Mentors’ and mentees’ views about desirable attributes and practices for preservice teachers

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Conference publication

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Universities provide preservice teachers (mentees) with directions on how to engage within their school placements, yet mentees have ongoing concerns about how to interact with their mentors. What are desirable attributes and practices for preservice teachers in their roles as mentees? This qualitative study gathers data from primary and secondary Australian teachers (n=25) through extended response questionnaire and audio-recorded focus group discussions, and preservice teachers (n=10) using audio-recorded interviews at the conclusion of their four-week practicum. Findings indicated that mentors had clear views on desirable attributes (e.g., enthusiasm, commitment, resilience) and practices (e.g., planning, preparation, building a teaching repertoire) for mentees; whereas mentees had varying views on identifying such attributes and practices and did not refer to: content knowledge, differentiation, and knowing school and university policies. This showed that mentees need more guidance for focusing on specific attributes and practices to benefit the mentoring relationship and their teaching development.