Dimensions and Levels of Mentoring: Empirical Findings of the First German Inventory and Implications for Future Practice
A lack of evidence-based quantitative research prevents further progress in mentoring research. In particular, standardized diagnostic instruments for exploration, evaluation and structured feedback for mentors and mentees are needed. The purpose of this study is to explore factors and levels which are crucial to the process of mentoring mentees.┬á The study has two objectives: The first is to expand the present empirical knowledge of basic dimensions and mentoring styles by developing the first German inventory. The second is to examine how the dimensions of the inventory are related to other qualities in the process of mentoring.
Conducted at three universities of education in Austria, the data were collected during the school practice of advanced student-teachers who were guided by mentor teachers. 405 future teachers serving as mentees evaluated 206 mentors. In order to gather information on mentoring dimensions, a specially developed German questionnaire with 53 items was offered to the mentees in order to assess how often certain qualities in mentoring were experienced previously.┬á Concerning the results, five factors could be found while conducting an exploratory factor analysis: Professional support, collegiality, levels of work, efficiency and confidence. Some of these factors have been validated by independent variables. The inventory developed is a step to facilitate two objectives:┬á The first is theoretical by inspiring further research concerning the complexity of mentoring processes.┬á The second one is a practical one concerning a tool for collaborative reflection between mentor and mentee.┬á The results implicate that mentoring has to be conceptualized as a professional practice with the resources of professional training and professional contexts.
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