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Elizabeth White Julia Mackintosh Claire Dickerson

Abstract

Teachers who mentor student teachers have a range of mentoring, coaching and teaching experience. Appropriate professional development for mentors takes consideration of this experience as well as the age phase, context (for example, main-stream or special education setting) and route that the student teacher is taking into teaching (school-based experience varying from a few weeks to a whole school year). Mentors are school-based teacher educators with diverse professional learning and development requirements, for which a personalised needs-led approach may be more effective than a training approach limited to understanding the processes needed for a specific programme and setting. Core essentials for school-based teacher educators’ development include introductions to the Partnership team, values, route and procedures; basic mentoring principles and skills; providing feedback to the school-based teacher educator on the professional learning conversation and modelling subject development conversations; and access to a community of teacher educators. Beyond these core essentials, other opportunities can enrich professional learning and practice. Cameos of such enrichment opportunities are described in this article to illustrate the personalised needs-led approach that has evolved within an Initial Teacher Education Partnership in England. The value, drawbacks and implications of this flexibly adaptive approach are discussed.

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