Mentoring preservice EFL primary teachers
Hudson, P, Nguyen, MH & Hudson, S 2007, 'Mentoring preservice EFL primary teachers', paper presented to the Japan Association for Language Teaching 33rd International Conference, Tokyo, Japan, 22-25 July.
The in-school context of preservice English as Foreign Language (EFL) teacher education is pivotal for developing knowledge and skills. Preservice teachers’ field experiences are recognised as a key for enhancing the practicalities of teaching; hence the mentor’s role is crucial to the preservice teacher’s development. Yet, mentors have individual beliefs on what is and what is not important for developing preservice English as Foreign Language (EFL) teachers. Five factors for mentoring have been identified, namely, Personal Attributes, System Requirements, Pedagogical Knowledge, Modelling, and Feedback, and items associated with each factor have been justified with the literature (Hudson, Skamp, & Brooks, 2005). A literature-based survey instrument gathered 100 Vietnamese preservice teachers’ perceptions of their mentoring for EFL teaching. Results indicated acceptable Cronbach alpha scores for four of the five factors, that is, Personal Attributes=.74, Pedagogical Knowledge=.89, Modelling=.81, and Feedback=.75; however System Requirements was .08 below the accepted .70 level. More than 50% of mentees perceived they had not received mentoring for developing their teaching of English writing on 29 of the 34 survey items, particularly with system requirements and modelling of EFL practices. Tertiary institutions may employ the survey instrument to gauge the degree and quality of mentoring in subject-specific areas (such as EFL writing) and, as a result of diagnostic analysis, plan and implement mentoring programs that aim to address specific needs of mentors in order to enhance the mentoring process. Furthermore, benchmarking mentoring practices may aid in determining ways for improving such practices.