This introductory paper briefly lays out the historical territory of mentoring in relation to its place in initial teacher education. It examines the problematic nature of some of the terminology and practices historically and currently associated with mentoring as a form of ongoing teacher education for both pre-service and in-service teachers. A vignette of mentoring practice involving a pre-service teacher, a supervising teacher and a university academic working in a ‘space’ of mentoring is analysed using the theoretical work of Voloshinov and Bakhtin. The mentoring actions depicted in the vignette are considered as a dialogic process in which meaning is made in ‘inter-individual’ territory as utterances, in the form of speech acts and texts, are exchanged between participants in this mentoring ‘space’. The analysis raises a number of issues for further discussion which will be taken up by subsequent papers in this session, including: (i) an expanded notion of the ‘spaces’ in which mentoring might occur, who might be in those spaces and how they might act; (ii) why the presenters in this symposium believe it is necessary to the interests of ongoing teacher education, and particularly initial teacher education, to trouble the existing paradigm and enactments of mentoring that continue in many institutions; (iii) how mentoring may be enacted differently in the interests of mutually educative praxis.