Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mentoring - strike 2

Mentoring and induction are one of the ‘knowns’ in education. You just know it works and the more you give the better teachers will perform and the longer they will stay in the classroom. A given – just like child psychology, the history of teaching, student teaching and other courses that are absolutely required to ensure you get a great teacher.

Except they don’t really seem to help

IES with the second year of a study on extensive mentoring and once again it shows that there is no real difference for student achievement and no impact on retention. Wow.

A while back I wrote about the first year of this study and the flaws of the study were pointed out by Liam Goldrick from The New Teacher Center. He points out that the mentoring was not the pure New Teacher Center program and it was the first year. So the first flaw still applies – but the second, not so much.

To us the headline is that big, formal, costly programs do no better then the informal, helping each other out stuff that is happening in more and more schools. However – there are still too many schools where teachers are still very much on their own.

The conclusion is: no conclusion. Generalizing from one study is not going to help anyone. Each school must look at the culture and if they have a very collaborative approach to teaching, no need for spending huge amounts on mentoring. If it is every man, woman and child for themselves – then get them some formal mentoring.

Unfortunately with the ARRA spending bubble soon to burst, mentoring will be one of the very first casualties

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