With a focus on building capacity of teachers, a mentoring approach is an effective method of professional learning. This can involve working with an individual teacher or small teams of teachers who may in turn will work with larger groups.
The comments below are from three teachers. After participating in a mentoring project they were asked, ‘Has your opinion about your own professional knowledge around literacy changed?’
Yes most definitely. I actually feel like I have a decent knowledge base about the teaching (and theory behind it) of literacy, and I have ideas and thoughts that are worth sharing in discussions (never used to feel like that).
I am more confident about how I am teaching. Still have lots to learn.
Teaching is no longer my job, it is now my career. To do this I need to keep up to date with research, be open to new suggestions and ideas, keep the professional dialogue going and share and model exemplary practices.
We can provide skilled mentors to work with individual staff whether they are beginning teachers, teachers returning to the work force, teachers seeking promotion and/or accreditation or teachers seeking to improve teaching and learning. Alternatively we can support and/or mentor the leadership team planning whole school change in Literacy.
We implement a process designed to keep your work focused on changes in instruction that will impact on student learning. Our beliefs about mentoring/being a critical friend are as follows:
- the outcome of the mentoring experience is a change in classroom instruction that leads to improvement in student learning,
- all teachers are on a continuum of learning and deserve the opportunity to reflect about their current questions or challenges around student learning,
- feedback should support the teacher in refining his or her instruction in ways that impact on student learning,
- the process is most effective when it is supported by the principal and/or the leadership team.
The mentoring process takes time but is extremely powerful in supporting teachers to take charge of their own learning, while feeling supported.