Collaboration or assessment? Some perspectives on mentoring in Finland and Sweden
JESSICA ASPFORS, Faculty of Education, Åbo Akademi University, Finland
GÖRAN FRANSON, Faculty of Education and Business Studie, University of Gävle, Sweden
HANNU L. T. HEIKKINEN, Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
In this presentation, some tensional trends within mentoring, which we call a contradiction between collaboration and assessment, will be addressed. The aim is threefold: firstly to describe and compare the development of mentoring programs in Finland and Sweden at a system level, secondly to illustrate how the various mentoring systems have been experienced by the persons involved and thirdly to discuss the political and ideological circumstances and the possible effects of these solutions. The study is based on empirical data from the Finnish and Swedish contexts, both on the level of mentors’ and NQTs’ experiences, based on interviews and/or focus group discussions and on the national policy level, based on policy documents on teacher education and, in the Swedish part, the responses of teacher educators to them.
The tentative result indicates profound differences between the two national initiatives of mentoring in Finland and Sweden. The mentoring process in Finland, peer group mentoring, is clearly based on social constructivist assumptions on knowledge and learning. The integration of formal, informal and nonformal learning as well as the equality and professional autonomy as persons and professionals is central. The proposed system of a mandatory induction system in Sweden is, however, very different with mentoring, probation year, registration of teachers and possible assessment of NQTs as central components. In the presentation these issues will be discussed upon in terms of teachers’ continuing professional learning and development.