Date of Award

12-2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Van Cooley

Abstract

Since the early 1980s, policy makers and educational leaders have pinned high hopes on mentoring as a vehicle for reforming teaching and teacher education (Feiman- Nemser, 1996). A review of literature written throughout the evolution of mentoring illustrated that researchers focused most of their attention on a relatively narrow aspect of mentoring relationships and relatively little attention has been paid to mentor benefits (Ragins & Kram, 2007). This study examined the patterns, similarities, and differences of the mentor teacher’s perspectives of potential mentor benefits of mentoring university pre-service teachers.

A phenomenological study was conducted to explore whether mentors attained leadership benefits and/or reflective behaviors from mentoring. A qualitative approach allowed for a deep, richness of data and captured the complexities of the mentors’ experiences and an understanding of those personal perspectives related to mentoring. In-depth interviews were the primary method of collecting information, which consisted of semi-structured questions that guided unconstrained descriptions of the mentors’ views on the impact mentoring had on mentors.

Participants of this study were selected because they were experienced mentors who were highly rated by previous student pre-service interns through a Midwest university’s pre-service intern program.

Results suggest that mentoring impacts mentors with respect to teacher leadership characteristics and reflective processes. Based on Kouzes and Posner’s (2007) Leadership Practices, and York-Barr, Sommers, Ghere, and Montie’s (2001) Profile of a Reflective Educator, mentors believed mentoring caused them to (1) challenge the process, (2) inspire a shared vision, (3) enable others to act, (4) model the way, (5) encourage others, (6) be responsible for their own learning and continuous improvement, (7) be more aware, (8) utilize effective inquiry and take action with new understandings more often.

Overall, mentoring programs are critical in both preparing tomorrow’s teachers and in enhancing the skills of teachers. Given the significant demands placed on schools, it is important for leaders to examine the benefits of mentoring programs. The findings from this study add to the literature base by providing a deeper understanding of how mentoring impact mentors.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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