Mentoring student teachers; a vulnerable workplace learning practice

Rachel Lofthouse (Research Centre for Learning and Teaching, School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK)
Ulrike Thomas (Research Centre for Learning and Teaching, School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK)

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education

ISSN: 2046-6854

Publication date: 4 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop an understanding of mentoring as a workplace process. The mentees are post-graduate student teachers hosted in placement schools. The research aims to explore the experiences of key participants in a policy context where the role and scale of school-based teacher training is expanding rapidly.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an interpretative case study of mentoring practices assigned to a secondary level initial teacher training partnership, with the mentors being subject teachers working in school departments which host post-graduate student teachers. The case study was investigated over two years and included focus groups, interviews, questionnaires and content analysis. Participants were student teachers, their mentors and both school-based and university-based tutors.

Findings

Positive experiences of mentoring are not universal. Mentoring interacts with the required processes of monitoring and reporting and in some cases the power structures associated with these processes conflict with the less performative aspects. However, when mentors are offered evidence of student teachers’ perceptions and theoretical constructs of mentoring as practice they can start to recognise that it can be enhanced.

Practical implications

The quality of mentoring in initial teacher education will take on even greater significance in jurisdictions, such as England, where the role of workplace learning is strengthened as a result of changes of government policy.

Originality/value

The outcomes of this study will be relevant to policy makers, school-based mentors and system leaders for teacher education – whether school or university based.

Keywords

Citation

Lofthouse, R. and Thomas, U. (2014), "Mentoring student teachers; a vulnerable workplace learning practice", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 201-218. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMCE-03-2014-0010

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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