Mentoring Preservice Teachers in Primary Mathematics
Mentoring is prominent in education systems throughout the world; however more empirical evidence supporting effective mentoring practices in specialised subjects is required. A literature-based instrument gathered 147 final-year preservice teachers’ perceptions of their mentors’ practices related to primary mathematics teaching. In addition, mentors (n=44) questionnaire responses articulated mentees’ and mentors’ needs for enhancing mentoring practices. Five factors characterised effective mentoring practices in primary mathematics teaching had acceptable Cronbach alphas, that is, Personal Attributes (mean scale score=3.97, SD [standard deviation]=0.81), System Requirements (mean scale score=2.98, SD=0.96), Pedagogical Knowledge (mean scale score=3.61, SD=0.89), Modelling (mean scale score=4.03, SD=0.73), and Feedback (mean scale score=3.80, SD=0.86) were .91, .74, .94, .89, and .86, respectively. Most mentors (n=44) perceived they had a good rapport with their mentees. They also indicated modelling, feedback, and providing pedagogical knowledge as successful mentoring strategies while others provided specific mentoring strategies in mathematics (e.g., moving from concrete concepts to visual concepts and finally to symbolic representations). In general, classroom management was purported to be the biggest challenge for most mentees. These mentors also claimed that they required further professional development from the university on current mathematics teaching practices. The survey instrument may be used to gather data on mentors and mentees’ needs for enhancing the mentoring process. Furthermore, the instrument may have applications for mentoring in secondary mathematics and be re-designed to investigate mentoring practices in other key learning areas.
Keywords: Mentoring, Mathematics, Primary Education, Preservice Teachers, Five-Factor Model
Prof. Peter Hudson
Senior Lecturer, Mathematics