Examining mentors’ practices for developing primary teaching
Mentoring has become more prominent in teacher education (Power, Clarke, & Hine, 2002), which increases the responsibilities assigned to mentors (Sinclair, 1997). The mentor’s role in preservice teacher education includes developing the mentee’s overall teaching ability, yet each mentor has individual beliefs on what is and what is not important. Five factors for mentoring have previously been identified, namely, Personal Attributes, System Requirements, Pedagogical Knowledge, Modelling, and Feedback, and items associated with each factor have also been identified and justified with the literature (Hudson, Skamp, & Brooks, 2005; Hudson, 2005). A literature-based survey instrument gathered 446 preservice teachers’ perceptions of their mentoring for primary teaching. Data were analysed within the abovementioned five factors proposed for mentoring with 331 final-year preservice teachers from nine Australian universities responding to their mentoring for science teaching and, in a subsequent year, 115 final-year preservice teachers from an urban university responding to their mentoring for mathematics teaching. Results indicated similar Cronbach alpha scores on each of the five factors for primary science and mathematics teaching; however percentages and mean scores on attributes and practices aligned with each factor were considerably higher for mentoring mathematics teaching compared with science teaching. Benchmarking mentoring practices may aid in determining ways for enhancing such practices.