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Diana Chaplin Heather Munn

Abstract

This article explores the nature of effective mentoring practices in training Early Years Teachers in a University. A small-scale enquiry was undertaken where mentees and their mentors were asked about their experiences of meeting the standards to gain Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS). The results indicate that the use of grading to identify training goals was seen by mentors and their mentees as useful in supporting improvements in practice. These professional dialogues were helpful in supporting the students’ transitions between the University setting and their placement or professional setting. The research team had some concerns about whether the role of the mentor would be compromised by asking the mentor to assess their mentee in practice, drawing on professional standards and Ofsted scales. Mentees and Mentors revealed that the assessment process yielded enhanced professional development. The success of students to meet professional standards rests on the shoulders of mentors, and mentors say that they felt empowered by training from the University. In this sense mentorship may be seen as a crucial part of the University’s Community of Practice, breaking down the boundaries between academic and professional knowledge, and enabling a culture of professional dialogue and critical reflection.

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