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Mentoring as meaningful professional development: The influence of mentoring on in-service teachers' identity and practice

William Walters (Department of Teacher Education, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Canada)
Daniel Bruce Robinson (Department of Teacher Education, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Canada)
Jared Walters (Department of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada)

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education

ISSN: 2046-6854

Article publication date: 30 September 2019

Issue publication date: 19 February 2020

Abstract

Purpose

Within teacher education, many experienced in-service teachers routinely mentor pre-service teachers during teaching practicums. Notwithstanding the benefits pre-service teachers are meant to experience from these mentor–protégé relationships and experiences, recent research has demonstrated that mentors, too, may experience some (oftentimes unintended) potential benefits. The purpose of this paper is to further investigate such potential benefits within a Canadian secondary school physical education (PE) context.

Design/methodology/approach

The researchers employed a qualitative case study methodology. The three primary data sources included field observations/notes, journals and interviews. More specifically, over a ten-week period, the researchers made 26 field visits, observing two mentors’ interactions with five protégés before, during, and after PE class instruction; collected the two mentors’ ten journal entries, all made in response to researcher-provided writing prompts; and interviewed the two mentors, both individually and together.

Findings

The mentor teachers viewed the mentor–protégé relationship/experience as meaningful professional development, recognizing that it approximated a professional learning community. Relatedly, the mentor teachers experienced professional growth with respect to their own teaching identity and teaching practice.

Research limitations/implications

This research could inform those who structure and/or coordinate mentoring research within teacher education programs so that they might place a more purposeful focus upon the potential and/or idealized outcomes for mentors (as well as for protégés). Given the single case study methodology, this research may lack generalizability to other educational contexts.

Originality/value

This research adds to the emerging body of research that investigates how mentoring may provide benefits to mentors. More specifically, this research suggests benefits to mentors relate, especially, to their own teaching identity and practice.

Keywords

Citation

Walters, W., Robinson, D.B. and Walters, J. (2020), "Mentoring as meaningful professional development: The influence of mentoring on in-service teachers' identity and practice", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 21-36. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMCE-01-2019-0005

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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