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Mentoring Formally or Informally? Dilemmas and Paradoxes of Mentoring and Education for Mentors.
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Culture Studies, Religious Studies and Educational Sciences, Curriculum studies. (Forskargruppen Induction)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5592-2964
Institute for Educational Research, Jyväskylä, Finland.
Institute for Educational Research, Jyväskylä, Finland.
Univeristy of Tallinn, Estland.
2010 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper is based on a comparative study of mentoring systems of newly appointed teachers . The study draws upon a comparative data collected by an international project Supporting Newly Qualified Teachers through Collaborative Mentoring (NQT-COME), funded by Nordplus Horizontal program. The participants of the NQT-COME project represent nationally remarkable institutions for teacher education and educational research as well as some of the municipalities and teacher unions in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Within the network, we have experiences of both the classical one-to-one mentoring and peer group solutions. Theoretically, we examine the issue within a model which views both mentoring and mentor training as examples of the ongoing formalization process of non-formal learning, whereas we may also detect nowadays some other opposite examples of informalisation of formal learning (Tuschling and Engelmann 2006). One of our main challenges is to establish mentoring as an integral part of teachers’ professional development. Whatever the model of mentoring is, the mentors also seem to need some education and support. We have consciously swifted our emphasis from defining the characteristics, skills and competencies of mentor candidates into their education.  One of the main aims of mentor education is to develop knowledge about teachers’ professional development and learning, how to support reflection of beginning teachers (Harrison, Dymoke, Pell 2006; Rippon, Martin 2006). One of our current on going studies is a comparative research of different national and local solutions for mentor education.

Basically, mentoring has been regarded as informal learning. Traditionally, mentors have not been trained, just the opposite: mentoring has been regarded as transferring of tacit knowledge through informal discussions and practical guidance by an experienced colleague (Roberts 2000). Mentoring is often based on an interaction between an expert and a novice on a practical level which not necessarily includes theoretical or conceptual perspectives whereas formal education is focused on explicit, conceptual and theoretical knowledge.  Lately, mentoring has been more and more formalized as it has become a part of in-service teacher education and a purposeful professional development. The formalization process is culminated in the growing trend of accrediting of the mentor education modules. However, if teachers need to be educated for becoming  mentors of new teachers, the original idea of mentoring as an informal learning is being radically changed. The degree of formalisation, however, varies in the participant countries of NQT-COME project. In some counties the mentor education modules have even been accredited in ECTS credits whereas in some other countries we detect minor features of formalisation. In this presentation, we will introduce the national solutions of organizing mentor education in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway and Sweden. We also reflect the paradoxes and dilemmas which we have met in locating mentoring between the traditional and modern understandings of mentoring. We will concentrate on the following research questions:

- We will concentrate on the following research questions

- What kind of theoretical thinking the mentor education programmes are based on?

-How have the programmes been carried out?

-What are the advantages and possible weaknesses of formalizing mentoring and mentor education?

-What kind of theoretical thinking the mentor education programmes are based on?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010.
Keyword [en]
Induction, Mentoring training, mentors
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-7628OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-7628DiVA, id: diva2:353274
Conference
European Conference of Educational Research (ECER), Helsinki, Finland, 25-27 Augusti 2010
Projects
Didaktiska perspektiv på nya lärares professionella utveckling
Available from: 2010-09-24 Created: 2010-09-24 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved

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