Strategies for Video-Observation Mentoring of Preservice Teachers
Kalum, Abel K.
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The purpose of this study was to explore mentoring strategies used in video-observation mentoring program at a four-year university teacher training program. This study was conducted with preservice teachers in the second most diverse urban campus in the United States. Carspecken’s critical qualitative research method was adopted for this study as the complex process of mentoring preservice teachers cannot be explained by quantitative methods alone, it needs to be thoroughly examined through understanding the behavior and interactions of the participants involved. The data were collected from three sources: observations of two mentoring sessions; survey of 93 preservice teachers; and individual interviews with nine mentors and two preservice teachers. The data analysis of the strategies revealed similarities. Some prerequisites to a successful mentoring session include: (a) provide a flexible time frame for mentoring sessions, (b) ensure high quality and well-shot videos, (c) allow adequate time for self-reflection and self-assessment, (d) peer evaluation. There were also similarities in the strategies used during mentoring sessions: (a) active engagement, and (b) mentors should be supportive rather than supervisory. Whereas most mentors were worried about the technical aspects of video recording (ex. camera battery running out, bad audio, etc.), most preservice teachers were worried about disruption caused by video recording in the classroom. Most preservice teachers wanted to find ways of recording the lesson unobtrusively, whereas most mentors were concerned about the quality of the recorded videos. The data collected from the survey of preservice teachers did not yield any post-mentoring strategies. Longitudinal studies involving large populations should be carried out to fully determine how mentoring based on video-taped lessons affects performance of beginning teachers as they progress in their service. Also more field observations of the video-observation mentoring sessions would help in understanding how such sessions could be designed and conducted better.