About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2307-2314
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain

THE ROLE OF UNIVERSITY MENTORS IN TEACHER STUDENTS’ PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICE

P. Villems, H.L. Toome, M. Pedaste

University of Tartu (ESTONIA)
Reform of teacher education programmes has been a key topic during the past decade (e.g. Beijaard, Meijer, Morine-Dershimer & Tillema, 2005; Hammerness, 2011). Several studies indicate a gap between theory and practice in teacher education (Kansanen et al., 2000; Korthagen, 2001; Meijer, 2010). Therefore, the importance of reflection and reflection skills in teacher education and teachers’ professional development has been discussed more and more (Korthagen & Vasalos, 2005; Dewey, 2011). However, it has been found that it is not easy to reflect on one’s own teaching activities and some support is required in this process (Beijaard, Meijer, Morine-Dershimer & Tillema, 2005; Shulman & Shulman, 2004). Here we see that a mentor is needed to provide appropriate guidance. The roles of the mentor are seen in modelling good teaching and in improving teaching skills (Maphalala, 2013; Nalumansi, 2011); in providing support in adapting oneself to school environment (Hall, Draper, Smith, & Bullough, 2008); in giving feedback and supporting reflection skills of a novice teacher or mentee (Sempowicz & Hudson, 2012); or in providing general emotional support (Kwan & Lopez-Real, 2005).

According to the widely acknowledged needs the University of Tartu in Estonia has implemented several changes in the past years in its teacher education programmes. In a two-year pilot study a network for innovation and practice schools was tested. One of the changes tested was the role of university’s mentor teachers in the supporting network of teacher students.

The aim of the current study was to understand how the university’s teachers describe the role of university’s mentor teachers in the supporting network of teacher students’ pedagogical practice. The results show that the broader community of university teachers is aware of the role of university’s mentor teachers and the professional skills and personal characteristics required for working in this role; however, the teachers who participated in the pilot study still took the role of a supervising teacher rather than the role of a mentor. The university teachers find that the role of university’s mentor teacher could be strengthened if the person were more involved in the preparation of teacher students’ activities in schools. Currently their main role is giving feedback and evaluations. Additionally, the university’s mentor teacher should be more involved in mentor discussions in schools. The main obstacles in taking on a broader role seem to be lack of time and the university’s work distribution, which does not support the role.

Our study shows that the role of university’s mentor teacher is only needed if his/her role and the aims of the activities are clearly defined and if the role cannot be fulfilled by mentor teachers in schools or by supervising teachers in universities.
@InProceedings{VILLEMS2014ROL,
author = {Villems, P. and Toome, H.L. and Pedaste, M.},
title = {THE ROLE OF UNIVERSITY MENTORS IN TEACHER STUDENTS’ PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICE},
series = {7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2014 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-2484-0},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {17-19 November, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {2307-2314}}
TY - CONF
AU - P. Villems AU - H.L. Toome AU - M. Pedaste
TI - THE ROLE OF UNIVERSITY MENTORS IN TEACHER STUDENTS’ PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICE
SN - 978-84-617-2484-0/2340-1095
PY - 2014
Y1 - 17-19 November, 2014
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2014 Proceedings
SP - 2307
EP - 2314
ER -
P. Villems, H.L. Toome, M. Pedaste (2014) THE ROLE OF UNIVERSITY MENTORS IN TEACHER STUDENTS’ PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICE, ICERI2014 Proceedings, pp. 2307-2314.
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