Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine preservice teachers’ perceptions of their learning and teaching experiences in a mentor's classroom during a year-long field-based placement in a high-need urban school. In addition, the authors sought to examine how the experiences contributed to their professional growth and development as future teachers. Design/methodology/approach – This qualitative study used constant comparative analysis (Strauss and Corbin, 1998) to examine preservice teachers’ responses to an open-ended questionnaire, program survey, and also in focus groups about their mentoring experiences. Findings – The findings provide insight into participants’ mentors’ influence during a year-long placement and into characteristics of effective mentoring that contributed to their growth. Major findings of preservice teachers’ mentoring experiences in a high-need urban setting reflected two dominant themes: experiencing a pedagogical fulcrum and navigating the tributaries of professionalism. Research limitations/implications – The study is limited by the small number of participants from one large public university and included only secondary preservice teachers enrolled in one residency program designed to prepare mathematics, science, and special education teachers. Caution should be taken against generalizing the findings, regarding preservice teachers’ learning and teaching experiences in a mentor's classroom, to resident teachers in other areas due to the small sample size and interpretation of the findings. Originality/value – The findings provide a different perspective about the mentoring process to that provided by previous studies because preservice teachers learned and taught in the mentor's classroom during one academic school year without being evaluated by the mentor. The findings illuminate preservice teachers’ professional growth fostered by their experiences and highlight characteristics of the mentor's influence that contributed to their development.
International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 4, 2014
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