Scholarly article on topic 'New perspectives on roles of the mentor-teacher for pedagogical practice'

New perspectives on roles of the mentor-teacher for pedagogical practice Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Popescu-Mitroi Maria-Monica, Mazilescu Crisanta Alina

Abstract This study aims is to make a comparative analysis between the perceived roles of teachers-mentors for pedagogical practice and the roles that should be exercised in the future, in the view of the beneficiaries (students). It also seeks a comparison of results obtained with the mentor-teacher competence's profile mentioned in the law. In order to achieve the task we proposed to our students the following six teaching roles identified by H. Morine & G. Morine: information provider, model behavior, creator of learning situation, adviser and oriented, evaluator and therapist, organizer and leader. The study was conducted on a sample of 40 students from the Faculty of Computer Science from Politehnica University of Timisoara. Over two semesters they have benefited from the guidance of mentor-teachers regarding pedagogical practice in a high school field from Timisoara. The results are meant to be relevant for the harmonization of demand – offer in the training of future students-teachers, capture the dynamic demands of roles while exercising, but may be also included in quality management, quality training programs for prospective mentor-teachers.

Academic research paper on topic "New perspectives on roles of the mentor-teacher for pedagogical practice"

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Procedía Social and Behavioral Sciences 15 (2011) 2078-2082

WCES-2011

New perspectives on roles of the mentor-teacher for pedagogical

practice

Popescu-Mitroi Maria-Monica a *, Mazilescu Crisanta Alina bc

a,,Politehnica" University of Timisoara, Romania, Department for Teaching Training (DPPD), Timisoara 300006, Romania.

b,,Politehnica" University of Timisoara, Romania, Department for Teaching Training (DPPD), Timisoara 300006, Romania. c University ,,Paris X", Parisian Laboratory of Social Psychology (LAPPS), Nanterre 92001, France.

Abstract

This study aims is to make a comparative analysis between the perceived roles of teachers-mentors for pedagogical practice and the roles that should be exercised in the future, in the view of the beneficiaries (students). It also seeks a comparison of results obtained with the mentor-teacher competence's profile mentioned in the law.

In order to achieve the task we proposed to our students the following six teaching roles identified by H. Morine & G. Morine: information provider, model behavior, creator of learning situation, adviser and oriented, evaluator and therapist, organizer and leader. The study was conducted on a sample of 40 students from the Faculty of Computer Science from Politehnica University of Timisoara. Over two semesters they have benefited from the guidance of mentor-teachers regarding pedagogical practice in a high school field from Timisoara. The results are meant to be relevant for the harmonization of demand - offer in the training of future students-teachers, capture the dynamic demands of roles while exercising, but may be also included in quality management, quality training programs for prospective mentor-teachers. © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Keywords: roles of the mentor-teacher, specific activities, esential features, expected roles, teacher-students, mentoring process;

1. Introduction

The Status of the teacher-mentor, Minister Order no. 5400/11.25.2004 in Romania mentions two new categories of teachers in education: the mentor-teacher for pedagogical practice to guide teaching practice students who are preparing for a teaching career in the license cycle, the teacher-internship mentor to guide inexperienced teachers during to the beginning period. The students who prepare themselves for a didactic career in initial training period are required to carry out teaching practice.

We can talk about mentoring in teacher education in different settings serving different purposes. Mentor -mentee/protege may be in different rapports (Fischer & Andel, 2002, p. 2): Student teacher - Slow pupil (1), Experienced student (tutor) - Novice student (2), School teacher - Student teacher (3), Experienced school teacher -Novice teacher (4), Teacher of subject matter - Teacher of subject matter (5), Expert teacher (coach, supervisor) -Teacher (6), Head teacher - Teacher (7). The third type of relationship also the subject of this research is the role of mentor - teacher in the vision of students-heather.

* Popescu-Mitroi Maria-Monica. Tel.: +0-040-721-491912, +0-040-722-628355; fax: +0-040-256-404066. E-mail address: monicamitroi@yahoo.com, alina.mazilescu@yahoo.fr

1877-0428 © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.04.057

Gordon Shea (1992) describes mentoring as, a developmental, caring, sharing, and helping relationship where one person invests time, know-how, and effort in enhancing another person's growth, knowledge, and skills, and responds to critical needs in the life of that person in ways that prepare the individual for greater productivity or achievement in the future" (as cited by Fischer & Andel, 2002, p. 3).

Fairbanks et al. (2000, p.103) define mentoring in teacher education as „complex social interactions that mentor teachers and student teachers, construct and negotiate for a variety of professional purposes and in response to the contextual factors they encounter".

What kind of a mentor do we need today, what are his/her features and what is his/her role?

While there is a large are of terms describing the role of a mentor, terms such as guide, advisor, counsellor, supporter, broker, model role, ally and coach are commonly used to describe a mentor's role, mentor may adopt many or only a few of these roles. In the teacher education context, like any other context, we could identify a variety of roles that can be found in the mentoring process. It is important to recognize that these described roles are not synonymous with mentoring. In contrast, simply adopting a number of the previously mentioned roles does not necessarily make one a mentor. We caught a few roles (Mc Donald, 2002, pp. 22-25; Zarkovic & Bizjak, p.4):

Table 1. Essential features roles can be found in the mentoring process (teacher education context)

Roles/Essential features Communicator/ Subject Specialist

Someone who interact and exchange the information.

Someone who transfer/ share knowledge

and experience.

Counsellor

Someone who helps others to think, learn and grow.

Adviser

Someone who considers career pathways and profiles, develops in a specific profession. Broker

Someone who develop contacts and identify resources. Savvy insider

Someone who develops plans for moves to maximize career potential.

Advocate or sponsor

Someone who is a good negotiator, aware of institutional and professional politics. Ally

Someone who is a equal and protector in new situations.

Someone who acclimate and integrate new employees.

Model role

Someone who is respected because of their professionalism / ability / experience. Teacher/ trainer

Someone who can show how to improve, share skills, discuss issues.

Description of roles

The mentor establishes an environment for open interaction, encourages two-way exchange of information, listens actively to the protégé, plans uninterrupted time with the protégé, and acts as a sounding board for ideas and concerns (Geiger-DuMond & Boyle, 1995).

The mentor identifies the skills, interests and values of the protégé, discusses and evaluates possible options and assists in planning strategies to achieve objectives, clarify developmental needs and performance objectives, teaches skills, reinforces effective behavior, recommends areas of improvement and introduces the protégé to the goals and objectives of the organization (Geiger-DuMond & Boyle, 1995). The mentor providing both formal and informal information and recommending professional development opportunities and strategies to help the protégé identify and overcome potential obstacles (Geiger-DuMond & Boyle, 1995).

The mentor providing by advising of strategies for developing contacts and introducing the protégé to their own network. The broker may also assist the protégé to identify resources and find educational and employment options (Geiger-DuMond & Boyle, 1995). The mentor provides intuitive and informal knowledge about the organization or profession and connects the protégé with "the right people" who have either the power or knowledge to further enhance the protégé's learning or performance (Kaye & Jacobson, 1995).

The mentor may intervening on the protégé's behalf and representing their concerns to upper management, may recommend their protégé for project or promotional opportunities, and arrange for involvement in highly visible, uses his social power (ability to make things happen) to the service of the mentee (Geiger-DuMond & Boyle, 1995). The mentor can provide feedback to the protégé, enabling them to identify their own strengths and weaknesses (Kaye & Jacobson, 1995). Similarly, the mentor may act as a catalyst to help the protégé develop alternative views of themselves and their environment (Kaye & Jacobson, 1995).

This provides the protégé with experiential learning opportunities to develop their own strategies and techniques for a variety of situations (Kaye & Jacobson, 1995).

The protégé observes and emulates the mentor's behaviour (Geiger-DuMond & Boyle, 1995). Living example of values, ethics, and professional practices.

Provides inspiration, demonstrates professional thinking and acting (Maldrez & Bodoczky, 1999, as cited by Zarkovic & Bizjak, nd.).

The mentor actively helps the protégé to learn and become socialised into their organisational role (Ostroff & Kozlowski, 1993, cited by Mc Donald, 2002), creates suitable opportunities for the mentee to learn, to achieve professional learning objectives.

Roles/Essential features Support

Someone who listens and counsels, encourages and is accessible.

Someone who can help to identify needs, set appropriate targets. Someone who help to develop their skills for performance._

Description of roles

The mentor is constantly present provides safe conditions for the protégé to let off steam/release emotions, listens to and reflects what was heard with the intention of unburdening the novice, (Maldrez & Bodoczky, 1999, cited by Zarkovic & Bizjak). When coaching the protégé, the mentor helps to clarify developmental needs and performance, objectives, teaches skills, reinforces effective behavior, recommends areas of improvement and introduces the protégé to the goals and objectives of the organization (Geiger-DuMond & Boyle, 1995).

Taking in consideration the context and purpose of the mentor activity, the mentor may successfully adopt some of these roles. In the first column can be identified the essence of each role based on the characteristics of the roles described by a large amount of authors, among the ones that are quoted here.

In the H. Morine & G. Morine view (as cited by Jinga & Istrate, 1998, p. 88), the teacher can take up to 6 roles of teacher, roles that we try to present in the modern way imposed today by the educational dynamics. In the world where teaching is undergoing profound changes, the role of mentoring is also facing new challenges. In this case we used the experience to achieve a practical guide for teaching students in academic year 2008 (Mazilescu & Popescu-Mitroi, 2008) and an application called "brainstorming" regarding this subject with students involved in the study. Also, we analyse the mentor competences mentioned by law.

Table 2. The role of mentor-teacher and specific activities in relationship with student-teacher (mentee)

The roles of the mentor-teacher

Purveyor of information

The mentor-teacher mediating "knowledge"

Behavior model

The mentor-teacher promote integrity and participate to the modeling of he mentee

Creator of learning situations

The mentor-teacher puts accent on the didactic methodology, improvement of psycho-pedagogic competences of mentee

Advisor and orientator

The mentor-teacher facilitate self-knowledge and personal development of mentee

Evaluator and therapist

The mentor-teacher offer supportive feedback.

Short description and specific activities in relationship Mentor-teacher (mentor) and student-teacher (mentee, protege)

Support the mentee in the process of discovery, organization and systematization of the knowledge (scientific and psycho-pedagogical), integration of this in specific context, preparing them for auto-informing, auto-education, etc. Specific activities:

- Facilitates insertion of students in school, access to organizational culture of the school;

- Facilitate access to the school formal and normative documents induce students in the context of school;

- Facilitate the transfer of theoretical knowledge in contextual situations.

Combines the behavior science with the art of living, by making an exceptional atmosphere. Is realistic regarding his own limits, being optimistic regarding the resources of mentee and their possibilities of personal developing. They participates consciousness to the modeling of the new generation. Specific activities:

- Modeling professional behavior;

- Modeling harmonious personality.

Impulse the desire and the pleasure of learning, demonstrating that the information and knowledge are two different things. The teacher must be the keeper of some psycho-pedagogic competencies to permit the facilitation of learning for student-teacher.

Specific activities: how to teach and why a certain teaching behavior is appropriate in a certain situation;

- Create learning opportunities for internalization of teacher behavior: how to design an educational program, how to lead a specific training activity, how to select the methods most more suitable for training objectives, how to establish evaluation of school performance targets and how to develop their evaluative tools to achieve process, how to manage time, how to examine and to self-assess their teaching activities.

Facilitates self-knowledge of the mentee on the following directions: self acceptance, positive relationships with the others, autonomy, control, senses and goals in life, personal development. Specific activities:

- Facilitate opportunities for self - knowledge, reflection on activities, progress in time of student;

- Offers information and assistance on specific themes/domains and specific crisis situations;

- Offers emotional support and develops the career planning capacity of mentee.

As a therapist, the evaluation has no longer the role of diagnosis, but constitutes the basis of realization of some pertinent projects/plans that targets the passing of difficulties and reaching the progress on the formative -informative side of all the agents involved in education. Specific activities: Drafts professionally reports about students activity;

- Provides feedback to students on how to achieve their teaching activities;

- Measures individual level professional performance of students according to standards competence;

- Encourage self-evaluation as a form of auto-reflection over their activities;

- Proposes solutions for improvement of teaching activities.

The roles of the mentor-teacher

Organizer and leader

The mentor-teacher organize, take decision and has good relationships

Short description and specific activities in relationship Mentor-teacher (mentor) and student-teacher (mentee, protege)

The mentor ensures the consensus with the other educative agents and is orientates towards activities based on flexibility, adaptability and creativity.

Specific activities:

- Planning specific activities and monitoring the internship of pedagogical practice;

- Manages relationships of students with classes / pupils where they teach;

- Negotiate and mediate situations conflict or risk that may occur;_

2. Methodology

The purpose of this pilot-research is the comparative analysis of the difference between the perceptions and the expectances of the investigated students regarding the roles fulfilled by the mentor-teachers, with the detachment of the most exercised/solicited roles and the least exercised/solicited roles in their vision.

Study hypothesis: There are significant differences between the perceived and the desired roles, at some of the mentor-teacher roles taken into consideration.

Sample: The sample was taken from 40 students (26 boys, 14 girls) in the third year at Faculty of Computer Science of "Politehnica" University from Timisoara, enrolled to the psycho-pedagogical program - initial training, who attended the teaching practice at a high school during two semesters. They have benefited from the guidance of 6 mentors-teachers, who are teaching specialized subjects in the computer science at high school, experienced teachers, with the highest academic degree and graduating from a teacher mentor program.

Instruction and work procedure: After two semesters experienced in the mentoring relationship and after the discussions about mentor-teacher roles, you can set up the 6 roles (H. Morine & G. Morine) in the manner in which you perceive them to be present to your high school teachers-mentor and then in the manner you would want them to be. Work procedure: optimal conditions of application, assure the confidentiality, information regarding the result of the study.

3. Results and discutions

The statistical work was done with the help of the statistics program SPSS.13. It has been calculated: percentage frequency of the rank given to every role, after the data was recoded on the following 3 categories: Values 1 (The most perceived/ The most desired) for rank 1 and 2; Values 2 (Medium perceived/ Medium desired) for rank 3 and 4; Values 3 (The latest perceived / The latest desired) for rank 5 and 6. We try to identify if there are significant differences between the perceived and the desired role, at some of the mentor-teacher roles taken into consideration, and for this we calculated the chi-square.

The analysis of the data indicates that the difference between the perceived and desired role is significant in the following situation (see Table 3): Evaluator and therapist - we can notice that a high percentage of students perceive the mentor-teacher most frequently as evaluator (57.5%) and the same they reject this role (52.7%). The significant difference indicates the fact that this role is considered present and unnecessary to manage the relationship mentor -mentee. Perhaps mentors have to be more carefully in the way provides feedback, given the possibility to be perceived as evaluative. Also, mentors should be used the diagnostic assessments for counseling students. It seems what missing is the component to improve the difficulties / problems evaluated. We reject assessments in general. In a negative culture, we learned that others easily send us messages about the irregularities, flaws, our weaknesses. Evaluation is not understood as a message about the achievements, strengths, and positive activities.

We targeted more the identification of the roles considered the most "important" to exercise in the future, being based on the capacity of the students to be aware of their needs and to harmonize the offer of roles with the requirement came from the teacher-students, for a better functionality of relationship: model behavior (45%) because is perceived rarely (2.5 %), creator of learning situation (65%), adviser and oriented (55%), although it is currently perceived.

Table 3. Comparative analysis of perceived and desired roles of mentor-teachers in the vision of teacher-students

ROLES Variable Categories/frequencies % The value and significance of difference

1 2 3 between the frequencies (x2)

most" medium least"

1. information provider perceived 52.5 40 7.5 2.77, insignificant p = 0.59

desired 10 22.5 67.5

2. model behavior perceived 2.5 50 47.5 2.30, insignificant p = 0.67

desired 45 45 10

3. creator of learning perceived 27.5 32.5 40 3.89, insignificant p = 0.42

situation desired 65 32.5 2.5

4. adviser and oriented perceived 25 17.5 57.5 1.95, insignificant p = 0.73

desired 55 35 10

5. evaluator and therapist perceived 57.5 37.5 5 9.46, significant p< 0.05

desired 5 42.5 52.5

6. organizer and leader perceived 35 22.5 42.5 5.36, insignificant p = 0.25

desired 22.5 22.5 55

It is minimized the importance of the evaluator/therapist (5%), information provider (10%) leader/organizer (22.5 %) and that meaning a less desire for them by the teacher-students, because it persists the rejection of authority and control. Rejection of these roles in the future confirm that is a choice based on experience: evaluator/therapist is the most perceived role (57.5 %), information provider (52.5%) and leader/organizer (35 %).

4. Conclusions

First, we made a contribution surprising the essence of common roles practiced generally by mentors. Second, in this study we adapted the roles of teacher mentioned by H. Morine & G. Morine in the situation in which the teacher is a mentor for teacher-students. We have described and mentioned specific mentoring activities for each role. Although this work is a pilot study, it is a great opportunity to continue research on a larger number of students and mentors to capture relevant aspects that make the difference between a teacher and a mentor-teacher simply in terms of roles performed.

Thirdly, study results indicate that the role of evaluator/therapist is more practiced than desired. We shoud mention which are mentor teacher's attributions regarding the evaluation according to the law (Mazilescu & Popescu-Mitroi, 2008, p.16):

• Observation and monitoring of student performances during teaching practice, monitoring progress, identifying difficulties;

• Evaluating lesson projects;

• Observing and evaluating the implementation of lesson plans;

• Making a written report on student performances during teaching practice and giving a note.

• To encourage self-assessment about the teaching performance, etc.

Many of these evaluations are "evidence" in the portfolio of the mentor-teacher and in the portfolio of the students. The role of evaluator may be exaggerated through monitoring and continuous assessment of students by virtue of attributions. It is possible for mentors to have a conflict between the roles that involves gathering evidence of evaluation even if that role is minimized in their vision.

In the future, the mentors should be concerned about feedback and the impact of their actions. In training programs for mentors, should be underlined the ways to implement the required roles. In this case, we should find solutions to relieve the pressure evaluation, to offer a positive, ameliorative, stimulating feedback for students.

The results may be relevant to the harmonization of demand - offer in the training of future students-teachers, capture the dynamic demands of roles while exercising, but may be also included in quality management, quality training programs for prospective mentor-teachers.

References

Fairbanks, C. M., Freedman, D. & Kahn, C. (2000). The role of effective mentors in learning to teach. Journal of Teacher Education, 51(2), 102 -112.

Fischer, D., van Andel, L. (2002). Mentoring in Teacher Education - towards innovative school development, Paper presented at the 27th annual conference of ATEE September 2002 in Warsaw/ Poland, Retrieved november 12, 2010 from http://www.mint-mentor.net/en/pdfs/Papers_FischerAndel.pdf Geiger-DuMond, A. H., Boyle, S. K. (1995). Mentoring: a practitioner's guide. Training and Development, 49(3), 51-54. Jinga, I., Istrate, E. (1998). Manual de pedagogie [Handbook of pedagogy]. Bucuresti: Editura ALL. Kaye, B., Jacobson, B. (1995). Mentoring: A Group Guide. Training and Development, 49(4), 23-27. Malderez, A., Bodoczky, C. (1999). Mentor Courses. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mazilescu, C.A., Popescu-Mitroi, M.M. (2008). Ghid de practica pedagogica [Guide of pedagogical practice]. Timisoara: Editura Politehnica. McDonald, J. (2002). Mentoring: An Age Old Strategy for a Rapidly Expanding Field A What, Why and How Primer for the Alcohol and Other Drugs Field. Flinders University of South Australia: Published by the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) Minister Order no. 5400/11.25.2004, The status of mentor-teacher, Romania: Ministry of Education and Research.

Zarkovic Adlesi, B., Bizjak, C. (nd). Perspectives and Features of Mentoring. The National Education Institute Slovenia, Retrieved november 12, 2010 from http://mint-mentor.net/en/pdfs/Features-Brigita-neu.pdf