Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Mentoring as an educative function: Professional development experiences that influence mentor teachers' beliefs
by Bresnahan, Tammy L., Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University, 2011, 204; 3496475
Abstract (Summary)

This mixed methods study investigated the self-reported frequency of professional development experiences mentors have had with their mentees and with other mentors and identified the self-reported beliefs they hold about mentoring. Quantitative data were collected through an online survey of teachers from one school district that had mentored at least one time within the past 2 years. Specifically, mentors were asked to report how often they engaged in specific activities with their mentees and with other mentors. Mentors were also asked to report the degree to which they believed given statements were true about mentoring (a) as a professional development experience for the mentors themselves; (b) as a way to improve mentors’ own classroom teaching practice; and (c) as an avenue for leadership roles in schools. Qualitative data were collected through faceto- face interviews with mentors to better understand the quality of their experiences and to identify those experiences that were more powerful in terms of shaping their beliefs. In addition, data were analyzed to determine the relationship between the frequency of mentors’ experiences and their beliefs. The results show that the frequency of experiences mentors have had with their mentees and with other mentors was positively and significantly related to their beliefs in 5 out of 6 cases.

Mentors reported strong beliefs about mentoring as professional development for themselves, as a way to improve their own classroom teaching practice, and as a vehicle for leadership in schools. This study sought to put mentors in the forefront by exploring their experiences and their beliefs about mentoring. This focus on the mentor teacher and not just the mentee places this research at the core of improving teaching practice and viewing mentoring as an educative experience for veteran and novice alike.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Burnaford, Gail
School: Florida Atlantic University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 73/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education Policy, Teacher education, Curriculum development
Keywords: Beliefs, Mentoring, Policy, Professional development, Teacher leadership
Publication Number: 3496475
ISBN: 978-1-267-15937-3
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