In the teaching profession, there is a lot of commitment and interaction with different categories of students, parents, and the school administration that requires the teacher to have relevant skills to manage the relationships. The basic training and coursework are not enough to be able to handle challenges that educators face in the line of duty. Therefore, it is appropriate for the tutors to have mentorship programs from experienced personnel to advance their career development. Being a student-teacher is complicated and calls for total dedication and determination to offer the services. If teachers undergo adequate mentoring, they have the potential to adopt effective ways of dealing with learning activities hence can promote better performance in the schools. Having a professional conversation with mentors is essential in self-reflection and can enable educators to have proper insight into the occupation. This essay paper will analyze the research work on teacher mentoring and the reflective practitioner approach by Tonna et al. (2017) to identify the role coaching plays in the professional development of teachers. Furthermore, the analysis will explore the significance of reflective practice in the education system based on personal experience.
As a teacher, having someone with skills and experience in the same field is essential, and interacting with them promotes the development of competencies useful in the teaching profession. In most cases, after completing the initial teacher education, tutors come out when they are not well equipped with strong abilities to maneuver the profession (Mackie, 2018). Therefore, getting exposed to further guidance by experienced trainers facilitates effective growth and advancement both personal and career-wise. I remember before going for mentoring, I had difficulty in relating with people, which proved a big challenge when it comes to handling students in class. The continuous exposure and advice from mentors made me realize some important aspects that were hindering my ability to have an interactive atmosphere suitable for learners.
Mentoring enables an individual to learn a new skill and therefore become competent in performing their roles. With the knowledge from mentors, I understood and developed key competencies needed for effective teaching (Dinham et al., 2021). The proper discussion of the practices, modeling instruction, and giving feedback by the supervisors influenced and fostered the development of teachers’ intellectual. Embedding mentorship and reflective practice are crucial for the student-teacher advancement in a number of ways, including; gaining self-confidence, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
The aspect of reflective practice allows the teachers to engage in their learning and development during the education actively. To become an effective classroom teacher, an individual should participate in reflection and willingly learn from the activities (Howell, 2021). It is through reflecting that enables one to identify challenges and overcome work-related problems by using a wider perspective to tackle the issues. Furthermore, educators can easily challenge situations by applying different approaches (Feucht et al., 2017). Self-reflection allows trainers to realize and correct possible mistakes made, criticize their work and those of others, especially if they do not meet expectations. The approach can also enable tutors to replace or modify theories if there is an element of contradiction in the original state.
Advancement of Critical Thinking
The teaching profession is full of various challenges that require the student-teacher to critically analyze the situations to formulate a reliable solution. When it comes to classroom diaries, issues come from all directions student-student, parent-student, or even teacher-administration. To be able to handle the pressure and remain effective, proper reflection is required to enhance critical thinking while developing and formulating measures to counter the problems (Thompson & Thompson, 2018). With adequate guidance from expertise, I have been able to manage several scenarios and promote a practical learning atmosphere for the learners to better their performance. Constant self-reflection has made me able to understand the circle of concerns thus, developing relevant resolution has become easier because of continuous reflective practices. The approach has advanced my better ways of thinking and acknowledging the role teachers play in the education system.
Reflection allows teachers to develop different critical perspectives that can be used to challenge the overall assumption in the profession. The model makes the educator focus primarily on the broader view rather than the average goals. According to the authors, critical reflection enables teachers to reflect on the larger context and situations connected with the institutions where they offer services. The method has helped me to understand how the school works and have been so receptive to different ways of evaluating circumstances.
Developing a strong relationship with the mentors is essential in impacting effective critical reflection. During the program, the expertise provides relevant scenarios that require logical reasoning, after which they give feedback and further elaboration of the issue to offer a different point of view (Sowell, 2017). The approach allows student-teachers to weigh options, think and analyze them accordingly to avoid irrational decision-making. If the trainers offer methodological tactics, teachers can have self-direction and creativity. When guiders ask several questions, educators develop the ability to construct and deconstruct informative practices that can be used to evaluate various practices existing in the schools.
Eliminating Fear of Evaluation
In the education system, several stakeholders are involved, and most of the time, the administration evaluates the performance of every teacher in the institution. Educators experience the anxiety associated with judgment from other parties based on the nature of their work or by appearing less competent at work. Effective reflective practice with the help of mentors makes the tutors overcome fear and have a better way of managing the criticizing from the involved individuals (Schön, 2017). If the student-teachers experience such unease, the likelihood of them withdrawing from mentoring program increasing which in turn affects the capacity to work under criticism. I had a positive mentor who did not judge my performance; instead, he helped me evaluate areas that required improvement and develop strategies to facilitate the learning process in the classroom. Furthermore, if there is trust between the guider and the educator, an open atmosphere is created, and the teacher can easily share information to enhance reflection without limits.
Teaching requires educators to believe in themselves so that they can provide the right content to the learners. Effective performance needs a high level of confidence so that the tutor does not become timid about handling challenges from the students. Reflective practices allow the teacher to have deep insight into the activities and review ways of passing knowledge to the children. Mentoring programs through reflection make the tutors determine their learning needs and request assistance. After engaging in the practice, I could easily evaluate myself and take note of adjustments needed to perfect my professional development (Bressman et al., 2018). When it comes to complex issues that require decisions, I have always been confident and rely on my ability to make the right choices and operate independently.
Similarly, mentoring impacts teachers with skills and knowledge, which makes them have a different perception of themselves. Participating in the programs enables tutors to acquire current and relevant competencies necessary for promoting professionalism. The reflective practices enhance the growth of confidence, especially when educators communicate their experience with one another and inquire more information from other participants enhanced the essence of being open to new ideas. The approach fostered my listening abilities, supportive and observation skills that positively impacted my self-assurance.
Moreover, lengthy discussions with expertise and support from other teachers with experience in the profession have proven effective in facilitating my confidence. The tutors used to give accounts of the incident and challenges they have encountered along their career path and how they managed to overcome the barriers (Gjedia & Gardinier, 2018). When reflecting on their opinions, I have been able to develop different strategies that have helped the learners to be more focused on their studies.
Generally, reflective practices are essential in advancing the professional development of student-teachers. When an experienced tutor guides an educator, they are capable of learning new skills and valuable knowledge in facilitating their career development. If teachers have confidence in themselves, their performance and teaching strategies increase therefore, students can easily understand their content delivery. Similarly, being able to apply critical thinking in complex situations makes it possible for trainers to handle issues in the classroom and within the school. Self-reflection allows an individual to reflect on areas of weakness that can lower service delivery hence formulating practical approaches to improve. Finally, mentoring program through reflective practices is significant in advancing student-teacher career growth.
Bressman, S., Winter, J. S., & Efron, S. E. (2018). Next generation mentoring: Supporting teachers beyond induction. Teaching and Teacher Education, 73, 162-170.
Dinham, J., Choy, S. C., Williams, P., & Yim, J. S. C. (2021). Effective teaching and the role of reflective practices in the Malaysian and Australian education systems: A scoping review. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 49(4), 435-449.
Feucht, F. C., Lunn Brownlee, J., & Schraw, G. (2017). Moving beyond reflection: Reflexivity and epistemic cognition in teaching and teacher education.
Gjedia, R., & Gardinier, M. P. (2018). Mentoring and teachers’ professional development in Albania. European Journal of Education, 53(1), 102-117.
Howell, R. A. (2021). Engaging students in education for sustainable development: The benefits of active learning, reflective practices and flipped classroom pedagogies. Journal of Cleaner Production, 129318.
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Sowell, M. (2017). Effective practices for mentoring beginning middle school teachers: Mentor’s perspectives. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 90(4), 129-134.
Thompson, S., & Thompson, N. (2018). The critically reflective practitioner. Macmillan International Higher Education.
Tonna, M. A., Bjerkholt, E., & Holland, E. (2017). Teacher mentoring and the reflective practitioner approach. International journal of mentoring and coaching in education.