Our annotated bibliography is a collection of research about professional learning, coaching, and mentorship. Each entry shines a mentorship lens on the text and helps to inform our work at The Mentoree
If you’d like to suggest a resource to add to our collection please contact us.
Bressman, S., Winter, J. S., & Efron, S, E. (2018). Next generation mentoring: Supporting teachers beyond induction. Teaching and Teacher Education, 73, 162-170.
Bressman, Winter, and Efron (2018) investigate the potential impact of mentorship on mid and late-career stage educators. Through surveys and interviews Bressman et al. (2018) gathered data from 20 experienced educators about their perspectives on mentorship as an approach to support their continued professional growth. Analysis of the data suggests that mentorship may provide the personalized, differentiated professional learning that is meaningful to experienced educators. Supportive relationships with mentors can provide ongoing opportunities for reflecting on practice and setting goals for improvement.
This article brings forward the voices of mid and late-career stage educators and highlights how their professional learning needs can best be met. The educators interviewed highlight the importance of mentorship relationships based on trust. While some of the educators discuss the value of having a mentor who can physically visit their classrooms, observe their lessons, and provide feedback, Bressman et al. (2018) recommend considering the use of technology to supplement in-person classroom observations. At OnEdMentors Connect, we have found that while there are benefits to having a mentor within your school, our learning and thinking is broadened through relationships with mentors who are situated in contexts other than our own. Either way, teachers who, “have never been mentored during their professional careers, [are] missing out on opportunities to develop meaningful relationships to inspire professional growth” (Bressman, Winter, & Efron, 2018, p. 169).
Briscoe P. (2019). Virtual mentor partnerships between practising and preservice teachers: Helping to enhance professional growth and well-being. International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, 8(4), 235-254. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMCE-02-2019-0023
Briscoe (2019) outlines the importance of providing mentorship opportunities to preservice teachers to support their self-efficacy and well-being. She advocates for virtual mentorships that can provide the flexibility necessary to overcome barriers inherent in more traditional mentorship programs. Briscoe (2019) conducted research with three groups of participants over one term of their preservice program. These mentorship relationships involved one mentor and two or three mentees. The mentorship conversations were guided by, “five big concept questions” (p. 242) provided by the researcher. Data was collected through qualitative self-reports from the mentees.
Survey responses indicated that the preservice teachers appreciated the opportunity to extend their learning and build their confidence by talking to practising teachers. As one participant stated,
Before the mentorship, I felt like a teacher candidate, but working with my mentor made me feel more like a professional teacher, boosting my confidence, and alleviating feelings of inadequacy that may have negatively impacted my ability to work with students in complex classrooms. (p. 247)
The biggest challenge identified was finding time to meet. In this project the mentorship relationship consisted of multiple mentees which may have made arranging meeting times more challenging than in a one to one mentorship arrangement. Additionally, most mentees indicated that they didn’t intend to continue the relationship after the required three month period. Briscoe (2019), suggests that going forward this is an important element to discuss explicitly at the beginning of the relationship since continuing the mentorship may help support the transition from preservice to practising teacher.
Lopez A. (2013). Collaborative mentorship: A mentoring approach to support and sustain teachers for equity and diversity. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 21(3), 292-311. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13611267.2013.827836
Lopez (2013) proposes collaborative mentorship (CM) as a dialogical mentorship approach that creates a safe space for mentors and mentees to grapple with tensions embedded in diversity and equity education. The CM approach stands in contrast to traditional expert/protégé mentoring models. To explore the benefits of the CM approach, Lopez (2013) conducted a qualitative research study in a large suburban secondary school in Southern Ontario. She employed a case study approach with the author/researcher mentoring two teacher participants. Her research was guided by two questions:
- What are the conflicts and tensions teachers experience in diverse classrooms?
- How might CM as a form of mentoring, support and sustain teachers on a journey of diversity and equity education? (p. 295)
In response to the first question, some of the areas of tension that emerged from the research were related to issues of race, racism, whiteness, and the professional and emotional risks of embedding equity and diversity into teaching practice (p.297). Lopez (2013) suggests that, “equity work cannot be done outside of meaningful relationships” (p. 305) and collaborative mentorship provides a framework for this type of meaningful relationship.
The collaborative mentor should understand the importance of building a reciprocal non-judgemental mentor/mentee relationship; have a strong pedagogical base grounded in equity; be aware of and willing to share resources; and engage their mentee in deep reflection that leads mentees to an understanding of their own sense of agency. CM is a framework that aligns with OnEdMentors Connect and highlights the deep learning that can take place when challenging topics are approached within the safety of a reciprocal mentorship relationship.
Brown, B. (2018). Dare to lead: Brave work, tough conversations, whole hearts. New York: Random House.
In her book, Dare to Lead, Brené Brown defines a leader, “as anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential” (p. 4). To get to a place of courage we have to be lean into vulnerability. She provides the tools, practices, and behaviours that can support us through the process of laying down the armour we use to protect ourselves from feeling vulnerable.
The approaches laid out in Dare to Lead can support us in creating “safe containers” within which to develop our mentor/mentee relationships. “Safe containers” are metaphorical spaces in which we feel comfortable taking off our armour so that we can engage in conversations characterized by a willingness to be vulnerable, curious, and generous in service of professional growth. Mentors and mentees having explicit conversations about what each person needs in order to create a psychologically safe space can go a long way towards creating that space. Brown explains that psychological safety supports the ability to give and receive feedback. She also invites us to think about how behaviours like practicing gratitude and celebrating milestones can contribute to ongoing container building.
Brown encourages us to, “listen with the same passion with which we want to be heard” (p. 11) Proceeding from this stance can enrich our mentor/mentee relationships by encouraging us to ask questions that elicit greater understanding and ultimately, greater learning.
Donohoo provides a strong research base upon which she builds her argument for the importance of collective teacher efficacy in improving student achievement. Efficacy is about the beliefs that guide our actions and behaviour. Self-efficacy is a teacher’s belief in his or her ability to make a positive impact on student learning and collective efficacy comes about when a group of teachers believe that together they can move student learning forward. Donohoo outlines enabling conditions and leadership practices that support the development of these collective efficacy beliefs.Donohoo also presents characteristics of professional learning and efficacy enhancing collaborative learning structures – practical strategies for teacher collaboration . Although her work is set within the context of schools, there is alignment between her work and the goals of OnEdMentors Connect. OnEdMentors Connect is a community that supports 1:1 self-directed mentorship experiences as professional learning to strengthen teacher efficacy and impact student achievement. Building these 1:1 reciprocal relationships within the context of a larger learning community encourages the collaboration that leads to collective efficacy.
McLean, L,. Abry, T., Taylor, M., Jimenez, M., & Granger, K. (2017). Teachers’ mental health and perceptions of school climate across the transition from training to teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 65, 230-240.
This study examines the impact of the transition from teacher candidate to early career teacher on mental health as well as the potentially moderating effect of a positive school climate. McLean, Abry, Taylor, Jimenez, and Granger (2017) posit that the elements of positive school climate that have the most impact on teachers’ mental health are the, “perceived quality of relationships…as well as the sense of collaboration and innovation” (p. 232).
McLean et al. (2017) surveyed teachers in their preservice programs and then again at the beginning and end of their first year of teaching. They found that although symptoms of depression and anxiety increased over the course of the transition from teacher candidate to early career teacher, the respondents who were working in schools with what they perceived as challenging climates showed a more significant increase in these symptoms and respondents who perceived their school climates as positive did not report any significant increase in symptoms.
In addition to improving school climates, McLean et al. (2017) suggest that, “preservice teachers could benefit from…support before they start their careers” (p. 237) and that this support might look like, “guidance and mentoring from colleagues” (p. 231). Although OnEdMentors recognizes the importance of mentorship for educators at any career stage, it offers a wonderful opportunity for teacher candidates to develop a relationship with a mentor that could continue to provide support through the transition into the first year of teaching.
Sharpe, K. & Nishimura, J. (2017). When Mentoring Meets Coaching: Shifting the Stance in Education. Ontario: Pearson Canada.
The book When Mentoring Meets Coaching, is presented in two parts. In Part One, the authors, Sharpe and Nishimura present a mentor-coaching model that embraces the individual, the collective and is results driven. It offers ways for leaders to enhance their role as mentor by integrating coaching strategies that support the movement to the practical application of theory. Consequently, the resulting relationships build capacity of both involved and become more reflective, dynamic and transformative in nature. In Part Two, the authors offer various strategies to ensure growth, impact, and sustainability of efforts. Establishing presence, for instance, involves the need to maintain an open stance and mindfulness regarding self, other, and of the context. Another focus is on the notion of being present within the interactions that ensue which is described as a visceral experience. In essence, this requires remaining attuned to the Mentee through attentive listening and intentional dialogue on topics within the agenda that originates from and stays with the mentee. “As mentor-coaches, adopting an inquiry stance invites us to ask questions that truly support the mentee’s learning and growth.” The Mentor works to elicit the insights and answers from within the Mentee. A model for navigating conversations outlines the seven dimensions of awareness which provoke greater depth and breath of conversation and engagement by both the Mentor and Mentee.
van Ginkel G., Oolbekkink H., Meijer P. C., Verloop, N. (2016). Adapting mentoring to individual differences in novice teacher learning: the mentor’s viewpoint. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 22(2), 198-218.
van Ginkel, Oolbekkink, Meijer, and Verloop (2016) suggest that a mentor’s ability to adapt to their mentee’s individual learning needs is critical to a successful relationship. Their research focuses on what distinguishes adaptive from non-adaptive mentors and the approaches that adaptive mentors use to support their mentees.Based on prior research in the field, van Ginkel et al. (2016) explain that being adaptive means being able to keep best practices for student learning in mind while also focusing on best mentoring practices to support educator learning. Mentors with this bifocal view consider, “the mentorship relationship as collaborative, symmetrical, and reciprocal” (p. 202) and they encourage mentees to focus on developing personal theories of learning in addition to the practical skills needed to be successful in the classroom.
The mentor teachers involved in the study identified four adaptive activities: “(1) aligning mutual expectations of mentoring, (2) attuning to mentees’ emotional states, (3) adapting to mentees’ capacities for reflecting, and (4) building tasks to match mentees’ levels of development” (p. 212). These are strategies that can support our OEMConnect Mentors as they build relationships with their Mentees.
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