Specific mentoring: A theory and model for developing primary science teaching practices
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The transition from generic mentoring to specific mentoring practices can provide a stronger focus for developing preservice primary teachers (mentees) in subject-specific areas. Constructivist theory and a five-factor model towards specific subject mentoring are proposed as ways to develop mentees’ teaching practices. Firstly, constructivist theory complements mentoring within field experiences (practicum/internship), as it can be used to build upon prior understandings towards developing the mentee’s knowledge and skills for teaching. Secondly, the picture that emerges from the literature shows five factors for mentoring, namely: (i) personal attributes that the mentor needs to exhibit for constructive dialogue; (ii) system requirements that focus on curriculum directives and policies; (iii) pedagogical knowledge for articulating effective teaching practices; (iv) modelling of efficient and effective practice; and (v) feedback for the purposes of reflection for improving practice. It is argued that ‘generalist’ primary teachers in their roles as mentors will require specific mentoring strategies linked to these five factors to enable effective mentoring in specific subject areas.