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A year in the mentor's classroom: Perceptions of secondary preservice teachers in high-need schools

Rubén Garza (Department of C&I, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, USA)
Ellen L. Duchaine (Department of C&I, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, USA)
Raymond Reynosa (Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, USA)

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education

ISSN: 2046-6854

Article publication date: 4 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine preservice teachers’ perceptions of their learning and teaching experiences in a mentor's classroom during a year-long field-based placement in a high-need urban school. In addition, the authors sought to examine how the experiences contributed to their professional growth and development as future teachers.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative study used constant comparative analysis (Strauss and Corbin, 1998) to examine preservice teachers’ responses to an open-ended questionnaire, program survey, and also in focus groups about their mentoring experiences.

Findings

The findings provide insight into participants’ mentors’ influence during a year-long placement and into characteristics of effective mentoring that contributed to their growth. Major findings of preservice teachers’ mentoring experiences in a high-need urban setting reflected two dominant themes: experiencing a pedagogical fulcrum and navigating the tributaries of professionalism.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited by the small number of participants from one large public university and included only secondary preservice teachers enrolled in one residency program designed to prepare mathematics, science, and special education teachers. Caution should be taken against generalizing the findings, regarding preservice teachers’ learning and teaching experiences in a mentor's classroom, to resident teachers in other areas due to the small sample size and interpretation of the findings.

Originality/value

The findings provide a different perspective about the mentoring process to that provided by previous studies because preservice teachers learned and taught in the mentor's classroom during one academic school year without being evaluated by the mentor. The findings illuminate preservice teachers’ professional growth fostered by their experiences and highlight characteristics of the mentor's influence that contributed to their development.

Keywords

Citation

Garza, R., L. Duchaine, E. and Reynosa, R. (2014), "A year in the mentor's classroom: Perceptions of secondary preservice teachers in high-need schools", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 219-236. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMCE-07-2013-0044

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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