To gain insight into the world of mentoring new science teachers it is imperative to examine how a veteran science teacher is influenced through his or her work mentoring a new teacher. The impacts of mentoring new teachers have been extensively researched within the literature, documenting many of the factors that may enhance the teaching abilities of new teachers (Hobson, Ashby, Malderez & Tomlinson, 2008; Ingersoll & Kralik, 2004; Wang & Odell, 2002). A thorough search of the literature reveals an unbalanced representation of research focusing on the many influences mentoring may bring to a new teacher while ignoring the impact on the mentor. It is when the activity of mentoring a new teacher is examined within the theoretical frame work of social cognitive learning, it is apparent that not only are two individuals participating in working together, but also that research needs to investigate both sides of the relationship. Also, since the mentoring relationship is situated within a community of practice, it becomes important to utilize a situated learning theoretical framework in tandem with social cognitive learning to provide the clearest picture of this dynamic social relationship.
This case study seeks to share the impacts experienced by mentors through their work with new teachers and provide balance to the other side of research into the social partnership of mentoring. Five science teachers mentoring new teachers online, through the University of Minnesota's Science Engineering, Math Mentoring Program (STEMMP) and Science Teacher Induction Network (TIN), participated in this study that explores their experiences through a phenomenographic lens and follows an interpretive research approach. Four main themes emerged that identified how science teacher mentors were impacted from mentoring which included: 1) impacts to their teaching practice, 2) perceptions influenced from feedback 3) enhanced reflection and 4) enhancement of self-efficacy. The results of this study also provide a model by which science teacher mentor characteristics can be indentified. This case study has implications for improvement of science teacher mentoring programs and policies for professional support of mentor teachers and their mentees.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2010. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisors: Dr. Gillian Roehrig & Dr. Fred Finley. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 272 pages, appendices A-G.
Meagher, Thomas Francis.
Working With “Rookies” a case study of science teachers mentors..
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