Being “adopted” into a teaching community: Exploring mentoring relationships in a yearlong field placement

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International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education



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Field experience, Mentoring and coaching in educational contexts for secondary education, Pre-service teacher education, Teacher education


© 2017, © Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: In order to prepare new members of the education profession, it is imperative that teachers enter their classrooms with the confidence, knowledge, and skills to serve their students from day one. One method for preparing such teacher candidates or student teachers is through school-based field placements during their preparation program. The purpose of this paper is to describe one example of a yearlong field placement and the mentoring relationships that emerged among participants. Design/methodology/approach: This qualitative study used the following data sources: focus group interviews among the teacher candidates, focus group interviews among the mentor teachers, field placement reflections and teaching analyses composed by the teacher candidates, and interviews conducted among teacher candidates and mentor teachers. Findings: Analysis of the data revealed that the yearlong field placement promoted positive mentoring relationships between teacher candidates and their classroom teachers. Specifically the following themes emerged: the “adoption” of teacher candidates into the high school classrooms, risk-taking within the classrooms, the mentor teachers’ use of constructive feedback, and collaborative “mentoring-down-the-hall.” Originality/value: In recent years, various scholars have investigated the impact of field placement experiences on teacher candidates; however, these studies have lacked a detailed analysis of how such experiences impacted mentoring relationships among candidates and their mentor teachers in a collaborative setting. This paper provides an in-depth study of the perceived experiences of mentor teachers and their candidates.

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