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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2018

Rachel M. Lofthouse

Teacher education in many countries is under reform with growing differences in its form and function. This is indicative of the ongoing negotiations around the place of…

Abstract

Purpose

Teacher education in many countries is under reform with growing differences in its form and function. This is indicative of the ongoing negotiations around the place of theory, research and practice in teachers’ professional learning. However, the demand for mentoring of trainee teachers during often extended and multiple school-based placements is a relative constant. Indeed, with the trend towards greater school-based professional experience mentoring practices become ever more critical. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper written from the perspective of an experienced teacher educator in England, drawing on both practical experience and a body of associated research. It can be conceptualised as related to cases of practice, linked to episodes of practitioner research grounded in the ethics of the improvability of practice, the desire to meet the needs of the professional communities and a deep understanding of the demands and cultures of their workplaces.

Findings

Mentoring can be re-imagined as a dynamic hub within a practice development-led model for individual professional learning and institutional growth. Acting on this conceptualisation would allow mentors, trainees and other supporting teacher educators to contribute to the transformation of professional learning practices and educational contexts.

Originality/value

This paper goes beyond offering merely helpful guidance to participants and stakeholders in mentoring, or stipulating standards to be achieved, to considering what might be described as a hopeful or transformational stance in relation to mentoring. Teacher educators can continue to bring value to the transformation of teacher education through a focus on mentoring as an educative process.

Details

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 October 2021

Rachel M. Lofthouse, Anthea Rose and Ruth Whiteside

The research demonstrates the role of activity systems based in Cultural Historical Activity Theory as a means of analysing characteristics and efficacy of specific…

Abstract

Purpose

The research demonstrates the role of activity systems based in Cultural Historical Activity Theory as a means of analysing characteristics and efficacy of specific provisions of coaching in education.

Design/methodology/approach

Three examples of coaching in education were selected, involving 51 schools in England. The three examples were re-analysed using activity systems. This drew on existing evaluation evidence, gathered through interviews, questionnaires, focus groups and recordings of coaching.

Findings

In each example, the object of the coaching was to address a specific challenge to secure the desired quality of education. Using activity systems it is possible to demonstrate that coaching has a range of functions (both intended and consequential). The individual examples illustrate the potential of coaching to support change in complex and diverse education settings.

Research limitations/implications

The use of existing data from evaluations means that direct comparisons between examples are not made. While data were collected throughout the duration of each coaching programme no follow-up data was available.

Practical implications

The analysis of the examples of coaching using activity systems provides evidence of the efficacy of specific coaching provision in achieving individually defined objectives related to sustaining and improving specific educational practices.

Originality/value

The research offers insights into how coaching in education might be better tuned to the specific needs of contexts and the challenges experienced by the individuals working in them. In addition, it demonstrates the value of activity systems as an analytical tool to make sense of coaching efficacy.

Details

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 August 2021

Trista Hollweck and Rachel M. Lofthouse

The research examines how contextual coaching (Gorrell and Hoover, 2009; Valentine, 2019) can act as a lever to build collaborative professionalism (Hargreaves and…

Abstract

Purpose

The research examines how contextual coaching (Gorrell and Hoover, 2009; Valentine, 2019) can act as a lever to build collaborative professionalism (Hargreaves and O'Connor, 2018) and lead to school improvement.

Design/methodology/approach

The multi-case study (Stake, 2013) draws on two bespoke examples of contextual coaching in education and uses the ten tenets of collaborative professionalism as a conceptual framework for its abductive analysis. Data from both cases were collected through interviews, focus groups and documentation.

Findings

The findings demonstrate that effective contextual coaching leads to conditions underpinning school improvement. Specifically, there are patterns of alignment with the ten tenets of collaborative professionalism. Whereas contextual coaching is found on four of these tenets (mutual dialogue, joint work, collective responsibility and collaborative inquiry), in more mature coaching programmes, three others (collective autonomy, initiative and efficacy) emerge. There is also evidence that opportunities exist for contextual coaching to be further aligned with the remaining three tenets. The study offers insight into how school improvement can be realized by the development of staff capacity for teacher leadership through contextual coaching.

Research limitations/implications

The impact of coaching in education is enhanced by recognizing the importance of context and the value of iterative design and co-construction.

Practical implications

The principles of contextual coaching are generalizable, but models must be developed to be bespoke and to align with each setting. Collaborative professionalism offers a useful framework to better design and implement contextual coaching programmes.

Originality/value

The research introduces contextual coaching in education, and how coaching can enhance collaborative professionalism in schools.

Details

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 17 June 2022

Cathy Gunning and Rachel Lofthouse

Our focus in this chapter is how we can adopt an attuned teaching approach and why this would be supportive of all children and young people. We explore its significance…

Abstract

Our focus in this chapter is how we can adopt an attuned teaching approach and why this would be supportive of all children and young people. We explore its significance for children who may have experienced trauma through loss of, or separation from, birth family or other significant life experience causing vulnerability. We have chosen to write as if we are in a shared space with you; perhaps you can imagine a conversation in the staff room. We are hoping our experiences and knowledge help you to reflect and provide you with ideas of how to develop your professional practice and to gain confidence.

Details

Understanding Safeguarding for Children and Their Educational Experiences
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80262-709-1

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 May 2012

Rachel Lofthouse and David Wright

The purpose of this paper is to test and develop a new tool for lesson observation and feedback within the context of initial teacher education. The tool was designed to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to test and develop a new tool for lesson observation and feedback within the context of initial teacher education. The tool was designed to align with the practitioner enquiry model of teacher learning underpinning the course, and as such it drew mentors into the mode of responding to their students’ questions.

Design/methodology/approach

The research was undertaken as a Design Study. The design of the tool led to an iterative, collaborative, process‐focused approach to the development of the observation tool. Students and their mentors were encouraged to experiment with and report on their observation experience.

Findings

The observation tool altered the quality of the mentoring relationship through focusing on enquiry as its foundation. Feedback from student teachers and their mentors helped us to define the role of observation in the process of professional learning and to review the nature of the mentoring relationship which emerged.

Practical implications

Significant professional development and learning can be triggered by crossing both real and metaphorical boundaries and as such it is essential that the tools offered to students and their mentors are supportive of divergent learning outcomes, through which each student teacher has the opportunity to transform teaching practices, not simply replicate existing ones.

Originality/value

Observation and feedback in the classroom can be viewed as a “boundary” practice. This new tool can be regarded as a “boundary object” which promotes the use of questions to support the “framing and reframing” necessary for the professional learning and development of the beginning teachers.

Details

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 31 May 2013

Rachel Lofthouse and David Leat

Coaching in educational settings is an alluring concept, as it carries associations with life coaching and well being, sports coaching and achievement and improving…

1288

Abstract

Purpose

Coaching in educational settings is an alluring concept, as it carries associations with life coaching and well being, sports coaching and achievement and improving educational attainment. Although there are examples of successful deployment in schools, there is also evidence that coaching often struggles to meet expectations. This article aims to use socio‐cultural theory to explore why coaching does NOT transplant readily to schools, particularly in England, where the object of coaching activity may be in contradiction to the object of dominant activity in schools – meeting examination targets.

Design/methodology/approach

The article is a conceptual exploration of peer coaching through the lens of cultural historical activity theory, using an empirical base for exemplification.

Findings

It is argued that the results agenda, or performativity culture, in many schools is so strong that coaching is either introduced as part of the dominant discourse which meets resistance from staff, or where it develops in a more organic, “bottom up” approach, it may well clash with managerial cultures which demand accountability and surveillance, which does not sit well with trust‐based coaching partnerships.

Research limitations/implications

The contradictions described in the article suggest that more research is needed to explore how skilled coaches manage some mediation between the meta‐discourse of managerialism and the meso‐ and micro‐discourses underpinning meaningful professional learning.

Practical implications

The article provides encouragement for peer coaches who manage the boundary between trust‐based coaching and performativity agendas.

Originality/value

The application of cultural historical activity theory offers a powerful analytical tool for understanding the interaction of peer coaching with organisational cultures, particularly through their emphasis on different motives or objects for professional learning.

Details

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 6 June 2016

Rachel M. Lofthouse

284

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

Article
Publication date: 4 November 2014

Rachel Lofthouse and Ulrike Thomas

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…

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.

Details

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 17 June 2022

Abstract

Details

Understanding Safeguarding for Children and Their Educational Experiences
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80262-709-1

Book part
Publication date: 17 June 2022

Aidan Gillespie, Helen Woodley and William McGovern

All school staff (teaching and support) now have a duty and obligation to protect and safeguard children in their care. To be able to do this, school staff need to…

Abstract

All school staff (teaching and support) now have a duty and obligation to protect and safeguard children in their care. To be able to do this, school staff need to understand what safeguarding is and how to respond, but also need to understand a number of other concepts such as: why children end up in vulnerable situation in the first place, how teaching practices reduce vulnerability, and how to engage with children and young people in an effective and efficient manner. This chapter explores these latter types of concerns and in doing so identifies that teachers and support staff are key professionals in identifying vulnerability, preventing the escalation of concerns, engaging with children and supporting them and their education over time as they engage with and attend school. This chapter also contains a detailed breakdown of the structure and the content of this edited collection and concludes with reflective comments about the implications of this collection for you as an individual and in your career: working with children and young people in educational establishments.

Details

Understanding Safeguarding for Children and Their Educational Experiences
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80262-709-1

Keywords

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