Effective mentoring in Initial Teacher Education: What works and why

Glover, Alison; Jones, Megan; Thomas, Angela and Worrall, Leigh (2022). Effective mentoring in Initial Teacher Education: What works and why. The Open University, Cardiff, Wales.


Supporting student teachers is one of the bedrocks of the teaching profession and contributes to a high-quality teaching profession that is well equipped and enthused to shape young learners. This report presents the findings of a project that explored effective mentoring approaches across The Open University Initial Teacher Education Partnership PGCE programme.

The research involved student teachers, mentors, practice tutors, school co-ordinators and curriculum tutors. This included focus groups, interviews, audio and written reflections, and using artefacts to support participants’ interpretations of effective mentoring. Participants identified many effective approaches and techniques for mentoring. Some of these key aspects include the importance of a strong and trusting relationship between the student teacher and mentor; nurturing student teacher self-reflection and ensuring that student teachers observe experienced practitioners who demonstrate a range of teaching styles. The importance of mentors volunteering for their mentoring role and for them to be allocated sufficient time to undertake their mentoring responsibilities, which include frequent mentor meetings and professional learning were also prevalent.

The implications of this project’s findings are far reaching and improvement and development of support materials and training activities for partnership mentors are planned along with wider dissemination of effective practice as illustrated in the case studies, which showcase effective approaches in different school contexts.

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