Teacher efficacy for mentoring pre-service candidates in a professional development school
Thomas, Xernona Jackson
MetadataShow full item record
This action research case study sought to improve mentoring experiences of teachers by examining correlations between mentor teacher efficacy and mentor preparation and engagement. Fredrick Brown Elementary School is in a professional development school partnership with a local university and serves as a host site for over seventy pre-service teachers annually. Due to the large number of teacher candidates needing placement, all Fredrick Brown teachers with three or more years of experience are required to serve as mentor teachers. Despite the many benefits of hosting pre-service teachers, classroom teachers are sometimes apprehensive regarding student placements. This reluctance to mentor has the potential to negatively impact the organizational commitment of teachers. A possible factor contributing to teacher apprehension toward mentoring is lack of efficacy in this area due to the absence of mentor teacher training and ongoing support. Three research questions guided this study: • What are the perceived benefits for veteran teachers who mentor pre-service teachers? • What are the perceived barriers to veteran teachers’ commitment to mentoring pre-service teachers? • In what ways, if any, does the community of practice model support teachers’ efficacy as mentors? Action research was used as the methodology to identify barriers to mentor commitment and to explore effective supports for teachers in their role as mentor. Findings indicated that mentoring instills a sense of reflection and professional accountability for exemplary practice. Data also suggested that teacher confidence with critical conversations can hinder mentoring relationships. However, the community of practice model of professional learning proved to be a successful mechanism for addressing identified barriers and increasing teacher efficacy for mentoring.