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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Patti Andrea
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology
Title: The Impact of Mentoring Pre-Service Teachers on the Mentor Teacher
Dr. Van Cooley, Chair
Dr. Patricia Reeves
Dr. Katharine Cummings
Date: Thursday, October 28, 2010 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
3310 Sangren Hall
Since the early 1980’s, policy makers and educational leaders have pinned high hopes on mentoring as a vehicle for reforming teaching and teacher education (Feiman-Nemser, 1996). A review of the evolution of mentoring illustrates that researchers have focused most of their attention on a relatively narrow aspect of mentoring relationships and relatively little attention has been paid to mentor benefits (Ragins & Kram, 2007). This study examines the patterns, similarities and differences of the experiences of mentor teachers of university pre-service intern teachers, with regard to benefits mentoring has on mentors’ reflective processes and teacher leadership.
A phenomenological study was conducted to explore if mentors attained leadership benefits and/or reflective behaviors from mentoring. A qualitative approach allowed for a deeper richness of data and captured the complexities of the mentors’ experiences and an in-depth understanding of those personal perspectives related to mentoring. In-depth interviews were the primary method of collecting information, which consisted of open-ended questions and allowed for unconstrained descriptions of the mentors’ views on the impact mentoring has on mentors.
Criteria for participation in this study were experienced mentors who were highly rated by previous student pre-service interns through a large Midwestern university pre-service intern program.
Results suggest that mentoring impacts mentors with respect to teacher leadership characteristics and reflective processes. Specifically, mentoring caused mentors to 1) challenge the process; 2) inspire a shared vision; 3) enable others to act; 4) model the way; 5) encourage the heart; 6) be more responsible for their own learning and attend to continuous improvement; 7) be more aware of their self, others and their surroundings; and 8) utilize effective inquiry and take action with new understandings more when mentoring.
Overall, mentoring programs are critical in both preparing tomorrow’s teachers and in enhancing the skills of teachers. Given the significant demands placed on school systems, it is important for leaders to examine the benefits of mentoring programs. The findings from this study add to the literature base by providing a deeper understanding of how mentoring impacts mentors.