Providing feedback, orientation and opportunities for reflection as key elements for successful mentoring programs: Reviewing a program for future business education teachers
The first steps into teaching are critical for novice teachers. Near to the end of their masterΓÇÖs program, students of Business Education and Development spend a particular semester at an assigned school and are introduced to teaching, while being assisted by peer students, mentoring teachers and an companion course. Mentors receive a special training and preparation in advance, thus contributing to a high quality mentoring program. The program is organized threefold: (1) providing feedback, (2) opportunities for reflection and (3) career orientation.
The purpose of this paper is to assess key elements of successful mentoring programs and to question which competences of mentors contribute most to the success of these programs. Between 2012 and 2015 188 persons (student teachers and their mentors) were questioned via online survey at the end of their mentoring program. Additionally, data from a study (1,245 questionnaires) regarding the student teachersΓÇÖ perception of their own competences was utilized, allowing for a comparison of the situation before and after the mentoring program.
The present results provide insight into the key elements of successful mentoring programs; both from a student teacherΓÇÖs and mentorΓÇÖs perspective. During the semester, students show an increase regarding their self-perception of their professional competences. Students and mentoring teachers value direct feedback after each lesson more than feedback in regular meetings. Opportunities for reflection (e.g. exchange with peer students, learning diaries) are considered helpful. The structure of the mentoring program enables students to perform orientation on the choice whether to become a teacher or not.
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