of support for teachers.
The activity of an Ohio career center inspired the research, because this “center provides strong support for its new teachers because it recognizes that mentoring can be as important for them as it is for their students” (Lynch et al., 2006, p. 24). The findings show the core of this program, and details of the successful and effective mentoring.
According to the program, a true mentor should be “knowledgeable and skillful in the observation and conferencing process” (Lynch et al., 2006, p. 25). For successful mentoring, these features are primarily essential. Also, the program claims that “the mentoring program is a complex process that involves support, assistance and guidance but not evaluation of the mentee” (Lynch et al., 2006, p. 25).
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What is the core of successful mentoring? There are several integral parts of the effective mentoring: a positive rapport, high level of trust, practicing the skills of an effective teacher, implementation of necessary and correct methods of classroom management and discipline. Mentors should “wear three hats: coach, collaborator, and cheerleader” (Lynch et al., 2006, p. 26).
Thus, mentoring means support, encouragement, listening and facilitation of self-reliance. In achieving the aim, the program suggests its means: assembling a motivated team, qualitative administration, regular meetings with teachers, and professional consultations with an experienced mentor.
Taking everything into consideration, some conclusions about mentoring of new teachers can be made. The focuses of the both researches are different, but the idea of positive mentoring experience is common.
Positive mentoring is characterized by the senior role of skillful and experienced mentor, who plays an active part in teachers’ pedagogical life. One of the main aims of the effective mentoring of new teachers is to establish cooperation and good relationships with them by means of trust and reliable help.
Brown, K. (2001). Mentoring and the Retention of Newly Qualified Language Teachers. Cambridge Journal of Education, Vol. 31 (1), 69-88.
Lynch, J., Rose, J. De, & Kleindienst G. (2006). Mentoring New Teachers. Techniques: Connecting Education & Careers, Vol. 81 (6), 24-28.