Mentor Role:

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      The mentor’s responsibilities include:
u  Act as a positive role model
u  Enthuse the student teacher about their subject and subject pedagogy so that student teacher, in turn, will contribute to enthusing pupils of all abilities, aptitutdes and backgrounds to want to learn, enjoy and achieve
u  Help the student teacher to understand something about the context of the school an how this affects practice.
u  Help the student teacher to develop a planned way using an appropriate balance of support and challenge determined by the student teacher’s progress.
u  Be familiar with the aims and expectations of the ITE curriculum
u  Understand how to assess the student teacher’s progress ad be able to do this accurately
u  Set the student teacher SMART targets in relation to the ITE professional standards/competencies and the course requirements.
u  Facilitate the student teacher’s links with colleagues and professional development opportunities beyond the student teacher’s subject area.
      Key characteristics of Mentors:
u  Organization element:
l  Responsible for the school-based training of the student teacher
l  Planning a timetable for them
l  Working out sort of what proportion of lessons for them to be involved with
l  How much they’ll be spend working with you and working with colleagues.
u  Pastoral element:
l  The concern and support that you need to the student teacher
      Student’s views:
u  Someone who is prepared to give you the space that you need to get used to being a teacher, to being an independent teacher, but at the same time someone who is always prepared to give you the new ideas or the direction that you might be lacking to help you out with your organization of lessons and always to give good feedback.
u  Personal qualities like approachability, objectivity and listening skils.
u  “I think it’s very easy for people to sit at the back of the classroom and have too many of their own thoughts about the way they teach and put those onto the way they think you should teach and I don’t really think that’s the right way of doing it.”
u  “They should sit there, as impartial as they can, not make a judgement with respect to how they do it, but purely look at how you do it and talk about your skills and what you’re good at and not good at.”
      Mentoring relationships:
u  The mentor must avoid patronizing the student teacher and should be sensitive to their adult status.
u  Conversation between two adults, where one is the teacher and the other the student teacher, can be uncomfortable and non-productive unless both participants feel that their contributions are valued.
l  This can particularly be the case if the student teacher has had previous experience of other school contexts or alternative approaches to subject pedagogy.
l  Appreciating this and understanding what the student teacher is learning on their ITE course can provide a starting point for discussion.
u  Good mentors explore the assumptons, values and beliefs held by the student through questioning and keeping dialogue open to differences of opinion.
u  Such questioning helps to establish a productive climate in which critical reflection and valuable learning can take place.

Next page: Balancing support and challenge



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