Mentor Teachers: Internalization of Role, Externalization of Practices and the Relational Agency of Preparation
AuthorReinhardt, Kimberly S.
Teaching & Teacher Education
clinical teacher preparation
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study was an investigation of mentor teachers who work in a Master of Education teacher preparation program. It examined mentors who work with teacher candidates to understand their conceptualization of their purpose in teacher education. The teacher preparation program that was the site of this study placed teacher candidates in the classroom for a year-long field experience aligned with the actual teaching calendar in schools and reflective of the clinical-based preparation called for by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE, 2010). Attention to teacher preparation program outcomes has increased significantly in the past few years (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, 2013; Council of Chief State School Officers, 2013; Greenburg, Pomerance, & Walsh, NCTQ, 2011; NCATE, 2010). Within this focused interest on program outcomes and on the impact well-prepared teachers make on school improvement, field placements are viewed as more essential in the preparation of teacher candidates (Bullough, Draper, Smith, & Birrell, 2004; Korthagen, 2004; Valencia, Martin, Place, & Grossman, 2009; Zeichner, 2010). Therefore, because mentor teachers affect teacher candidates in the field, it is crucial to understand how mentor teachers conceive their role and purpose within teacher preparation, and how they can be supported prior to assuming this responsibility and throughout the time they spend with the teacher candidates. The dissertation research was divided into two major phases: Phase One was a survey administered to all mentor teachers who work with the program (n=54) early in spring, 2014. The analysis of the survey provided the data necessary to use purposeful sampling to select mentors who reported a commitment to diverse mentoring practices. Data was collected on the interview sample (n=6) in Phase Two through interviews and observations to document and analyze how mentors enacted practices that may or may not be consistent with their perceived purpose and role or with the existing literature on mentoring teacher candidates. Considering the importance of this mentoring relationship on the teacher candidates' preparation outcomes, identification of the approaches to mentoring that can be strengthened by preparation are important in order to emphasized these points as part of the development of partnerships that will strengthen the mentoring system. This research offered insight for teacher preparation programs relating to how mentors internalize their role and areas for development that may align mentoring practices with the educative functions that develop responsive teachers. The findings of this study offered suggestions for preparation that target the mentors' professional growth through collaborative and ongoing instructional and personal support.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Teaching & Teacher Education