The status of mentoring preservice primary science teachers in Australia
A literature-based survey gathered 331 final-year preservice teachers' perceptions of their mentoring in primary science education from nine Australian universities. Data were analysed within five factors proposed for mentoring (i.e., personal attributes, system requirements, pedagogical knowledge, modelling, and feedback). Results indicated that the majority of mentors do not provide specific mentoring in primary science, particularly in the science teaching practices associated with "system requirements", "pedagogical knowledge" and "modelling". This study argues that mentors may require subject-specific mentoring skills, and proposes a specific mentoring intervention as a means for developing such skills. It further argues that the mentoring attributes and practices associated with primary science teaching were taken from the generic literature on mentoring and, hence, may apply to other curriculum areas. In addition, mentor educators may also need to display personal attributes, understand system requirements, model effective mentoring, and provide pedagogical knowledge and feedback towards enhancing mentoring practices.