Educative Mentoring: Challenges and Enablers of Implementation in an Intermediate School Context
An effective mentoring programme has a positive effect on the quality of teaching, student achievement, the retention of trained teachers and the teaching profession as a whole and the importance of mentoring beginning teachers cannot be overstated. Recently, there has been a shift in thinking on the most effective way to mentor beginning teachers. This shift has been away from a mentoring approach that only provides support and guidance towards educative mentoring which both challenges and transforms teaching practice and is based on a co-constructed learning relationship. In 2012, the New Zealand Teachers Council introduced guidelines into schools to assist mentor teachers in the educative mentoring of beginning teachers. The purpose of this case study was to examine how effectively one intermediate school was implementing these guidelines, identify challenges involved in the implementation process and describe the conditions necessary to support effective, educative mentoring. To answer the research questions, data was collected through an on-line survey, focus groups and an interview. The findings indicated that while both the mentors and beginning teachers felt that the guidelines were being implemented, neither group believed the mentoring process at the school was particularly effective. The biggest challenge to the implementation of the guidelines was differing perceptions of the purpose and potential of a mentoring programme. The beginning teachers, mentor teachers and principal all held differing views on the purpose of mentoring, leading to other challenges including the lack of clarity around procedures and expectations and tension between assistance and assessment.