Beginning and mentor teachers’ perceptions of teacher mentoring processes in primary schools : a case study in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education
This qualitative research study is an investigation into three pairs of beginning and mentor primary teachers’ perceptions of teacher mentoring processes during the first-year of induction and mentoring for the beginning teacher. Furthermore, this research study had a specific focus on how the participants’ and their respective schools’ interpret and use national policy guidelines on induction and mentoring in primary schools, along with how the participant dyads perceive the nature and quality of the mentoring experience. In the realms of this focus, the training and support of mentor teachers was investigated, and the skillset of the mentors. Moreover, this was considered in light of the data gathered and the current literature on mentoring in educational and related contexts (for e.g. Cameron & Lovett, 2007; Heller, 2004; Lovett & Davey, 2009; Chambers, 2018; Fyall, Cowan & Galvan, 2018).
Three qualitative methods were used to collect data in this research study; namely semistructured interviews with the participants, document analysis and field notes. Data was analysed using a constant-comparative approach, where data is reduced and condensed to common themes, interpreted and conclusions drawn (Lichtman, 2013; Mutch, 2005; Yin, 2014). The essence of the findings is presented in two themes: Theme 1: Mentoring Policy – illusion or confusion? and Theme 2: Mentoring Practice in Action.
The findings of this study illuminate the importance of collaborative professional learning through an educative mentoring approach. The findings highlighted mentoring practice based on prior experiences, lack of training and support for mentor teachers, and how differing perceptions of key national policy guidelines: ‘Guidelines for Induction and Mentoring and Mentor Teachers’ (TCNZ, 2015) results in variable mentoring practice and outcomes. The key findings of this study validate the need for more synergy between key actors within primary schools when engaged with induction and mentoring processes.
Further, through the provision of training and support for mentor teachers, it is suggested this will positively influence the quality and nature of mentoring practice within induction and mentoring programmes. A key part of this process is for leadership to ensure opportunities for mentor teachers to engage in professional learning about mentoring. Furthermore, to deepen their understanding of the importance of underpinning mentoring practice and learning conversations with adult learning principles and key mentoring skills. This study served to highlight the challenges beginning and mentor teachers face in what is a complex social activity. The key findings of this study validate the need for further research on mentoring processes in primary schools and how to ensure effective mentoring happens as part of the everyday fabric (Hudson, 2013).