Mentoring as a support mechanism for teaching practice by teachers in Higher Education

Year: 2007

Author: Petersen, Lesley

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Mentoring has been identified as a mechanism for support teaching practice, in the compulsory school and higher education contexts (Elliot, 2000; Feiman-Nemser, 1996). Informal dialogue with institutions across New Zealand has identified variable systems for supporting the teaching practices of academic staff, with mentoring as one such mechanism; however with no formalised system in place. At one institute, for example, past mentoring processes have involved senior teaching staff volunteering their time and assistance to mentor less experienced staff, as required, with no procedural guidelines, no policy directing this activity and no collection of statistical data.

The paper poses questions about and outlines the current literature regarding the establishment and implementation of a mentoring programme for teaching staff in the higher education context, and proposes a model that aims to achieve equality of access to mentoring for all teachers. Key aspects of this discussion paper will focus on the purpose and benefits of mentoring, training for mentors and mentees, exploration of different mentoring models and the issue of access to mentoring as a support mechanism for all teachers in a higher education environment.