The effect of training and peer mentor shadowing designed to increase mentor capacity on teacher mentor self-efficacy
This action research study focused on training for teacher mentors and teacher mentor self-efficacy. Specifically, this project explored the impact participation in a teacher mentor training program and teacher mentor peer shadowing had on teacher mentor self-efficacy. While there is a plethora of literature on teacher self-efficacy, minimal literature exists on the self-efficacy of teacher mentors. Bandura’s self-efficacy theory and cognitive and collaborative apprenticeship provided the foundational body of knowledge in order to understand teacher mentors’ experiences.
This study followed thirty-seven teacher mentors through the first half of the Arizona K12 Center’s Professional Learning Series – Mentor Academy Year 1. Teacher mentors were given a pre-survey upon their first day in the training series, a mid-point survey halfway through the semester and a post-survey at the beginning of the following semester. Teacher mentor self-efficacy data was collected from the surveys and analyzed to determine the impact their participation in the training program had on their self-efficacy. Five random teacher mentors were also selected for interviews. This qualitative data were collected to compliment the quantitative survey data. The second part of the study consisted of interviewing six teacher mentors in a local secondary education school district to gauge the impact the peer mentor shadowing program had on their self-efficacy. Quantitative and qualitative data collected provided insights on the impact these supports had on teacher mentor self-efficacy.
The results of this study indicate the challenge and complexities of being a teacher mentor. The data showed that teacher mentors who lacked training prior to or upon initial entry into their new position of teacher mentor struggled to be effective which negatively affected their self-efficacy. The data also indicated that teacher mentors who participated in the Arizona K12 Center’s mentor training program had greater self-efficacy for their roles. Finally, teacher mentors participating in peer mentor shadowing opportunities found it to be of the greatest impact leading to stronger self-efficacy.