Mediating between Theory and Practice: Pre-service EFL teachers’ perceptions of their Mentors


Efeoğlu G., Yüksel H. G.

VI. Uluslararasi Öğretmen Eğitimi ve Akreditasyon Kongresi, Çanakkale, Turkey, 16 June 2022, pp.87-88

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Çanakkale
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.87-88
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

Practicum in English Language Teaching programs is critical in preparing pre-service teachers for the teaching profession since it poses the first tension between theory and practice. Mentors at schools are prominent figures in pre-service teachers’ career development as they provide feedback and guidance to calm down this tension. In line with the theoretical shift in learning theories from behaviorist to constructivist, mentoring practices in second language teaching contexts have also been transformed into a “co-construction of professional identities” (Asencion Delaney, 2012). Hence, to unravel this entangled process, the mentor-mentee relationship calls for further scrutinization. The current study intends to identify pre-service English teachers’ expectations of their mentors and to understand how they position their mentors in their construction of professional identities. Seventy pre-service English teachers who are senior university students at a state university in Istanbul participated in the study on a voluntary basis. They were all attending state schools for six hours a week for the practicum course. Data were collected through an online questionnaire and focus group interview in spring semester of 2021 – 2022 academic year. The online questionnaire consisted of five subsections based on Hudson’s (2005, 2013) Five-Factor Model of Mentoring: Personal Attributes, System Requirements, Pedagogical Knowledge, Modelling, and Feedback. A focus group interview was administered to eight pre-service teachers to triangulate the data. Qualitative data analyses were carried out based on the concurrent emergent themes. According to preliminary findings, pre-service teachers were highly conscious of the underlying mechanisms for every step taken in the classroom setting in line with the Modeling factor. In particular, they stated they had the chance to observe clearly how their mentors establish a positive rapport with their students, how they manage the classroom, how they conduct a well-designed session. Preliminary findings have revealed that pre-service teachers reported more details related to Modelling factor since they were highly conscious of the underlying mechanisms for each and every step that their mentor took in the classroom. This finding provided further support to what Orsdemir and Yıldırım (2020) found in their study, highlighting the significance of modelling in their professional identity formation. Furthermore, results indicated that pre-service teachers believe that the pedagogical knowledge of their mentors falls short of producing more engaging lessons. This belief might be related to the pandemic and resultant online/distance education, as pre-service teachers had the opportunity to utilize a range of tools during this period, which supposedly increased their expectations in face-to-face teaching contexts.

References

Asención Delaney, Y. (2012). Research on mentoring language teachers: Its role in language education. Foreign Language Annals45(1), 184-202.

Hudson, P. (2005). From generic to specific mentoring: A five-factor model for developing primary teaching practices. In International Education Research Conference: Doing the Public Good: Positioning Education Research (pp. 1-10). Australian Association for Research in Education.

Hudson, P., (2013) Mentoring as professional development: ‘growth for both’ mentor and mentee, Professional Development in Education, 39:5, 771-783, DOI: 10.1080/19415257.2012.749415

Örsdemir, E., & Yıldırım, R. (2020). " I Would Like Her to…:" ELT Student-Teachers' Reflections on Mentoring Practices. PASAA: Journal of Language Teaching and Learning in Thailand59, 48-76.

 

Anahtar Kelimeler: English Language Teaching; mentor; pre-service teachers; practicum