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ERIC Number: EJ724906
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Reference Count: 12
Mentoring in a PDS Program: What's in It for Me?
Scheetz, Jeffrey; Waters, Faith H.; Smeaton, Patricia; Lare, Douglas
Kappa Delta Pi Record, v42 n1 p33-37 Fall 2005
The role of the mentor is critical to the success of Professional Development Schools (PDS) programs. In her analysis of 20 case studies on the collaborative processes involved in PDS programs, Rice (2002) identified 12 themes as being important to the success of the PDS; nearly half of these focused on the mentor teacher and his or her capacity to develop relationships and communicate effectively. If PDS programs are to grow and evolve, universities and schools must make the case that mentorship is not only a professional responsibility, but also an experience that can benefit the mentor in numerous ways. A study conducted by these authors aimed to look at the PDS experience through the mentors' eyes. East Stroudsburg University (ESU) in Pennsylvania, where the study was conducted, has two PDS programs--one for graduate students and one for undergraduates. All mentor teachers were interviewed individually for approximately 30 minutes. The interviewers followed an agreed upon protocol and asked seven questions: (1) Why did you volunteer to serve as a mentor in a PDS?; (2) What did you assume would be the responsibilities and benefits of being a PDS mentor?; (3) Has serving as a PDS mentor satisfied your expectations? In what way?; (4) How would you describe your relationship with your PDS student during the fall semester?; (5) Has your relationship with your colleagues been impacted by serving as a PDS mentor?; (6) What would you say to a colleague who is considering becoming a PDS mentor?; and (7) If you served as both a PDS mentor and a cooperating teacher, how were the two experiences similar? Different? Which type of experience engendered a deeper relationship? While limited in scope, this study's conclusion that the role of the mentor is critical to successful PDS programs suggests that other studies are needed. The role of the mentor is rarely a research focus. However, studies that link PDS mentor participation with changed instructional practices, a more reflective approach to teaching, or student achievement will make a more compelling argument that mentorship is not just a professional obligation, but an activity that will improve the educational process.
Descriptors: Teaching Experience, Communication (Thought Transfer), Preservice Teachers, Professional Development Schools, Mentors, Case Studies, Interviews, Teacher Attitudes
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania