Evaluating a primary science mentoring program for preservice teachers
Subject specific mentoring may provide a means for developing both mentoring and teaching practices. Using a two-group posttest only design, 60 final year preservice teachers (control group) and 12 final year preservice teachers (intervention group) from the same university were compared after a four-week professional experience program. The intervention group received a mentoring program for developing primary science teaching practices. The 34-item Likert scale survey measured both the control group and intervention group perceptions of their mentoring in primary science across previously established mentoring factors (i.e., personal attributes, system requirements, pedagogical knowledge, modelling, and feedback). Results indicated that those in the intervention group perceived they had received more mentoring experiences on each of the five factors, and ANOVA results indicated that these differences were statistically significant for the first four factors. Cronbach alpha scores of internal consistency for the five factors were considered acceptable (i.e., personal attributes=.92, system requirements=.88, pedagogical knowledge=.95, modelling=.92, and feedback=.92). It is argued that subject specific mentoring has the potential to enhance the degree and quality of a preservice teacher’s professional experiences and may resourcefully support teachers in their roles as mentors and as teachers of specific subjects in the primary school. It is further argued that subject specific mentoring needs to be considered for all key learning areas.