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Australian Journal of Teacher Education

Australian Journal of Teacher Education

Abstract

Mentor-mentee meetings are a critical aspect of student teacher mentoring during teaching practice (TP)as they significantly contribute to the success of the whole mentoring process and consequently to the positive accomplishment of the entire practicum. This study contributes to debates on mentor-mentee meetings given the limited research on this phenomenon. By investigating the kinds of knowledge student teachers gain from such meetings, the findings may influence researchers to investigate other aspects of mentor-mentee meetings.

The study sought to explore from the student teachers’ perspectives, the domains of knowledge that they gain from mentoring meetings during residential TP. A qualitative approach which employed open-ended questionnaires was used to generate data from 16 student teachers: seven men and nine women in two education districts. Students indicated that they had good relationships with their mentors, and held formal meetings weekly, fortnightly or monthly. They also reported gaining general pedagogical knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, curriculum knowledge, knowledge of learners, and knowledge of educational contexts. Three students experienced ineffective mentoring, as such had limited benefits from mentoring processes and most likely from the practicum. Knowledge of what to teach, how to teach it as well as appropriate strategies for particular topics, the kinds of students and their specific settings often merge into what student teachers are expected to learn in teacher preparation inclusive of residential practicum. Comprehensive, prolonged, on-going mentor training workshops would expose mentors to the entire essence of mentoring and the centrality of formal mentor-mentee meetings not only for student teacher TP mentoring, but also for mentor growth and rejuvenation in their practice.

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