Mentoring as Professional Development for Mentors
The present paper concerns the topic of mentoring in the context of pre-service teacher education. Mentoring refers here to assistance or guidance provided by a school-based teacher who agrees to mentor a student teacher during her or his practicum. More specifically, the paper examines if mentoring can be recognized as a form of professional development for mentor teachers. While a great deal of literature has looked at the benefits student teachers gain from mentoring, an ongoing line of research has acknowledged that teachers
in their roles as mentors also can benefit professionally from the experience of mentoring. However, the bulk of this research comes from the Anglo-Saxon context and it cannot be assumed that the experiences of British, American or Australian teachers are shared by teachers in Poland. The aim of the present study then was to identify the ways in which Polish teachers of English who have undertaken the role of a mentor develop professionally through mentoring. The instrument used was a web-based questionnaire. The main findings show that mentor teachers gain professionally primarily through the process of mentoring—being
a mentor enhances their capacity for self-reflection and positively impacts their leadership skills, confidence as a teacher, willingness to self-develop, as well as their enthusiasm and commitment to teaching. On the other hand, mentors do not feel they learn directly from student teachers, although, in general, they recognize cooperation with student teachers as an inspirational and positive experience.
teachers of English; mentoring; professional development for mentor teachers; student teaching
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