Mentoring and prospects for teacher development - a South African perspective

Probyn, M.J. and van der Mescht, H. (2001) Mentoring and prospects for teacher development - a South African perspective. In: Mentoring in the New Millenium: the Second British Council Regional Mentor Conference, 13-16 April , 2000, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.




School-based mentoring has developed in response to a number of factors pertaining to the pre-service education of student teachers and the in-service professional development of experienced teachers. Traditionally teacher education has consisted of university-based theory with school-based practice, based on an understanding of professional learning as ‘theory into practice’. One of the problems with this model is that theory may come to seem too remote from practice, and that practice appears untheorised by remaining implicit and unproblematised. The one-year teachers’ diploma course offered by the Rhodes University Education Department incorporates a ten-week teaching practice slot. This protracted period has been useful in allowing frequent and consistent contact between university tutors and student teachers, and between mentor teachers and student teachers. Where the system has not been strong is in enabling meaningful collaboration among all three parties. A pilot school-based mentoring programme was thus implemented in 1999, involving English First and Second Language student teachers, the two university tutors and seven mentor teachers. Ongoing evaluative research revealed that the programme was welcomed by all, and that the student teachers in particular gained much in the way of learning to be critically reflexive in a non-threatening environment. However, the research also uncovered areas that need to be developed. Student teachers, for example, need guidance in terms of learning how to talk about teaching; mentor teachers need to develop the confidence and expertise required to open up their practice in a critically constructive context. On the strength of the programme’s success, the Education Department has extended school-based mentoring to all HDE students, and is exploring ways of setting up courses through which other educators (such as EDOs) may receive training in pre- and in-service teacher mentoring.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords:teacher training; collaborative teaching; student teachers; teaching practice; mentor teachers; Oxford School Mentoring Handbook; university tutors; educational transformation; school-based mentoring; Rhodes University Education Department; Rhodes University; South Africa
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
Research Institutes and Units > Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)
ID Code:1451
Deposited On:19 Aug 2009
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:20
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