In this chapter, the authors aim to discuss the practices of designing, planning and preparing for teachers of teacher working with one-to-one. In other words, their main purpose was to develop an effective mentoring relationship between the mentor and the mentee. I think mentoring is a reflective relationship in which the mentor supports the mentee to analyze and develop his or her teaching practices. In fact, mentoring is very essential in all stages of teacher education. Thus, mentors play a vital role in supporting beginning teachers to develop their identity as teachers. The author points out that the person acts like a “sounding board” (O’Mahony & Matthews, 2005). Furthermore, it is an effective way for experienced teachers to acquire new skills. Consequently, students' outcomes will be influenced.
In my opinion, mentors should be well-selected and well-trained and given sufficient time to work with the mentees in order to help the feeble and average teachers become good and even the good teachers become excellent. Fundamentally, mentors need to be outstanding in their teaching practice and be excellent role models who have good interpersonal skills. Once I read the roles of mentor written by the author: acculturator, model, support, sponsor and educator, I remembered how our mentors worked as detectives. They came to the class and observed teachers to find some strengths and weaknesses. After the class, he sat with the mentee for few minutes to read what he had written on his sheet. This was done two times during the semester. By doing so, would the mentor influence the professional development of the mentee? The answer is no.
Baxter et. al., (as cited in O’Mahony & Matthews, 2005), have identified three critical roles for the mentor in effective classroom observations: to help stimulate and develop new practice (observation as development), develop current practice (observation for development) and assure standards of practice (observation of development). From my point of view, it is highly important for the mentor to listen carefully, be patient and be open to any new ideas. I emphasized that, the mentor should be a good listener because, during my experience, I do not remember that I had the chance to speak freely and reflect about my teaching. That is because mentoring is linked to my assessment. Thus, I totally agree with the authors on the five steps for post-lesson discussions in mentoring:
- Listen actively while the mentee describes what he noticed and share what you have.
- Listen actively while the mentee explores explanations and add any possible explanations.
- Listen actively while the mentee recalls what others have said or written and share what you have.
- Listen actively while the mentee considers these different perspectives and clarify the logic of the argument.
- Listen actively while the mentee makes decisions and concrete plans and share or support.
I believe that argument matters should be very confidential in order to have an open and honest discussion. Another important point is that the mentor should not give advice from his own point of view or relate to his experience in similar situations. Comments and suggestions should be related in a way or another to mentee's context. Furthermore, the mentor should focus on the issues that concerned the mentee trying to understand them and help the mentee to develop new understandings.
As we know, teaching has become more complex over the past few years due to the developments in the science of teaching. Therefore, models of mentoring should be examined thoroughly. I believe that educators must deepen their thinking on the effective mentoring relationship. Moreover, the selection of mentors to conclude mentoring programs should be revised and developed.
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