Mentoring relationships, roles and responsibilities in pre-service teacher professional placements

Year: 2011

Author: Ambrosetti, Angelina

Type of paper: Refereed paper

In recent years, pre-service teaching degrees have placed emphasis on the use of mentoring during the practical component of learning to teach. Formal mentoring relationships, in the context of learning to teach, provide the pre-service teacher opportunities to experience authentic teaching situations, as well as the opportunity to work alongside and be guided by a teacher mentor. Pre- service teachers often view the professional placement with a teacher mentor as the most important part of their degree. It is during these placements that the pre-service teacher begins to construct links between what is learnt at university and the day to day work of teachers. However, mentoring a pre-service teacher is a complex task which requires reciprocity between the mentor teacher and the pre-service teacher. Although there is a growing body of research concerning mentoring in pre-service teacher education in Australia, the research generally focuses on the mentor teacher with limited research centred on the pre-service teacher. This research investigated mentoring from the pre-service teacher's perspective. First year and final year pre- service teachers were surveyed about mentoring during their professional placements. The pre- service teachers were asked about their perceptions of mentoring as well as their mentoring experiences during their professional placement. The responses of the first year and final year pre- service teachers were compared in order to determine differences in perceptions and experiences. It was found that there were many similarities in the perceptions and experiences of both groups of pre-service teachers, but that there were subtle differences in particular mentoring functions that relate to the needs of each group. The findings presented in this paper will be used in the formulation of guidelines for pre-service teachers during professional placements.