Exploring pre-service teachers’ experiences of mentoring during teaching practice.
Sokhulu, Lerato Hlengiwe.
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Mentorship is a global phenomenon where a skilled individual trains a less skilled individual. This study is based on mentoring in education which takes place during teaching practice. Teaching practice is a period when pre-service teachers undergo a practical component during their training to become professional teachers. The mentor who is a school teacher, then mentors and trains the pre-service to acquire skills needed for teaching. The study employed a qualitative approach which was detailed and in-depth. Furthermore, the study made use of case study methodology where mentoring experiences of pre-services teachers were explored thoroughly. Five participants (pre-service teachers) were interviewed to generate data on their mentoring experiences. Semi-structured interviews were used as data generation instruments through which participants could answer open ended questions freely, with regards to their mentoring experiences. In addition, the study employed thematic analysis where one theme was central with seven other sub-themes emerging from the findings. The findings of the study indicated that, although pre-service teachers experienced mentoring in different schools, there were common patterns in their experiences and knowledge of mentorship as a process. For instance, four out of five mentees indicated having had a good relationship with mentor since they communicated well with each other and there was willingness to help and learn between both mentor and mentee. Other mentees indicated having had issues with their assigned mentors leading them to seeking assistance from other teachers in their practice school. The study furthermore provided recommendations for mentoring pre-service teachers such as familiarising mentors and mentees with duties of mentoring through mentoring workshops on how to mentor pre-service teachers. In addition, the study recommended that pre-service teachers in different institutions undergo similar programmes before teaching practice commences.