• "First meetings": constructive first encounters between pre-service teachers and their mentors

      Connolly, Steve M.; Bates, Gareth; Shea, James (Emerald, 2020-07-30)
      Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to report the findings from an action research project in which the researchers sought to develop a set of questions for use by mentors (experienced teachers) and mentees (pre-service teachers) on a course of initial teacher education (ITE) when they first met – the “initial encounter”. Design Methodology/Approach: The researchers used an action research approach to address the lower retention rate of pre-service teachers from different backgrounds, such as Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), and the issues around mentoring which may exacerbate this problem. Discussions between the course team and participating mentors and mentees suggested that the initial encounter between mentor and mentee was significant, and an action research methodology would allow for developing questions that might structure such encounters. Findings: The researchers found that a useful and effective set of questions could be developed and used by mentors and mentees. Additionally, this process gave researchers insights into the nature of the first encounters between mentors and mentees on an ITE course and how both groups see their roles. In several cycles of action research, the participants produced a number of iterations of such questions, which were refined across a two-year period. Research Limitations/Implications: While it is too early to tell if the issues leading to the lower retention rate of pre-service teachers that prompted the project have been reduced in any significant way, the researchers suggest that thinking about these initial encounters can impact the way a mentor and mentee goes on to build a relationship. Originality/Value: The authors found very little research in the field of teacher education which looks at initial encounters between mentors and mentees and thus make an original contribution to the mentoring literature.
    • The role of intellectual virtues in the development of the science teacher: an initial provocation

      Bates, Gareth; Connolly, Steve M.; University of Bedfordshire (Cass School of Education and Communities, 2019-05-31)
      Initial, informal observations of work with pre-service Chemistry and other science teachers suggests that a number of intellectual virtues are required, alongside a shift in identity, in order to help secondary school science students negotiate the pathway from “science learner” to “scientist”. This article explores both these virtues, the ontological shift that accompanies them and pedagogical suggestions for how these attributes might be promoted in a programme of pre-service training, along with suggestions for further empirical research which might form the basis of further investigation into these initial observations