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Mentoring teacher trainees of mathematics for ESL learners in post-compulsory education: Reflections and challenges

Kevin Norley (Bedford College, Bedford, UK)

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education

ISSN: 2046-6854

Article publication date: 6 March 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the experiences and challenges brought about by subject-specific mentoring within a distinctive learning environment, namely, mathematics for English as a second language (ESL) classes for 16-18-year-olds. The reflection is carried out over the stages of the mentoring process during an academic year within a college of further education in England with the purpose of adding to the store of knowledge on mentoring mentees who are specialists in mathematics.

Design/methodology/approach

The author employs an auto-ethnographic methodology.

Findings

Amongst its conclusions, the author argues that through a mentor demonstrating specific numeracy methods and techniques to mentees, and making them aware of language issues facing ESL learners relating to terminology used in mathematics, mentees are more able to develop their learners’ numeracy skills and relevant language skills, hence facilitating their adaption and integration into the English education system.

Research limitations/implications

Research on the pedagogy of mathematics teaching, as well as language issues relating to terminology used in mathematics, needs to be considered during the mentoring of teacher trainees who are specialists in mathematics. In addition, specific language issues need to be considered for those mentees who are likely to have ESL learners in their classes.

Social implications

In challenging some of the conventions of mathematics teaching, the paper addresses issues of inequality through identifying strategies designed to improve the educational opportunities of 16-18-year-old ESL learners.

Originality/value

The originality of the paper lies not only in its focus on the nuances of subject-specific mentoring, within the context of a particular target group, namely, 16-18-year-old ESL learners studying functional skills mathematics in a college of further education, but in its attempts to address the challenges that can arise when contesting, through theory and practice, education conventions.

Keywords

Citation

Norley, K. (2017), "Mentoring teacher trainees of mathematics for ESL learners in post-compulsory education: Reflections and challenges", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 64-77. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMCE-09-2015-0028

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited