Mentor feedback : models, viewpoints and strategies
A mentor’s feedback can present professional insights to allow a mentee to reflect and develop practice. This paper positions two models for feedback that have emanated from empirical studies. It also demonstrates the diverse viewpoints of mentors and suggests strategies for providing quality feedback. In one qualitative study, 24 mentors observed a final-year preservice teacher through a professionally video-recorded lesson and wrote their observations towards giving feedback to the potential mentee. Tables illustrated in the paper, show that mentors’ positive feedback and constructive criticisms vary considerably on the same observed events. Data from this study were synthesised to posit a theoretical model for analysing mentor feedback in an interconnected, three-way Venn diagram, namely: visual, auditory and conceptual frames. Another study (n=28), which is a collection of mentor teachers’ work samples during the Mentoring for Effective Teaching (MET) program, provides strategies within six feedback practices, that is: (1) negotiated mentor-mentee expectations for providing feedback on practices, (2) reviewing teaching plans, (3) arranging for observations of practices, (4) providing oral feedback, (5) providing written feedback, and; (6) presenting opportunities for the mentee to evaluate teaching practices with consideration of the mentor’s feedback. For example, on the last mentioned practice (6) there were strategies such as “Plan a time for evaluation of practices (guided reflection)”, “Read the mentee’s reflection on practice and discuss how it aligns with your observations of their practices”, and “Highlight verbally and/or in writing where the mentee is perceptive about the reflection and how the reflection could be enhanced for future evaluations”. Developing a range of strategies that may assist the mentee in professional growth, include enlisting a community of mentors, ensuring mentors have a repertoire of strategies for articulating feedback, and using mentor feedback tools and models. This study has implications for the development of feedback models and strategies.