Research-Engaged Practice Network



Teacher mentors’ theories in use: a model of professional practice and learning

Seminar on 23rd January 2019

Presented by Alison Grasmeder, Deputy Director of ITE, School of Education, The University of Sheffield, and Richard Pountney, Principal Lecturer for Curriculum Development, Sheffield Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University.

Wednesday 23rd January 2019, 12:00-1300
Room 12.3.18, Charles Street Building, Sheffield Hallam University

There is no need to book for this event.

Since 2017, the Sheffield Institute of Education, in response to the UK National Standards for School-based Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Mentors (DfE, 2016), has led developments in professional learning for mentoring practice through teacher education partnerships (see This developing expertise is realised in the creation of several resources, and their variants, developed for regional school-centred initial teacher training, and nationally for teacher mentors of the Chartered Teacher programme.

Drawing on analysis of data gathered from these programmes (Pountney and Grasmeder, 2018), including mentors’ self-assessment and social media contributions, and analysis of the response to accounts of critical incidents (Trip, 1993; Harrison, Lawson & Wortley, 2005; McAteer et al., 2010), a model of professional practice and learning is conceptualised. A taxonomy of reflection derived from previous research and the literature is applied to reveal mentors’ theories in use (Argyris and Schon, 1974).

The quality of this professional learning will be discussed in this seminar, in relation to theories of practice knowledge, teacher know-how, and understandings of professional learning. We establish a model of what teachers understand by their professional practice in mentoring and how they theorise this. Our findings indicate that approaches to relational mentoring, based broadly on relational pedagogy, can exceed the limits of instrumental ‘judgementoring’ (Hobson, 2016) to promote participative knowledge-building in mentoring practice as a form of social justice (Duckworth and Maxwell, 2015). We will illustrate this analysis with examples from mentoring practice and outline our ongoing research in this area.


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