Mentoring beginning teachers: professional learning for mentees and mentors

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This paper introduces this special issue focusing on the mentoring of beginning teachers which supports the professional learning of not only mentees but also mentors. The paper identifies the varied aims of beginning teacher mentoring programmes, some of the reasons for mentoring and an introduction to the six research papers published in the issue.

The papers in this issue examine different perspectives relating to the mentoring of student teachers and newly qualified teachers (NQTs). Different types of mentoring relationships are examined in various international contexts. The research, from Australia, the Republic of Ireland, Malta, Norway, Scotland, the USA and Wales, addresses challenges that can occur in mentoring relationships, and enables us to better understand the professional learning that takes place in successful mentoring relationships.

The authors of the papers delineate how critical reflective practice, inquiry into professional practice, collaboration and professional learning for both mentees and mentors are key aims for many mentoring programmes. The six studies used different methods to investigate external and/or school-based mentoring programmes for student teachers and NQTs.

Research limitations/implications
A snapshot of current research into professional learning is provided with most studies being small qualitative ones. However, common themes can be identified across countries and contexts. The authors of each paper outline the implications for teacher education for their own contexts, as well as for international contexts.

Teacher education programmes employ mentoring pairs and triads in order to develop particular traits and reflective practices in teachers. Research shows how mentor programmes provide classroom experience and professional learning for student and newly qualified teachers as well as professional learning for teacher mentors. University tutors play a key role in supporting not only the mentees and mentors but also the mentoring relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • professional learning
  • mentoring in education
  • mentoring
  • teacher mentors


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