ERIC Number: ED381531
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Apr-1
Mentoring and Support Networks in Elementary Schools.
Bainer, Deborah L.; Didham, Cheryl K.
This study explored the dimensional structure of mentoring and other support behaviors that occur naturally among teachers in elementary school settings and contrasted the support networks of female and male teachers. A Teacher Support Behavior Survey (TSBS) was developed based on the content of 512 interviews with elementary teachers on their daily interactions and on a survey that had been used with university professors. The TSBS included 33 statements asking teachers to indicate whether or not they had engaged in certain supportive activities. A Survey of Organizational Communications: Elementary School was also administered. A statewide random sample of 750 elementary teachers received the instruments of which a total of 517 were returned and used in the study. Due to the extremely high proportion of female teachers responding (94 percent), a second mailing went out to 400 male elementary teachers of whom 313 returned usable questionnaires. Six separate factors emerged as dimensions of support among female teachers while eight factors emerged as aspects of male teachers' networks. The results of the study support the notion that informal, multidimensional communication support behaviors operate within elementary schools apart from formalized mentoring programs and that these have a more positive and lasting effect on female than on male teachers. Among female teachers, a network of individuals tends to provide a variety of types of support, functions are less discrete, and the line between personal, social, and professional relationships is blurred. Among male teachers, more individuals are potentially included in the support network and each may serve a more specific function. (Contains 17 references.) (JB)
Descriptors: Collegiality, Elementary Education, Elementary School Teachers, Elementary Schools, Faculty Development, Interpersonal Relationship, Mentors, Organizational Climate, Peer Relationship, Quality of Working Life, Sex Differences, Social Support Groups, Surveys, Teacher Attitudes, Work Environment
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A