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ERIC Number: EJ795243
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 40
ISSN: ISSN-0737-5328
Examining Learning to Teach through a Social Lens: How Mentors Guide Newcomers into a Professional Community of Learners
Street, Chris
Teacher Education Quarterly, v31 n2 p7-24 Spr 2004
Despite the growing appreciation among professional educators, teachers unions, school districts, and university researchers of the need for effective school-based mentors, many new teachers still report a "sink or swim" experience as they enter the profession. Not surprisingly, about one third of new teachers in the United States leave the profession within the first three years. Rather than seeking a prescriptive method or program for mentoring new teachers, what may prove helpful is a deeper exploration of the social and cultural learning experiences of new teachers. In this article, the author presents the results of a naturalistic study in which 15 experienced teachers and student teachers participated in the Effective Mentoring in English Education (EMEE) project. This project aimed to understand how new teachers learn and how mentor teachers can support their learning during the student teaching semester. Results of the study indicated that it was the school-based mentor who was seen as the main source of "cultural knowledge". However, unlike previous discussions of mentoring and the role of challenge in preservice education, these mentors and student teachers identified specific contextual challenges with which student teachers struggled and for which mentors needed to provide support. These contextual challenges occurred across pairs, but were constructed differently within them. These variations highlight the ways in which the mentor teacher and student teacher pairs both shaped and were shaped by their perceptions of their teaching contexts. Mentors and student teachers seemed to create a socially shared space through which they could negotiate and define the student teachers' participation. In this way, support and challenge were interwoven and intricately connected to the specific mentor teacher and student teacher pairs.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States