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The Role of the Mentor Teacher: A Two-Phase Study of Teacher Mentoring Programs

Wilder, Gita Z.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RR-92-21, TPC-92-01
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Beginning Teacher Education, Mentors, Role Models, Teacher Education, Teacher Role, Teacher Student Relationship


Increasing attention to mentoring in the teaching profession in recent years has been accompanied by a proliferation of programs, literature and expertise related to experienced teachers helping new teachers. To assess the extent to which there is a common set of functions performed by teacher mentors, a two- phase study of mentoring was undertaken. In the first phase, a telephone survey of the 50 states and of more than 100 districts was conducted to gather data about the existence and nature of mentoring programs. The survey revealed that about 60 percent of the states have enacted legislation to create formal programs of mentoring, although many of the programs had not yet been implemented at the time of the survey. In addition, mentoring programs existed in districts without state programs. In the second phase of the study, visits were made to eight mentoring programs, selected to represent a range of sponsorship and program structures. Interviews were conducted with program, district and school administrators, and with mentors and their teacher-protgs. The results suggest that, although mentoring programs differ with respect to the ways in which the work of mentors is structured, there are functions that are common to the role of mentor across programs. The common functions and the implications of these for selecting and training mentors are discussed. (38pp)

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