Mentoring practices with student teachers of mathematics
TeCroney, Dana Theodore
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This study examined the relationship between three pairs of mentors and student teachers in middle and secondary mathematics. Each of the participants completed a survey and was interviewed prior to the experience to examine her beliefs about learning to teach, mentoring, expectations, and prior experiences with student teachers. I observed each pair for three 1-week cycles and interviewed each participant upon completion of her experience. The data were categorized into themes and constantly redefined as additional data were collected. Whereas some themes that emerged for each pair were unique - such as a focus on technology, timing in lessons, and classroom management - other themes coincided such as questioning and other formative assessments. The data illustrated how each student teacher was influenced by the mentor’s practice and the foci of the feedback she received. Other factors like class schedule were also considered and discussed as features that shaped the participants’ experience. The results of the study indicate that student teachers model their mentors’ practices closely. Each of the pairs discussed lesson planning and the student teachers adopted the same format as their mentors. When the student teachers assumed responsibility of the instruction, they implemented traditional practices and developed more student-centered approaches with the guidance of their mentor. In each case the mentors aided in the student teachers’ development of using formative assessments and questioning strategies to gauge students’ understanding. The mathematical conversations tended to be limited in terms of their depth and because less frequent as the experience progressed.