Telementoring in Teacher Education

Telementoring in Teacher Education

Sandy White Watson (University of Louisiana at Monroe, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-861-6.ch009
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This research study involved the telementoring of pre-service teachers by practicing teachers in the fall semester of 2005 and arose out of a need expressed by education students for more contact with practicing teachers that would not require large time and financial commitments. Twelve pre-service education students at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) and 17 practicing K-12 teachers from four states participated. Pre- and post- reflections completed by student participants, email dialogues between pre- and in-service teacher participants, and pre-service student participant email reflections following each dialogue exchange were analyzed to gather project effectiveness data. Results revealed highly positive experiences that provided student participants a unique and practical glimpse of the daily lives of teachers and what teaching is “really like.”
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Education students at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) have many times voiced the need for more current and practical information about teachers and teaching, citing that many of their education professors have not taught in a K-12 setting in several years, if at all, and often have outdated perceptions of what today’s teachers face as a part of their daily teaching routines. Often it is not until students near the end of their programs of study that they have the immersive student teaching experience in which they are exposed to and participate in the routines and procedures of schooling unless they have the opportunity to participate in a Professional Development School prior to student teaching. The education students who are nearing the student teaching phase of their programs and who have had only sporadic field and observational experiences in the K-12 setting often demonstrate anxiety about student teaching and question their teaching preparedness. In an effort to give such students much needed contact with practicing teachers in their subject/grade level areas, who could possibly provide more current information about today’s teaching culture, student populations, and teaching responsibilities, but not cause a time or financial hardship, a telementoring project was developed with practicing teachers serving as mentors to pre-service teachers (mentees) via an email format.

In this chapter, as background information, the author will explore mentoring in general (beginning with its classical origins), face-to-face mentoring and the beginning teacher, disadvantages of traditional face-to-face mentoring, mentoring and the pre-service teacher, telementoring, examples of initiatives involving telementoring, telementoring and the pre-service teacher, and telementoring studies involving pre-service teachers. Next, the author will introduce her research study involving the telementoring of pre-service teachers at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga by practicing mentor teachers in four states. The need for the study will be addressed as well as the specifics of the study: the participants, procedure, data analysis (including an examination and discussion of emergent themes), and conclusion, including research questions and implications.

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