Apprenticeship of observation: How past induction as a novice influences current mentoring practice

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2021-12

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Abstract

Teacher mentoring is crucial in supporting new teachers to stay in teaching and learn to teach effectively. Induction and content-based mentoring are assumed especially useful for these purposes. However, mentor teachers need to know how to mentor effectively, and their own teacher induction experiences can shape their learning to mentor. This dissertation examines how secondary science mentor teachers learn to mentor by drawing on their past teacher induction. Framed by the extended theory of apprenticeship of observation and the conception of science-specific mentoring, it analyzes five secondary science mentors' interviews, documents, reflective journals, and observation data. It found that secondary science mentors believed that mentoring was an equal relationship. Mentors should allow novices to “talk out” their problems, and mentoring should develop novice teaching techniques. They also perceived mentoring support as the key to counter novice teachers’ attrition and should cater to the school circumstances. Mentors’ own positive and negative induction experiences shaped their mentoring beliefs importantly. While for practices, mentors felt it was their job to share science content-specific techniques, such as dissection, develop novice’s repertoire of teaching strategies, and encourage novice to observe mentors’ teaching. These practices were shaped by positive and negative experiences they had with their mentor when they were novices. The school and program contexts also influenced practices, such as content understanding checks, the inability to recruit content experts, and coteaching.


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Keywords

Science Education, Mentoring Practice, Learning to Mentor

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