The use of a case-based approach to mentoring
Morgan, Sharon E
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This qualitative case study investigated the use of case discussion in a mentoring relationship. The investigation focused specifically on how peer discussion implemented through written classroom dilemmas influenced the reflective processes of the teachers involved in the study. The participants in the study were elementary school teachers with varying degrees of experience, from novice to very experienced, who were engaged in a mentoring project at their school. The purpose of this study was to investigate how mentoring relationships may influence teacher reflective practices through peer discussion of classroom dilemmas. The collaborative analysis of cases developed around the shared experiences of teachers may likely add to their reflective abilities. Case discussions may challenge novice and experienced teachers to reflect on their actions and assumptions, which may lead to a change in practice. Findings from the study indicate that collaborative discussions influence reflective practices for novice teachers and experienced teachers. Findings also indicate that there are different levels of reflective ability among teachers. Because of their limited knowledge and experience, novice teachers need more time to understand issues associated with classroom dilemmas than do experienced teachers. An influential factor contributing to the level of reflective practice is the accumulated pedagogical knowledge of the teacher. An important point that emerged from the data is that inexperienced teachers may gain valuable insights from the shared experiences of veteran teachers. This study contributes to our understanding of case-based discussions with elementary school inservice teachers engaged in a mentoring relationship with regard to the levels of reflective analysis by which teachers make sense of their practice.