The Effects and Implication of Mentoring for Beginning Teachers in the Philippines

Research Problem: The Effects and Implications of Mentoring for Beginning In-service teachers in Western Mindanao State University – Philippines Statement of the problem Teachers face many challenges during the first years of teaching, such as planning and implementing curriculum and instruction, conducting assessments, motivating students, managing student differences and behaviour, and generally feeling overwhelmed (Roehrig et. al. 2006).

They are being asked to teach technological and analytical skills to students from a broad range of backgrounds, prepare them to read and write scholarly, to think critically, and to apply their knowledge to solving real-world problems. In other words, the skills teachers need to develop are both complex and demanding (Borko & Livingston, 1989). To reduce the challenges that new teachers face and to improve the quality of their teaching a popular approach was introduced purposely to provide support via mentoring which is prevalent in the US (Roehrig et. l. 2006). In fact, beginning teachers are being required to participate in mentoring programmes, often as part of the process for permanent certification in some states in America. Unlike in some developing countries, like the Philippines wherein its department of education has been under-performing for years, and has no clear cut policy on mentoring program, professional advancement and in-service training to improve the teachers’ competence once hired (Luz, 2008).

Hobson (2008) defines mentoring as the one-to-one support of a novice or less experienced practitioner (mentee) by a more experienced practitioner (mentor), designed primarily to assist the development of the mentee’s expertise and to facilitate their induction into the culture of the profession. Mentoring can have a variety of purpose or goals, can involve a variety of practices and strategies to achieve these purpose and goals, and can take place at different stages of a mentee’s professional development and over different durations.

Based on this assumptions and preconception of mentoring, the primary purpose of this research is to determine the possible effects and implications of mentoring to novice teachers in my institution.

Research Questions: This research project aims to develop insights into the mentoring process and seeks to explore how mentoring can assist beginning in-service teachers in my home institution in developing their confidence, teaching competencies, skills in motivating students as well as classroom management. Moreover, it seeks to examine my own lived experiences as a mentee.

Furthermore, it aims to answer the following research questions below. ?As a mentee, what were my experiences that made me recognized the worth of mentoring scheme provided by senior teachers. ?How did these experiences assist me in becoming a more reflective and dynamic teacher? ?How can these experiences assist me in mentoring new teachers? Methodology: This research is an auto-ethnography that focuses on my own lived experiences as a teacher and as a mentee and the connection of my life story with the experiences of other teachers from my home institution.

According to Ellis and Bochner (2000), an auto-ethnography is a form of study that makes the researcher’s own experience a topic of investigation in its own right. It utilizes data about self and its context to gain an understanding of the connectivity between self and others within the same context (Ngunjiri, et. al. 2010). The intended purpose of this study is to provide a detailed, in-depth description of my mentoring experiences, its effect and implication on my practice as a teacher. This methodology is suitable for this research because, according to Chang (2007), auto-ethnography is a qualitative research.

As a research methodology, it takes a systematic approach in data collection, analysis, and interpretation about self and social phenomena involving self. This systematic and intentional approach to the socio-cultural understanding of self sets auto-ethnography apart from other self-narrative writings such as memoir and autobiography. Moreover, Ngunjiri (2010) explicitly emphasized that auto-ethnography is distinctive from other research because it is self-focused and context-conscious. The esearcher is at the centre of the investigation as a “subject” (the researcher who performs the investigation) and an “object” (a participant who is investigated). Auto-ethnographic data provide the researcher a window through which the external world is understood. Although the blurred distinction between the researcher-participant relationship has become the source of criticism challenging the scientific credibility of the methodology (Anderson, 2006), access to sensitive issues and inner-most thoughts makes this research method a powerful and unique tool for individual and social understanding (Ellis, 2009).

Lastly, auto-ethnography is context-conscious, which means it intends to connect self with others, self with the social, and self with the context (Wolcott, 2004). The focus on self does not necessarily mean “self in a vacuum. ” A variety of others, “others of similarity” (those with similar values and experiences to self), “others of difference” (those with different values and experiences from self), and “others of opposition” (those with values and experiences seemingly irreconcilable to self), are often present in stories about self (Chang, 2007).

This multiplicity of others exist in the context where a self inhabits; therefore, collecting data about self ultimately converges with the exploration of how the context surrounding self has influenced and shaped the make-up of self and how the self has responded to, reacted to, or resisted forces innate to the context. Research methods To answer my first two research questions, I will use personal reflection and narrative inquiry as my research methods. Personal Reflection

Personal Reflection as define by John (2004), is being mindful of self, either within or after experience’, as though looking through a window which will enable the practitioner ‘to view and focus self within the context of a particular experience, in order to confront, understand and move toward resolving contradiction between one’s vision and actual practice’. It is a process of examining and evaluating the impact of personal values, culture and beliefs in relation to certain issue.

My own retrospection allows me to recount the support, assistance and emotional as well as intellectual guidance that were provided to me from my senior colleagues and how these support made me traverse the obstacles that were on my path during the first few years of my teaching. In addition, my personal reflection will enable me to envision the possible mentoring that I will provide when my opportunity to become a mentor comes. Advantages/Strength As it is about you it requires you to be honest and open about your life and feelings about a specific thing ?It is often used by the person researching and writing to explain how they have felt during the process and their reaction to the topic ?Allows people to learn from experience Limitations ?Should be used in conjunction with others ?Very difficult or Impossible to quantify ?Some topics could cause friction within the family Narrative Inquiry Narrative inquiry is my main methods to represent my voice and engage readers in my text.

This method focuses on studying a single person, gathering data through the collections of stories, reporting individual experiences, and discussing the meaning of those experiences for the individual (Creswell, 2008). The use of stories, discourse and my personal history will be my way of describing my mentoring experiences as a teacher and as a mentee and critically reflect on its effect and implications in my teaching practices. Although my personal narratives will be the major component of my data, other individuals’ life experiences and stories will be also considered (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990).

Strengths ?No need of comprehensive procedure to follow for it is just my own experiences. This means no standard formality involved. It is a matter of my availability of time and retrospective mood. ?Ability to present data accurately as I have a good long term memory. Limitations ?Risk of missing information due to memory fatigue. ?Some experiences may not be presented as it may have harm to third party. Although the stories are my experiences, by telling them may have an impact on the life of a third party. Thus to be ethical I may not be able to tell every story (Cohen et al, 2000). Limited ability to present emotional stories. I am not a confident writer, therefore my limited writing skills will be a limitation. Quality standards Any educational paper regardless of which paradigm the researcher position himself should have some quality standards associated with it. In the context of auto-ethnographic research, the standard use in judging the quality of any research needs to be considered carefully. Member checking Is basically what the term implies – an opportunity for members (participants) to check (approve) particular aspects of the interpretation of the data they provided (Doyle, 2007).

It is a “way of finding out whether the data analysis is congruent with the participants’ experiences” (Curtin & Fossey, 2007). The usual practice is that participants are given transcripts or particles from the narratives or written stories they contributed and are asked to verify their accuracy. Participants may be asked to edit, clarify, elaborate, and at times, delete their own words from the narratives; although Creswell (2008) stressed that member checking is best done with “polished” interpreted pieces such as themes and patterns emerging from the data rather than the actual transcripts.

Member checking can be an individual process or can take place with more than one person at a time, such as in focus group settings, as a discussion with the researcher (Doyle, 2007). Member checking is often a single event that takes place only with the verification of transcripts or early interpretations. Sometimes though, it is done at a few key points throughout the research process with some scholars recommending it be done continuously (Doyle, 2007). As the researcher I will regularly provide my other participants with their nterpretations of the narratives for the purpose of verifying plausibility (Curtin & Fossey, 2007) and asking: Am I on the right track? Did I understand this in the same way you meant it? Authenticity Refers to the reliability and verifiability with which the account of the event corresponds to the “real” details of the event (date, time, place, people, and words spoken). Truth claims can be made only if certain procedure has been followed to guarantee to the greatest extent possible that the researcher’s account matches or corresponds to the event.

A study is authentic when the strategies used are appropriate for the true reporting of the participants’ ideas, when the study is fair, and when it helps participants and similar groups to understand their world and improve it. It means that there is new insight into the phenomenon under study (Holloway & Wheeler, 2002). I can only achieve this in my research through member checking. The data should be continually revisited and scrutinized for accuracy of interpretation and for meaningful, coherent conveyance of the participant’s narrative contributions (Creswell, 2008).

Moreover, fairness is one of the standards under authenticity to make sure different constructions are presented, clarified, checked, and taken into account in a balance manner (Cohen et al, 2000). To ensure fairness, I will certainly involve all stakeholders in constructions and interpretations of data. I will make sure that the data collected are accurate in terms of a vis-a-vis agreement with participants. Transparency Is the benchmark for the presentation and dissemination of findings, the need to be explicit, clear and open about the assumptions made and the methods and procedures used.

Seale, et. al (2004) recognizes the researcher’s need to be transparent and reflexive about conduct, theoretical perspective and values. The credibility of any qualitative study lies in the transparency of its specific paradigm assumptions. In planning, designing, and carrying out qualitative research there must be a conscious examination of research strategies, selection of participants, and decisions made in collecting and interpreting the data (Duarte, 2007). Methods of inquiry, which includes he procedures of data collection and data analysis and interpretation must be clear enough for others to replicate, and therefore must be transparent. This is possibly the important difference between qualitative and quantitative inquiry, the emphasis is on the procedures being replicable, and not the findings (Sparkes, 2001). Qualitative inquiry requires a thorough critical self-exploration of the researcher’s assumptions, presuppositions, decisions, and self-interests. It is important to stress that reflexivity must be applied to the entire research process, and is not merely a consideration of potential sources of bias.

The researcher has a crucial participatory role in any inquiry. Transparency and reflexivity therefore go hand in hand, since without transparency, reflexivity is impotent, and in return, reflexivity effectively promotes transparency (Bruce , 2007).

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