Teaching the teachers
It is widely acknowledged that mentoring and coaching provided to novice school teachers in the early stages of their careers is critical to promoting teacher excellence, retention and student success. LJMU research not only supports this reality, but has demonstrated the wider impact of coaching and mentoring on other education practitioners’ continuing professional development and practice, and how it can lead to school-level quality improvement initiatives.
Mentoring and coaching have increasingly been employed in the initial training of teachers in England and other European countries over the past twenty years to enhance teaching practice and learning. Recognising the critical role of the mentor in the support given to novice teachers, researchers from LJMU’s School of Education have sought to explore the specific needs of those individuals supporting teachers who are new to the profession.
Collaborative European and Teacher Development Agency funded projects enabled researchers to identify support strategies, skills and resources which mentors considered essential in providing effective support to novice teachers. Additionally, the research demonstrated that mentoring can facilitate high quality, specific and contextual workplace learning that is inter-generational; it can promote leadership of learning by the practitioners themselves, and can lead to school-wide innovations and dissemination of practice resulting in positive effects on pupil behaviour and achievement.
These research findings have informed the development and delivery of a range of programmes, case studies, courses and workshops, including an intensive course for teachers from 12 European member states. This event produced evidence of the reciprocal benefits of mentoring and contributed to teachers’ and teacher educators’ learning by enhancing sensitivity to novice teachers’ needs, facilitating a critical understanding of the complexity of the mentoring role and developing skills and strategies employed in the effective support of novice teachers.
"There has been an impact on our pupils from the staff who have engaged in this course; some pupils have become more cooperative and open with feelings and emotions."
Other mentor training and development programmes and education modules delivered by LJMU staff have influenced the professional practice of over 100 classroom practitioners, senior managers and teaching assistants in primary and secondary schools in the North West region of England. These sessions extend the range of mentoring and coaching techniques used by practitioners resulting in improved student response/communication in class and improved relationships between teaching staff and students. Significantly, participants from these programmes have gone on to implement support structures in their own schools.
Find out more about the research within the School of Education.
For more information about research at LJMU:
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