Mentor educators’ understandings of mentoring preservice primary teachers
Mentors are significant in shaping a preservice teacher’s practices. Developing common understandings about effective mentoring practices can assist the mentoring process. What are mentor educators’ practical ideas towards implementing a mentoring program? This mixed-method study involves surveys, questionnaires, and audio-taped focus group meetings on 14 mentor educators’ views on mentoring preservice primary teachers. This research aims to understand mentor educators’ motivations for mentoring, their views about what makes a good mentor, benefits for mentors, and issues or concerns for mentors and the mentoring process. It also focuses on determining professional development for mentors and troubleshooting potential problems. Findings revealed that these mentor educators were motivated into developing mentoring programs as a way to: (1) influence the quality of preservice teacher education (2) provide personal and professional development in mentoring, and (3) support mentors and the mentoring process within school settings. Outlining what makes a good mentor and benefits for mentors were consistent with the literature. However, these expert mentors also provided potential solutions (e.g., university support and professional development ideas) on issues such as knowing the mentee’s level of development and expectations, building a professional relationship prior to placement and the mentor’s dual role as confidant and assessor.