Models of mentoring in initial teacher training : case studies within a partnership scheme in secondary school-based initial teacher training, 1993-95.
With no apparent theoretical justification the Department of Education (DFE) Circular
9/92 has made mandatory, school-based Initial Teacher Training (ITT) whereby
trainees are located in schools for the majority of their training. Schools and Higher
Education Institutions (HEIs) have been encouraged by government to form
complementary partnerships in which the school is the senior partner responsible for
Central to school-based partnership training is the role of the subject specific mentor
who has, it is claimed in the literature on mentoring, a new and exacting task to
perform as teacher educator rather than the purely supervisory role pre-1992. The
tentative hypothesis is that there is a gap between the rhetoric of mentoring and the
reality of mentoring in school-based partnership ITT post-1992.
Three models representing `stages' of professional development: the apprenticeship
model; the competency model and the `reflective practitioner' model of mentoring are
considered from the perspective of both subject mentors and trainees. The data,
gathered by participant observation, semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and
recorded mentor-trainee feedback sessions, investigates to what extent there is in the
training year slavish imitation reinforced by practical skills associated with
apprenticeship, and/or professional development in trainee learning informed and
extended by trainee access to teacher expertise.
Changes in ITT appear largely administrative, mentors focusing on supervision of
competent apprentices, passing on basic skills using a `top-down' model of knowledge
transfer to passive novices.
A model of mentoring is outlined whereby the professional tutor assumes a school
leadership role, liaising with the HEI partner in joint planning of ITT, taking
responsibility for trainee overview and professional development of Newly Qualified
Two stages of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) are described in a model of future
teacher preparation whereby master classroom practitioners can be professionally
identified and appropriately rewarded.