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Student teachers as legitimate participants in mentoring : An extended community of practice

Wennergren, Ann-Christine, Thornberg, Fredrik

Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)


Topic, aim and framework: The practicum period for student teachers forms an important part of teacher education, as does the level of observations and feedback from practicum mentors. The relationship between the documentation of teaching and the performed practicum mentoring forms the premise for our study, together with successful experiences using video as a tool for observation (Mathisen & Bjørndal, 2016). In the present pilot study, mentors and student teachers in four partner schools have used a multimodal tool (MOSO) for documentation and mentoring. In accordance with the digital tools used, we define mentoring sessions as a sequence of: pre-mentoring with feedback on plans, teaching and multimodal observation, and post-mentoring. The aim of our study was to explorestudents’ participation in a collaborative community of practice (CoP). The social theory of Wenger was used as a framework for the study. According to Wenger, learning occurs as a function of legitimate participation during negotiations of content.

Methodology/research design: The qualitative design was based on a survey and focus group interviews with fourteen student teachers and their practicum mentors (seven). Two persons (one student teacher and one mentor) observed and documented the teaching of another student teacher. During the analysis, four themes constituting the legitimate participation in negotiations were identified in the data source: Participation by planning for observation, participation by interactive observations of teaching, participation by preparing for practicum mentoring and participation by reflections at different levels.FindingsShort presentation of the four themes:Participation by planning for observation: This phase becomes an important part for the rest of the mentoring sequence. Specific and concrete interaction in this phase affected the degree of specific observation and mentoring.Participation by interactive observations of teaching: In this phase, and in order to document teaching, teacher students practiced their skills in formulating specific feedback to each other. At thesame time, they also practised identifying qualities in teaching relevant to pupils’ learning.Participation by preparing for practicum supervision: In this phase, conditions of preparation basedon authentic documentation and feedback affected the students’ participation in mentoring sessions.Participation by reflections at different levels: Student participation in mentoring sessions changed from passive roles with a focus on listening and receiving feedback to active knowledge-producing roles.

Conclusions: We conclude that the digital tools offered new opportunities for sharing, mutual engagement, participation, and negotiations in the dialogue about teaching and learning in mentoring as an extended community of practice. We also conclude that the CoP is a useful theory for describing and explaining the level of participation and engagement in practicum mentoring sessions.

Relevance to Nordic educational research: The study contributes with general knowledge in the field of practicum mentoring for student teachers, and with specific knowledge in the field of multimodal tools for observations and mentoring.

Nyckelord: Community of practice; digital observation; teacher students; negotiations; collaborative learning

Citera: Wennergren, Ann-Christine & Thornberg, Fredrik, Student teachers as legitimate participants in mentoring: An extended community of practice, The 46th Annual Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association : Educational Research: Boundaries, Breaches and Bridges: Abstract book., s. 575-575, 2018