Effective mentoring models

As alluded to above, there are a number of models of mentoring that a mentor could adopt in order to support the growth and development of a beginning teacher. Attempts have been made to categorise different approaches to mentoring, for example Maynard and Furlong (1995) suggested that there are three categories of mentoring, the apprenticeship model, the competence model and the reflective model. The apprenticeship model argues that the skills of being a teacher are best learned by supervised practice, with guidance from and imitation of, experienced practitioners. The competence model suggests that learning to teach reguires learning a predefined list of competences (the current Teachers' Standards in England (DfE, 2011) could be described as a competence model). In this model, the mentor becomes a systematic trainer supporting a beginning teacher to meet the competences. In the reflective model, the promotion of reflective practice through mentoring is key. This requires a beginning teacher to have some mastery of the skills of teaching to be able to reflect upon their own practice and for the mentor to be a co-enquirer and facilitator rather than instructor. Task 1.4 asks you to look at three different mentoring models.

Task 1.4 Three different mentoring models

  • • What are the features of practice for each of these models: apprentice, competence and reflective?
  • • Which features of these models do you use/want to use in our mentoring?
  • • When do/would you use each model of mentoring?

Maynard and Furlong (1995, p. 18) acknowledged that these three models exist but suggested that they should be taken together, in order to contribute to 'a view of mentoring that responds to the changing needs of trainees'. It is this recognition that mentoring practices and approaches evolve as a beginning teacher develops and the need for an examination of different stages of development that lead us to exploring three models of mentoring in more detail. We explore three well-known models (Daloz, 2012; Katz, 1995; Clutterbuck, 2004), all of which focus on the need for the mentor to be flexible in their style and approach to best fit the needs of a mentee, at any given stage of their development, in ITE and/or their teaching career.

Daloz's (2012) developmental model identifies two key aspects that need to be present in order for optimal learning to take place: challenge and support. The challenge aspect refers to your ability as a mentor to question a beginning teacher to enable them to reflect critically on their own beliefs, behaviours and attitudes. The support aspect relies on you being able to offer an empathetic ear, actively listen and encourage a beginning teacher to find solutions in order to continue to develop and progress.

Daloz (2012) argues that a combination of high challenge and high support needs to be offered by you as the mentor for a beginning teacher to learn effectively and to ‘grow’ (high challenge + high support = growth). At the opposite end of this spectrum is what Daloz refers to as 'stasis'. A beginning teacher's learning in this zone is very limited as a result of their mentor offering low levels of challenge and support (low challenge + low support = stasis). Where challenge is high but support is low, a beginning teacher is likely to 'retreat' from development (high challenge + low support = retreat). However, where challenge is low but support is high, a beginning teacher is unlikely to move beyond their present situation despite their potential for growth being on the increase. Daloz refers to this as 'confirmation' (low challenge + high support = confirmation). You therefore need to be aware of both the level of challenge you offer and the level of support needed by the beginning teacher.

The second model is Katz's stages of development model (1995) which describes a model for professional growth in four stages:

  • 1. Survival stage
  • 2. Consolidation stage
  • 3. Renewal stage
  • 4. Maturity stage.

During the first stage, 'survival', a beginning teacher is likely to show signs of being self-focussed and just 'getting by' or coping from day-to-day. They are likely to experience their practice from a position of doubt and be asking guestions like 'can I get to the end of the week?' or 'can I really do this day after day?'. During this initial stage, a beginning teacher may show a reluctance to take responsibility for things and, instead, look to blame others, for example, the pupils, colleagues, the school. As a mentor, observing a beginning teacher during the survival stage, you are likely to see elements of confusion and a lack of any clear rules and routines in their lessons. The beginning teacher may also demonstrate little, if any, consistency in their approach to managing behaviour. Their teaching style is often very teacher-centric and they show a reluctance to deviate from their 'script' in any way.

By the second stage, 'consolidation', it is likely that a beginning teacher will have begun to implement clearer rules and routines into their classrooms. There is evidence of them starting to question their own practice and being more open to alternative ways of doing things. Whilst observing a beginning teacher at this stage, you are likely to notice that their classes are generally well managed and that the needs of the average pupil are predominantly well catered for. In addition, the beginning teacher is likely to demonstrate a greater awareness of individual pupils and their learning needs. However, they are unlikely to have gained a true grasp of how to support and cater for the needs of pupils within specific subgroups, for example, special educational needs and disability (SEND), English as an additional language (EAL) and gifted and talented (G and T).

The 'renewal' stage is the point at which a beginning teacher becomes much more self-aware and self-critical. They have generally mastered the basics and are now striving for ways in which they can improve their practice. They are looking for strategies and ideas of how to introduce more creative and innovative activities into their lessons. As a general rule of thumb, at the 'renewal' stage a beginning teacher is often at their most self-motivated and is eager to contribute to departmental discussions, offer suggestions, design additional resources and/or become involved in the running of lunch time and after-school clubs.

The final stage of Katz's model, 'maturity', is where a beginning teacher is demonstrating signs of developing their own beliefs, teaching strategies and styles. They are regularly asking themselves a number of questions that support deeper levels of reflection, both in and on practice (Schon, 1983). They are still looking to improve their practice and are still interested in new ideas and resources. However, their focus has shifted from an inwards perspective to a much broader one. They are now very much interested in the impact of their teaching on their pupils' learning and progress. Task 1.5 focuses on the responsibilities of the mentor and beginning teacher at each stage of Katz's stages of development model (1995).

Task 1.5 Responsibilities of the mentor and beginning teacher at each stage of Katz's stages of development model (1995)

In each of Katz's stages, there are responsibilities for both the mentor and beginning teacher. Identify what you would do to support a beginning teacher at each stage.

Clutterbuck's (2004) model of developmental mentoring suggests that an effective mentor wants to draw on all four of the 'helping to learn' styles (guiding, coaching, counselling and networking) (see Figure 1.1). Figure 1.1 shows that in any given mentoring relationship, a mentor may need to adopt a different style and/or approach to challenge and support a beginning teacher at various stages of their development. In developmental mentoring the beginning teacher sets the agenda based on their own development needs and the mentor provides insight and guidance to support the beginning teacher to achieve the desired goals. A more expert mentor will be able to select the right 'helping to learn' style for a beginning teacher's needs.

Helping to learn styles

Figure 1.1 Helping to learn styles

(Source: Adapted from Clutterbuck's model of developmental mentoring (2004, p. 9))

Now complete Task 1.6, which looks at Clutterbuck's model.

Task 1.6 Helping a beginning teacher to learn using Clutterbuck's (2004) model

  • • Which of the four'helping to learn’styles you consider the most comfortable and why.
  • • Which do you use the least often and/or feel the least comfortable with and why?
  • • What could they do to overcome this?

Your ability to assess and identify the developmental stage in which a beginning teacher is operating at any given point is a significant aspect of your role in becoming an effective mentor and ensuring growth takes places. Of egual importance, however, is your skill in adapting your own approach to fit the developmental needs of a beginning teacher. It is worth remembering that none of the three models (Daloz, 2012; Katz, 1995; or Clutterbuck, 2004) are linear in structure, and, therefore, it is likely that a beginning teacher will move 'to and fro' between stages/zones, for example, if teaching different aspects of the curriculum in which they have greater or lesser knowledge and/or confidence or starting at a new school. With each of the models considered above, it is possible to see elements of all three approaches to mentoring described by Maynard and Furlong (1995). Regardless of the mentoring model on which you prefer to base your practice, the attributes of the mentor play a crucial role in making decisions about the approach to mentoring.

There have been a number of attempts to characterise attributes of mentors. For example, Child and Merrill (2005) sought to generate an understanding of the attributes of a mentor in ITE. Cho, Ramanan and Feldman (2011) described personal qualities that lie at the core of a mentor's identity and professional traits that relate to success in work-related activities. The DfE (2016b) described four separate, but related, areas in the National Standards for Schoolbased Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Mentors, i.e. personal qualities, teaching, professionalism and self-development and working in partnership. Ragins (2016) described the attributes of a mentor as an antecedent to high-guality mentoring; as something that needs to be in place before a mentor-mentee relationship begins. Task 1.7 asks you to consider the attributes of an effective mentor.

Task 1.7 Attributes of an effective mentor

  • 1. Considering the context and models of mentoring outlined in this chapter, reflect upon what you think the attributes of an effective mentor are. Attach a level of significance to each attribute, using three categories of significance: essential, desirable and highly desirable.
  • 2. Having identified the attributes and the levels of significance, place five of the attributes in a prioritised list that best captures the ideal profile of a mentor of a beginning teacher.
  • 3. Reflect on your own practice as a mentor; how might you develop the attributes that you have prioritised?

Finally, Task 1.8 asks you to reflect again on your mentoring practice after having read this chapter.

Task 1.8 Mentor's reflection: Reflecting on your mentoring practice

After having read this chapter, reflect how your understanding of definitions of mentoring, relevant policy and guidance documents and models of mentoring have/will impact on your practice.

Summary and key points

Effective mentoring is a complex and demanding task, but, as with any role that enables you to have a positive impact on the development of others, it is hugely rewarding. In this chapter, we have considered the importance of:

  • • Being aware of different definitions of mentoring
  • • Understanding the context in which you are carrying out your role and what moral, political or theoretical drivers might influence the education system that you work in and/or your work as a mentor
  • • Having a broad understanding of different models, or approaches to, mentoring in order to make decisions about how to carry out your role as a mentor.

Further resources

Cordingley, P„ Higgins, S., Greany, T., Buckler, N„ Coles-Jordan, D., Crisp, B„ Saunders, L. and Coe, R. (2015) Developing great teaching: Lessons from the international reviews into effective professional development. London: Teacher Development Trust.

This book should help you to gain an understanding of how mentoring fits into current ideas of effective continued professional development and learning.

Maynard, T. and Furlong, J. (1995) 'Learning to teach and models of mentoring', in T. Kerry and A. Shelton-Mayes (eds) Issues in mentoring. London: Routledge, pp. 10-14.

This chapter should help to deepen your knowledge of the three categories of mentoring, the apprentice model, the competence model and the reflective models.

Newton, D.P. (2008) A practical guide to teaching science in the secondary school. Abingdon, Oxon and New York: Routledge.

This practical guide is designed to help beginning science teachers to learn how to teach science in secondary schools, with an emphasis on practical skills and subject knowledge.

Pedersen, J., Isozaki, T. and Hirano, T. (eds) (2017) Model science teacher preparation programs: An international comparison of what works. Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age Publishing.

This book will help you to view, gain knowledge and adapt successful models, implemented in different countries, to incorporate effective science teacher preparation programmes.

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