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What is mentoring in the context of Early Career Teacher development?

'Mentoring' is used to mean many things in different places. In this article, Caroline Daly gives a brief overview of the field.
A collage of four images. A man with a metal detector, digging in the ground; a window opening onto a lush green space with a building in the background; a lit lightbulb against a dark background; and a path in a brightly lit forest on a sunny day
© UCL Institute of Education

You will find many contrasting attempts to define the mentoring of new teachers. We believe that this definition of mentoring by Andy Hobson (2016) sums up the aims of mentoring and the range and complexity of what is involved:

“a one-to-one relationship between a relatively inexperienced teacher (the mentee) and a relatively experienced teacher (the mentor), which aims to support the mentee’s learning, development and well-being, and their integration into the cultures of both the organisation in which they are employed and the wider profession.”

What is your vision of mentoring?
The picture at the top of this slide is a collage of four images. Which of the four images strikes you as most representing your ideas about mentoring an ECT?

  • Look at each image.
  • Choose the one that best represents your thoughts.
  • Think about, or note down, the words and ideas that you associate with the image.
  • If possible, share the images with another mentor and compare your choices and the reasons behind them.
  • Write a brief statement about your current ideas about mentoring and how it can help ECTs to develop.
  • Consider – how do you see your own professional learning being enhanced by mentoring in line with the image you have chosen?
  • Consider – would the same image represent your own experience of being mentored as a new teacher?
  • Consider – what pictures do you think ECTs would choose to represent how they see the mentoring relationship?
© UCL Institute of Education
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