Prospectus Presentation – Cassandra C. Matthews
30 Pryor Street Southwest
Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303
Examining Mentoring from the Perspective of New Teacher Residents
by Cassandra C. Matthews
Education reform efforts targeting improved student outcomes have resulted in discourse about how to influence instructional quality, one of the key variables in student achievement (Darling-Hammond, 2010). Research shows that new teachers are less likely than more experienced teachers to help students reach their full potential (Moir et al., 2009). Comprehensive induction programs (including mentoring) have emerged as a promising strategy to support new teacher development (Achinstein & Athanasas, 2006). The purpose of this qualitative case study is to examine the construct of mentoring from the perspective of new teachers. It aims to give voice to new teachers currently being mentored in order to understand and describe their mentoring experiences. New teachers enter with an expectation or at least an idea of what they believe should be the role of an effective mentor. If the supports offered do not align with teachers’ needs, the goals of improved teacher quality and student learning may not be realized. The study is situated within a New Teacher Residency Project, a grant-supported collaboration between an urban charter school and a local university. Resident Teachers’ participation in the project affords them the opportunity to complete their undergraduate studies, but unlike other graduates who then transition into their own classrooms for their first year of teaching, these teachers continue their “residency” by participating in a team-teaching partnership with an experienced cooperating teacher. Residents are further supported by a trained mentor and it is the Resident Teacher/Mentor relationship that will be the focus of this study. The theoretical framework is situated learning and communities of practice. The research question is, How do Resident Teachers describe their expectations and experiences of mentoring?