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  1. 1. Mentoring to enhance the learning of pre-service teachers on practicum Dr Ngaire Hoben Faculty of Education, University of Auckland January 2008
  2. 2. Conventional wisdom is that school-based teaching practice is where PSTs learn to teach <ul><li>Both in-service [practicing] and pre-service teachers report that this was where they learned to teach </li></ul>
  3. 3. When asked: “How did you learn to teach?” <ul><li>“ In the classroom, definitely…I learnt a lot more in the classroom than I ever did at teachers’ training college. It’s very valuable… you get to experience what it’s really like…to see what a teacher really does ” </li></ul>
  4. 4. But: <ul><li>What did they learn about teaching? </li></ul><ul><li>What were the practices of their cooperating [supervising] teachers that helped them learn this? </li></ul><ul><li>Was this what was intended they should learn? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Focus of study became: <ul><li>What do cooperating [supervising] teachers actually do to teach their pre-service teachers to teach within a secondary classroom? </li></ul><ul><li>To what extent are these practices enhancing the learning of pre-service teachers, in order that they might, in turn, provide their pupils with opportunities to learn. </li></ul>
  6. 6. In this presentation: <ul><li>Some background information about becoming a teacher in NZ </li></ul><ul><li>Features of this particular teacher education programme </li></ul><ul><li>School-based teaching practice [practicum] </li></ul><ul><li>The project: data sources and sample </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities to learn to teach </li></ul>
  7. 7. This presentation continued…… <ul><li>A tale of two placements: Kate’s story </li></ul><ul><li>Examining the mentoring practices that Kate experienced </li></ul><ul><li>A model for mentoring which provides opportunities for a PST to learn to teach </li></ul><ul><li>Conditions and experiences which allow that to occur on practicum </li></ul><ul><li>Practices of exemplary cooperating teachers/mentors </li></ul>
  8. 8. Becoming a secondary teacher in NZ <ul><li>Main route into secondary teaching in NZ: 3 year undergraduate degree plus </li></ul><ul><li>one year post-graduate diploma </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher education now undertaken at university. </li></ul><ul><li>Should have a “major” in a subject taught at secondary school. </li></ul><ul><li>School-based teaching experience [practicum] a long-established feature [14 weeks] </li></ul><ul><li>Working as a cooperating [supervising] teacher with pre-service teachers restricted to registered teachers [3 rd year+] & is entirely voluntary </li></ul>
  9. 9. Becoming a secondary teacher continued… <ul><li>Small payment to individual cooperating [supervising] teacher, but no time allowance & no preparation for the role </li></ul><ul><li>Graduating Teaching Standards to be introduced 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>No national testing of literacy, numeracy or ICT skills of pre-service teachers [PSTs] </li></ul><ul><li>No curriculum for teacher education & no inspection of teacher ed. providers </li></ul>
  10. 10. Some key features of the programme in this study <ul><li>Underpinned by theory of effective teaching as the provision of opportunities for pupils to learn . </li></ul><ul><li>Students assessed against the criteria supporting opportunities to learn </li></ul>
  11. 11. Opportunities to learn <ul><li>Effective teachers provide opportunities for their pupils to learn what they need to learn ( Berliner, 1987). </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities to learn occur when: </li></ul><ul><li>1] lessons are aligned to appropriate and important curriculum objectives </li></ul><ul><li>2] pupils are cognitively and behaviourally engaged with these objectives </li></ul><ul><li>3] pupils enjoy a high rate of success with learning tasks, and </li></ul><ul><li>Sufficient time is allocated for all this to happen. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Practicum or school-based teaching practice <ul><li>A school-based coordinator liaises between school and university: arranges cooperating [supervising] teachers and timetables </li></ul><ul><li>Two seven-week blocks </li></ul><ul><li>PST typically placed with 2-3 cooperating [supervising] teachers </li></ul><ul><li>usually three classes in total, maximum 4 </li></ul><ul><li>12 [16 maximum] hours timetabled per week </li></ul><ul><li>Cycle of observe/teach/ reflect/ teach etc </li></ul>
  13. 13. Data sources for this study <ul><li>Semi-structured interviews with 55 school-based personnel, 18 pre-service teachers [PSTs] and 5 teacher educators </li></ul><ul><li>Document analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Reports on PST teaching practice by cooperating teachers [CTs] </li></ul><ul><li>Journal entries by PSTs </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback written by CTs </li></ul><ul><li>Observation notes by researcher as VL </li></ul>
  14. 14. The sample <ul><li>12 state co-ed schools in Auckland, NZ </li></ul><ul><li>Geographical spread </li></ul><ul><li>Decile range 1-10 [ where 1 = low SES] </li></ul><ul><li>[lower = 3, middle = 5, upper =4] </li></ul><ul><li>Range of school size: </li></ul><ul><li>Small [roll under 1000, n = 2] </li></ul><ul><li>Medium [roll 1000-1500, n = 5], </li></ul><ul><li>slightly larger [roll1500-2000, n = 2] and </li></ul><ul><li>large [roll greater than 2000, n = 3] </li></ul>
  15. 15. A framework [or simple model] for evaluating practicum <ul><li>Process of developing research questions revealed teacher educators involved had no means of knowing what PSTs gained from practicum - yet </li></ul><ul><li>PSTs spending 44% time on practicum </li></ul><ul><li>university paying relatively large sums to host schools, but with no evaluation of outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Resulted in design of framework/model for evaluating practicum as an opportunity for PSTs to learn to teach </li></ul>
  16. 16. Incorporated within this model: <ul><li>the criteria associated with opportunities to learn (Berliner, 1987, 1990), and </li></ul><ul><li>the values of “Model II” dialogue (Argyris and Schon, 1974) </li></ul><ul><li>Factors connected with cognitive & affective engagement with teaching (Borko and Mayfield, 1995, Beck and Kosnik, 2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Reflected in two dimensions: a task dimension and a relational dimension </li></ul>
  17. 17. Features of a high quality opportunity to learn to teach: <ul><li>Task dimension : </li></ul><ul><li>Criterion 1: Opportunities to teach & to observe cooperating teacher [CT] teaching and reflecting on own practice. </li></ul><ul><li>Criterion 2: Shared planning of outcomes, resources & aligned pedagogy. </li></ul><ul><li>Criterion 3: Provision of quality feedback which is evidence based, critically constructive and sufficiently regular. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Features of a ‘high quality’ opportunity to learn to teach, continued: <ul><li>Relational dimension : </li></ul><ul><li>Criterion 1: High mutual empathy </li></ul><ul><li>Criterion 2: Openness of CT & PST to learning from one another. </li></ul><ul><li>Criterion 3: The CT and PST engage in disclosure and checking of assumptions, expectations and reactions. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Mentoring practices in relation to this framework/model <ul><li>When framework applied to mentoring PSTs experienced, it was evident that practicum was a very variable experience. </li></ul><ul><li>Fewer than 25% of PSTs in the sample enjoyed a ‘high quality’ opportunity to learn to teach. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Espoused practices of CTs: <ul><li>Planned with the PST in preparation for teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Modeled teaching for the PST and articulated their own practice. </li></ul><ul><li>Observed the PST teach and provided feedback after </li></ul><ul><li>Stated their expectations and familiarized their PST with their programme </li></ul>
  21. 21. Actual practices as reported by PSTs <ul><li>Minority [9/32] CTs stated expectations, few made PST fully familiar with programme & very few gave any idea of where proposed lessons fitted. </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility meant different things to CT and PST. 15/32 met regularly, only 3 of 15 gave a set period each week </li></ul><ul><li>28/32 observed most teaching, half gave some written feedback- “unevenly distributed”- and absence of focus on learning </li></ul><ul><li>Very little time given to chatting about teaching – “ they’re so busy ” </li></ul>
  22. 22. Other findings: <ul><li>Cooperating teachers [CTs] motivated to work with PSTs from sense of goodwill to profession </li></ul><ul><li>“ Someone once did this for me ”. </li></ul><ul><li>CTs espoused practices, which if implemented would assist PSTs learn to teach, however, </li></ul><ul><li>The reality – a combination of factors, including an absence of time or preparation for the role, undermines good intentions. </li></ul>
  23. 23. The framework/model applied to two mentoring relationships <ul><li>PST Kate </li></ul><ul><li>A tale involving the worst of times, fortunately followed by the best of times…. </li></ul><ul><li>Cooperating teacher: practicum 1 Rose </li></ul><ul><li>Cooperating teacher: practicum 2 Sam </li></ul>
  24. 24. Cooperating teacher Rose <ul><li>Year 3 teacher [ teaching 2 years 4 months when Kate arrived] </li></ul><ul><li>“ as crazy as it sounds, I’m a senior teacher here”. </li></ul><ul><li>Motivated by belief own training so recent she could help a PST </li></ul><ul><li>Recalled own training as inadequate “not enough practical stuff at TCOL” </li></ul><ul><li>Took on two PSTs simultaneously </li></ul><ul><li>Kate allocated to her for 4 hours per week. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Practicum 1: a story of mounting tension <ul><li>Non-compliant PST [Kate], </li></ul><ul><li>CT under stress, absence of support in a department under stress </li></ul><ul><li>proximity of own training of little use, </li></ul><ul><li>absence of “wisdom” to fall back on? </li></ul><ul><li>“ my partner and I have a young family and are renovating a house and are working full-time ” Rose, year 3 teacher </li></ul>
  26. 26. Wisdom…. <ul><li>A way of knowing that involves expert knowledge at a “personal-professional, theoretical and practical” level (Goodfellow and Sumison, 2000, p 248) </li></ul><ul><li>An alternative view? - possibly not well enough mentored herself to learn good practice while a PST] </li></ul>
  27. 27. PST Kate’s perspective <ul><li>Issues to do with: </li></ul><ul><li>resourcing, </li></ul><ul><li>mismatched beliefs about discipline </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of credibility in feedback </li></ul><ul><li>perceptions of low expectations of CT </li></ul><ul><li>Absence of any sense of welcome either in CT’s classroom or department </li></ul>
  28. 28. The model applied <ul><li>Task Dimension : </li></ul><ul><li>Criterion 1 : Opportunities to teach & to observe supervising teacher teaching and reflecting on own practice. </li></ul><ul><li>Kate did observe Rose, Rose observed Kate but provided no modelling or reflection on practice for Kate </li></ul><ul><li>Criterion 2 : Shared planning of outcomes, resources & aligned pedagogy. </li></ul><ul><li>No real time given for this after 2 sessions . </li></ul>
  29. 29. Model applied… <ul><li>Task Dimension </li></ul><ul><li>Criterion 3 : Provision of quality feedback which is evidence based, critically constructive and sufficiently regular. </li></ul><ul><li>Very little feedback, perceived by Kate to be “all negative ” </li></ul><ul><li>Relational dimension : Criterion 1 : High mutual empathy- Kate felt unwelcome, CT frustrated, little time spent together and high level of tension developed between CT and PST </li></ul>
  30. 30. Model applied….. <ul><li>Relational dimension continued : </li></ul><ul><li>Criterion 2 : Openness of CT & PST to learning from one another – Kate identified those practices of Rose’s she felt she could work with . </li></ul><ul><li>Criterion 3 : The CT and PST engage in disclosure and checking of assumptions, expectations and reactions – no checking of expectations or assumptions and no discussion of points of difference. </li></ul>
  31. 31. With hindsight <ul><li>Context worked against Rose: </li></ul><ul><li>i.e department under stress- understaffed, morale low, moving into new national assessment and qualification with unwilling Head of Department. </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinator [liaison between university & school] ill- no one to turn to for advice </li></ul><ul><li>Own resources & experience insufficient </li></ul>
  32. 32. <ul><li>Practicum 2: A story of development with a positive outcome </li></ul><ul><li>Kate now a little older and wiser & context changes . </li></ul>
  33. 33. After a lesson in which the kids weren’t that interested and were mucking around, Sam asked me “why do you think they weren’t engaged with this, What do you think you could have changed to make this more interesting for them? Is there a different approach you could have made with the same material?”, that kind of stuff, which was really good because it made me think, “well, maybe it’s not the lesson that’s totally crap, but the way I approached it” or “maybe the lesson was bad and the approach was OK”. I had to kind of think, “well, which is it?” (Interview with pre-service teacher Kate)
  34. 34. Cooperating teacher Sam <ul><li>In 10 th year of teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Management units as assistant HoD </li></ul><ul><li>Kate with him TWO classes per week [8 hours] + form class [15 minutes daily] </li></ul><ul><li>Allocated one period a week to meet with Kate for planning, feedback etc </li></ul><ul><li>Co-leader of a small and welcoming department – worked closely together. </li></ul>
  35. 35. Differences in beliefs & practices of cooperating teachers Rose & Sam <ul><li>Differences in key aspects: </li></ul><ul><li>in belief about place of ‘theory” </li></ul><ul><li>in provision of opportunities for shared planning </li></ul><ul><li>in provision of quality feedback </li></ul><ul><li>in level of welcome </li></ul><ul><li>in openness to learning </li></ul><ul><li>in extent to which inquiry and reflection were promoted </li></ul><ul><li>(And of course, in the context – their departments provided very different models of working) </li></ul>
  36. 36. Characteristics of departments providing ‘high quality’ opportunities for PSTs to learn to teach <ul><li>Extended a warm welcome to PSTs </li></ul><ul><li>Placed great emphasis on collegiality and demonstrated it in practice </li></ul><ul><li>Engaged in extensive professional development including regular meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller to medium sized </li></ul><ul><li>Two providing consistently positive experience for PSTs had commitment to mixed-ability teaching </li></ul>
  37. 37. Possible reasons for the gap between espoused and actual practices <ul><li>Expectations not explicitly conveyed by the university [especially in relation to mentoring] </li></ul><ul><li>Mentoring PSTs is of necessity a low priority in schools </li></ul><ul><li>CTs hold variable beliefs about teaching and learning </li></ul><ul><li>Absence of preparation and time allowance for the role </li></ul>
  38. 38. The importance of good cooperating teachers or mentors…. <ul><li>“ Given that our student teachers are going to be our future colleagues in the teaching profession, every attempt should be made to ensure that practicum advisors are not only the very best people available for that task but well prepared to undertake that task” (Clarke, 1997, p. 168). </li></ul>
  39. 39. Some helpful views of mentoring <ul><li>Mentor as “teacher educator” (Feiman-Nemser, 1998) </li></ul><ul><li>Providing “educative mentoring” (Feiman-Nemser, 2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Mentor as “coach and co-inquirer” (Maynard and Furlong, 1993) </li></ul>
  40. 40. Mentoring: a definition. <ul><li>A nurturing process in which a more skilled or a more experienced person, serving as a role model, teaches, sponsors, encourages, counsels and befriends a less skilled or experienced person for the purpose of promoting the latter’s professional and/or personal development. Mentoring functions are carried out within the context of an ongoing, caring relationship between the mentor and protégé (Anderson and Shannon, 1988, p.40). </li></ul>
  41. 41. <ul><li>“ The tools of mentoring – observation, co-planning, co-teaching, joint inquiry, critical conversation and reflection – are also the tools of continuous improvement in teaching” (Feiman-Nemser, 1998, p. 73). </li></ul>
  42. 42. Some thoughts at the conclusion of the study……………… <ul><li>Voluntarism may have served well in the past but current conceptions of mentoring exceed what might be asked or expected of a volunteer </li></ul><ul><li>Grace & favour, hands up, any warm body and baptism by fire have all had their day – but change will not happen without enhanced central resourcing </li></ul><ul><li>Professional goodwill is neither an infinite resource nor an appropriate one on which to base a role as significant as that of supervising teacher/mentor. </li></ul>
  43. 43. References <ul><li>Anderson, E., & Shannon, A. (1988). Towards a Conceptualization of Mentoring. Journal of Teacher Education, 39 (1), 38-42. </li></ul><ul><li>Argyris, C., & Schon, D. (1974). Theory in Practice (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. </li></ul><ul><li>Beck, C., & Kosnik, C. (2000). Associate teachers in pre-service education: Clarifying and enhancing their role. Journal of Education for Teaching, 26 (3), 207-224. </li></ul><ul><li>Berliner, D. C. (1987). Simple views of effective teaching and a simple theory of classroom instruction. In D. C. Berliner & B. Rosenshine (Eds.), Talks to teachers (pp. 93-110). New York: Random House. </li></ul>
  44. 44. <ul><li>Berliner, D. C. (1990). What's All the Fuss About Instructional Time? In The Nature of Time in Schools: Theoretical Concepts, Practitioner Perceptions. New York and London: Teachers College Press, Teachers College, Columbia University. </li></ul><ul><li>Borko, H., & Mayfield, V. (1995). The roles of cooperating teacher and university supervisor in learning to teach. Teaching and Teacher Education, 11 , 501-518 </li></ul><ul><li>Britzman, D. P. (1986). Cultural Myths in the Making of a Teacher. Harvard Educational Review, 56 (4), 442-456. </li></ul><ul><li>Clarke, A. (1997). Advisor as Coach. In J. Loughran & T. Russell (Eds.), Teaching About Teaching . London: Falmer. </li></ul><ul><li>Feiman-Nemser, S. (1998). Teachers as Teacher Educators. European Journal of Teacher Education, 21 (1), 63-74. </li></ul>
  45. 45. <ul><li>Feiman-Nemser, S. (2001a). From Preparation to Practice: Designing a Continuum to Strengthen and Sustain Teaching. Teachers College Record, 103 (6), 1013-1055. </li></ul><ul><li>Goodfellow, J., & Sumsion, J. (2000). Transformative Pathways: Field-based teacher educators' perceptions. Journal of Education for Teaching, 26 (3), 245-257. </li></ul><ul><li>Maynard, T., & Furlong, J. (1993). Learning to Teach and Models of Mentoring. In D. McIntyre, H. Hagger & M. Wilkin (Eds.), Mentoring: Perspectives on School-Based Teacher Education (pp. 69-85). London: Kogan Page. </li></ul><ul><li>Wideen, M., Mayer-Smith, J., & Moon, B. (1998). A critical analysis of the research on learning to teach: Making the case for an ecological perspective on inquiry. Review of Educational Research, 68 (2), 130-178. </li></ul>