The use of mentoring triads in pre-service teacher education: a case study

Year: 2013

Author: Ambrosetti, Angelina

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:

The professional placement within pre-service teacher education programs is highly valued by the pre-service teacher as it provides the opportunity for the practical application of theory learnt at university.  Within pre-service teacher education programs in Australia mentoring is used by a growing number of higher education institutions as the overarching methodology for the professional placement. However it has become noticeable that the representation of mentoring in the pre-service teacher education context is one that aligns to a more traditional approach of a mentoring dyad.  The stereotypical view of a traditional mentoring dyad in pre-service teacher education consists of an older, experienced teacher mentoring a younger, inexperienced pre-service teacher. Research, which investigates the use of alternative mentoring models in this context, is a growing field, thus models that utilize peers and groups of pre-service teachers mentoring each other alongside a classroom teacher are being experimented with. The research outlined in this paper presents the findings from the use of a triad mentoring model which employs aspects of both peer and group mentoring.  A mentoring triad in this research consists of a first year pre-service teacher placed along side a final year pre-service teacher and a mentor teacher. The research specifically examined the interactions that occurred between the triad members as well as the interactions that occurred between the two pre-service teachers as peers in order to gauge whether the triad model was a viable alternative. The findings indicated that the model created an environment of reciprocity whereby mentor and mentee roles and responsibilities changed as the relationship developed. Thus it was found that the final year pre‐service teachers became mentors to the first year pre‐service teachers. It was also found that the first year pre‐service teacher benefited from having two mentors within the relationship as each mentored from a different perspective. The final year mentored by way of their own experiences as a student teacher whereas the mentor teacher mentored by way of their professional experiences. It can be anticipated that the findings from this research has both implications and considerations for the structure of the professional placement and how mentoring is embedded within the professional placement in the future.

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