Identifying mentoring practices for developing effective primary mathematics teaching

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Interim Citation: The contents of this conference can be freely accessed online via the conference’s web page (see hypertext link).


Mentoring and the development of teaching mathematics It is well established that mentoring can assist in the development of teaching practices particularly when mentors and mentees engage in pedagogical discourse and reflective thinking (e.g., Power, Clarke, & Hine, 2002; Sinclair, 1997). Mentoring is now a prominent practice in teacher education and has implications for "generalist" primary teachers who take on mentoring roles. Just as educators and teachers can improve their teaching practices, so too can mentors (supervising teachers) improve their mentoring practices (Hudson & Skamp, 2003). Although education departments have provided professional development for teachers in mentoring positions (NSW DET, 2003), Hulshof and Verloop’s study (1994) reports that 74% of mentors felt that education in mentoring was necessary but mainly for new mentors. As curricula continually changes, primary mathematics teachers are required to develop further understandings and skills; similarly, mentors involved in mathematics education also need to ensure that their understandings and skills are aligned with current mathematics teaching practices. A major part of the mentor’s role is to develop the mentee’s overall teaching ability, yet each mentor has individual beliefs on what is and what is not important. These individual mentor views will vary on all aspects of teaching and mentoring. Although some mentoring can emerge naturally, educators need to ensure that mentoring is not left to chance; hence mentors "need explicit training in the stimulation of novice teachers to reflect on their actions in order to move them to higher levels of professional thinking" (Veenman, de Laat, & Staring, 1998, p. 6).