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Mentoring associate teachers in initial teacher education: the value of dialogic feedback

Luke Jones (Faculty of Education and Children’s Services, University of Chester, Chester, UK)
Steven Tones (Faculty of Education and Children’s Services, University of Chester, Chester, UK)
Gethin Foulkes (Faculty of Education and Children’s Services, University of Chester, Chester, UK)

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education

ISSN: 2046-6854

Article publication date: 8 May 2018

Issue publication date: 23 May 2018

852

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse feedback in the context of secondary initial teacher education (ITE) in England. More specifically, it aims to examine the feedback experiences of physical education (PE) subject mentors and their associate teachers (ATs) during a one-year postgraduate programme.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews, with nine PE mentors and 11 ATs within a university ITE partnership, were used to explore lesson feedback and the context in which it was provided. Interview data from the 20 participants were analysed through constant comparison to categorise content and identify patterns of responses.

Findings

Mentors were well versed in the formal feedback mechanism of a written lesson observation. This approach is well established and accepted within ITE, but the dialogic feedback that follows lessons was thought to be where ATs made most progress. These learning conversations were seen to provide less formal but more authentic feedback for those learning to teach, and were most successful when founded on positive and collaborative relationships between the mentor and the ATs.

Practical implications

These findings have implications for providers of teacher education and more specifically how they approach mentor training. The focus on lesson observations has value, but examining more informal dialogic approaches to feedback may have more impact on the learning of ATs.

Originality/value

These findings support the value of lesson feedback but challenge the primacy of formal written lesson observations. The learning conversations that follow lessons are shown to provide authentic feedback for ATs.

Keywords

Citation

Jones, L., Tones, S. and Foulkes, G. (2018), "Mentoring associate teachers in initial teacher education: the value of dialogic feedback", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 127-138. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMCE-07-2017-0051

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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