Mentoring for effective teaching

There are many reforms for advancing education in Australia, including ways to produce work-ready graduates for entering the teaching profession. The partnership between universities and schools becomes a linchpin for creating environments conducive to desirable teacher development.

Despite formative work in developing teaching practices within university-school studies, beginning teachers may not have had experiences in the wide range of activities that occur within any school year. In addition, every school is unique. Every class is unique. Early-career teachers can have many achievements and also challenges that require expert guidance and advice.

In our next presentation, at the IEU’s Securing Our Future: Best Practice Induction and Mentoring Conference, 21-22 May 2015, we outline the importance of induction for early-career teachers and, most importantly, how mentoring for effective teaching can scaffold the mentee’s development towards becoming an effective practitioner. We focus on key components of an Australian award-winning program titled Mentoring for Effective Teaching (MET), approved by BOSTES at the Highly-Accomplished career level.

As mentoring is variable, the MET program aims to build the pool of mentors and increase the quality of mentoring by drawing on research and current literature for enhancing mentoring practices. The importance of the mentor-mentee relationship is emphasised, along with induction processes for mentees, which can be embraced by a community of mentors.

We unpack the five-factor model of mentoring (personal attributes, system requirements, pedagogical knowledge, modelling, and feedback) and outline other key areas within the MET program, such as conflict resolution, leadership and action research.

We then focus on one of the five factors (feedback) and ask you to observe an early-career teacher in practice for the purpose of providing feedback in your mentoring role. This simulated activity aims to facilitate understandings around mentoring, not only what feedback can be provided but also how the feedback can be delivered.

A framework for engaging in questioning with the mentee will be outlined and research on the content of mentors’ observations will be presented as a stimulus for considering the implications of effective mentoring.

We provide you with a validated mentor’s reflective tool and give further information about the MET program for schools and districts to access. To optimise benefits for the students, staff and wider school community, mentoring must be embedded within the school culture and infrastructure. Where mentors are upskilled on current mentoring practices, mentoring can become a catalyst for implementing education reform, particularly in the core business of teaching effectively.

Associate Professor Peter Hudson and Dr Suzanne Hudson will be keynote presenters at the IEU’s Securing Our Future: Best Practice Induction and Mentoring Conference, 21-22 May 2015. For more details see