Mentoring Preservice Teachers in Primary Mathematics

By Peter Hudson.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Mentoring programs in education are conducted throughout the world; however more empirical evidence supporting effective mentoring practices in specialised subjects is required. A literature-based instrument gathered data about 147 final-year preservice teachers’ perceptions of their mentors’ practices related to primary mathematics teaching. In addition, mentors (n=44) questionnaire responses articulated mentees’ and mentors’ needs for enhancing mentoring practices. Five factors characterised effective mentoring practices in primary mathematics teaching had acceptable Cronbach alphas, that is, Personal Attributes (mean scale score=3.97, SD [standard deviation]=0.81), System Requirements (mean scale score=2.98, SD=0.96), Pedagogical Knowledge (mean scale score=3.61, SD=0.89), Modelling (mean scale score=4.03, SD=0.73), and Feedback (mean scale score=3.80, SD=0.86) were .91, .74, .94, .89, and .86, respectively. Most mentors (n=44) perceived they had a good rapport with their mentees. They also indicated modelling, feedback, and providing pedagogical knowledge as successful mentoring strategies while others provided specific mentoring strategies in mathematics (e.g., moving from concrete concepts to visual concepts and finally to symbolic representations). In general, classroom management was purported to be the biggest challenge for most mentees. These mentors also claimed that they required further professional development from the university on current mathematics teaching practices. The survey instrument may be used to gather data on mentors and mentees’ needs for enhancing the mentoring process. Furthermore, the instrument may have applications for mentoring in secondary mathematics and be re-designed to investigate mentoring practices in other key learning areas.

Keywords: Mentoring, Mathematics, Primary Education, Preservice Teachers, Five-Factor Model

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp.119-132. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.237MB).

Prof. Peter Hudson

Senior Lecturer, Mathematics , Science and Technology, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

My current work involves lecturing in science education, working with schools on federally-funded grants in science education, and working with international institutes. As the principal representative for the Primary Practicum Committee over a five-year period, I had represented all NSW North Coast schools for developing internship and field experience programs at Southern Cross University. My PhD focused on mentoring in science education, however I also research in the fields of subject-specific mentoring, leadership, and TEFL education. I currently supervise five doctoral students.


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