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Synthesis of Research

on Mentoring
Beginning Teachers

Mentor teachers and their proteges will be more

successful if they are trained for their roles in accord
with a five-level Helping Relationship model.


s a way to improve the indue others, 19^7; Hennig and Jardim, 1977; tional reform proposals into the light."

A tion of beginning teachers and

to provide leadership opportu
nities for career teachers, school dis
Klauss, 1979; Kram, 1980, 1983, 1985;
Levison and others, 1982; Clawson,
ig^; Collins and Scott, 1978; 1985;
A useful source of information for
those designing and evaluating men
tor programs is the extensive body of
research on mentoring produced in
tricts in California and elsewhere are Levinson and others, 19~"8; Missirian.
arranging for the experienced teach 1980; Phillips, 19""; Phillips-Jones, recent years Most studies of mentor
ers to serve as mentors to the begin 1983; Roche, 1979; Sheehy, 1976. ing have been done in the business
ners (whom we will call proteges) 1981) field, and have typically investigated
These arrangements promise to make Like other innovations, however, informal or happenstance" mentor
teaching more satisfying, both for the formal mentoring programs require ing some five or more years after less-
mentor teachers and for their prote planning and support Laura Wagner experienced employees (proteges) re
ges. (1985). administrator of the California alized that they had been mentored in
Mentoring has a long history of suc program, asks, "How can useful evalu their career advancement or personal
cess, beginning with Odysseus' deci ations be conducted when program development by more-experienced,
sion to entrust the education and de goals are intangible and hard to opera- higher-ranking employees who took a
velopment of his son to a wise and tionalize. when 'the program' is differ personal interest in them.
learned man named Mentor some ent in every site at which it operates,
3,500 years ago, and continuing to its when evaluation has not been mandat Mentor Characteristics
present application in training nurses ed from the programs inception, Findings reveal that certain mentor
(Fagan and Fagan, 1983), psychologists when required documentation is ab and protege characteristics are impor
(Pierce, 1983), sociologists (Phillips. solutely minimal, and when timelines tant. Clawson (19"79) found that good
1979), scientists (Rawles, 1980), teach are extremely tight? Without provi mentors are people-oriented, tolerate
ers (Gray and Gray, 1985; Gray and sions for credible candidate and pro ambiguity, prefer abstract concepts,
Rogers, 1982), educational administra gram evaluation, Wagner warns, value their company and work, and
tors (Hepner and Faaborg, 1979: the Mentor Teacher Program may well respect and like their subordinates
Moore and Sangaria, 1979). and busi become just another bright flash in the Alleman (1982) found that successful
ness executives (Alleman, Dalton, and fast-changing pan that brings educa mentors are confident, secure, flexi-
them, protect and challenge them) as opment. They concluded that only 13
well as four psychosocial functions of these 41 inductees experienced a
(role-model, counsel, accept-confirm, real mentor-protege relationship dur
and befriend them) as the mentor- ing induction a relationship that
protege relationship is being cultivat gradually developed to become more
"If mentors 'get ed. personally caring and professional
stuck' at Level 1 or (addressing professional growth ques
tions on instruction, curriculum, and
2 ... proteges will Behaviors of Mentor Teachers classroom management) These men
What mentor behaviors help new tors were characterized as being genu
likely ... reject teachers? Two studies of informal or inely interested in their proteges,
them in order to "happenstance" mentoring provide
some answers Pagan and Walter
helpful, caring, willing to take time,
dedicated, friendly, outgoing, patient,
achieve a non- (1982) found that of 107 teachers who influential, and as being professional
dependent status." reported being mentored by one or
more veteran teachers during their
role models Interestingly, only four
former teachers and three co-workers
first year of teaching, were named as mentors, while 21
former college professors/supervisors
and eight scruxjl principals were so
.74 percent of teacher proteges credit named
ed their mentor with helping them to gain
self-confidence; 40 percent said their men
tor helped them learn the technical aspects
of their job; 67 percent reported that their
mentor listened to their ideas and encour Selecting and Matching
aged their creativity; 51 percent indicated Mentors and Proteges
that their advisor helped them better un
derstand the school's administration; and What factors should be considered
17 percent said their mentor taught them when selecting and matching mentors
He, altruistic, warm and caring, sensi how to work with people Proteges with and proteges to work together in a
tive to proteges' needs, and that they one definite mentor were more satisfied formalized mentoring program? While
trust their proteges. with their work than those who had either this has not been rigorously re
no mentor or several mentors
What Successful Mentors Do searched, a pilot study of four first-year
Even more important are behaviors— teachers paired with four support
what mentors do with and for prote teachers revealed that two pairings
ges, and how enthusiastically proteges Mentor Roles were unsuccessful because one pair
receive and respond to mentor help. Gehrke and Kay (1984) interviewed 41 was located in different parts of the
Alleman (1982) concluded that "since teachers who claimed to have been school, which reduced interaction,
no single 'mentor-type' was found, se mentored during their first year of and the other pair did not teach the
lection is not the primary issue. Rath teaching. To find out what constituted same subjects or share similar ide
er, mentoring involves mentor-like be mentoring from the point of view of ologies about teaching, classroom
havior, and behavior, once identified, these novices, their comments about management, and discipline (Huling
can be taught." their mentors were categorized into Austin and others, 1985) These re
What mentor behaviors are impor eight possible mentor roles as identi searchers concluded that:
tant? Phillips (1977) studied the differ fied by Schein (1978) The most fre
ences in impact on proteges of "pri quently filled mentor roles were those
mary" and "secondary" mentors: the of teacher (reported 25 times), confi
former have greater impact because dant (17), and role model (13) . . even- effort (should] be made to
they stick their necks out for their Schein's other possible roles were de select a support teacher who is not only
considered to he a successful teacher, hut
proteges, share power and expertise, veloper of talents (11), sponsor (11), also teaches the same subject and grade
give a personal blessing, and take a door-opener (4), protector (2), and level as the first year teacher, whose class
personal interest in the protege's ca successful leader (0) Employing Claw- room is in the same general area of the
reer and personal well-being; the lat son's (1979) definition, Gehrke and building, and who has compatible ideolo
gies about teaching, classroom manage
ter have less impact because they Kay labeled as "mentor" only those ment and discipline An effort should
show much less personal caring for persons who had fulfilled at least three also be made to determine if the beginning
the protege, functioning in a business of Schein's eight mentor roles, had teacher the benefits to be
like manner. Kram (1980) found that shared with proteges a mutual com gained from working with a support teach
successful mentors fulfill five career mitment to common goals, and had a er If he/she does not, these benefits
should be explained and the beginning
functions ( expose proteges to new comprehensive influence on the pro teacher should be encouraged to consider
opportunities, coach and sponsor teges' professional and career devel the advantages of this type of relationship
Voluntary or Required? Veenman (1984) contended that the
These comments suggest that begin problems of beginning teachers are
ning teachers should he able to person-specific and situation-specific
choose whether to have a mentor or A study of 602 first-year teachers in
not. Most researchers advise that par New York City (Sacks and Brady,
ticipation in such programs be volun
tary (Klauss. 19""9; Kram, 1985; Phil-
1985). mentor help for moral support,
guidance, and feedback (cited by 24
lips-Jones, 1983) because percent); discipline and management [in a study of
.. achieving a mentor relationship with (20 percent); curriculum and lesson
an older person is like falling in love you planning (18 percent); school routines informal
can I force it to happen You can. how
ever, make yourself receptive to such a
and scheduling (15 percent); motiva
tional techniques (6 percent); and in
relationship hy displaying a teachable atti
tude and an eagerness to learn (Williams, dividualized instruction (2 percent) relationships],
1977). Because beginning teachers want to
Nevertheless, formally arranged men achieve professional autonomy and only four former
tor protege pairings can work In a status equality with their colleagues
(Lortie, 19T5), 92 percent do not seek
teachers and three
study of 393 beginning teachers in
Georgia, significantly more novices help from colleagues except indirectly co-workers were
demonstrated classroom mastery of 16
competencies related to effective
by swapping stories about personal
experiences (Glidewell and others, named as mentors,
teaching when an assigned buddy 1983) This hides novices weaknesses while 21 former
teacher" (mentor) worked with them but does not enable them to obtain
during their first year of teaching (Tan help with those factors inexperi college professors/
ner and F.bers. 1985) In the University
of Wisconsin VChitewater Teacher In
ence, unavailability of expertise, and
ambiguity about goal attainment that
supervisors and
duction Program (1985), follow-up produce 93 percent of teacher stress eight school
related to performing professional
studies of 50 inductees, each of whom
received mentoring from a local staff tasks More than 'experience swap principals were
member assigned to help them, ping" is needed: a sense of community
must be established, consisting of in-
so named."
showed that the program had in
creased the professional skill, judg terdependency, shared concerns, a
ment, and competency of the partici sense of common fate, and a sense that
pants and had screened some less able others stand by" when one is under
candidates from the profession stress or uncertainty about what to do
These support features are found in
clearly conceived and properly imple
Needs of Beginning Teachers merited mentoring programs Re
What kind of help do beginning teach search suggests that such programs
ers need'' After reviewing 83 studies. should contain the components

Highlights of Research on Mentoring

Research in business and education has found that:
Effective mentors are people-oriented and secure. They like and trust their
Successful mentors take a personal interest in their proteges' careers,
share power and expertise, encourage their proteges' ideas, and help them
gain self-confidence.
Beginning teachers report needing help with discipline and classroom
management, curriculum and lesson planning, and school routines. Most of all
they feel a need for moral support, guidance, and feedback.
The key to successful mentoring is the mentor-protege relationship, which
can be represented by a five-step model ranging from level one, at which the
mentor plays the primary role, to level five, at which the protege becomes a
self-directed professional.

shown in Figure 1. Mentors must be mative evaluation, and additional monitoring (Bird, 1983)
carefully selected and matched with training during the mentoring proc
proteges, and mentor-protege pairs ess. Summative evaluation must be The Mentor-Protege
must be trained to work together har effective to determine mentor impact, Relationship
moniously Support personnel must protege gains, and, thus, the effective Nearly all researchers agree that the
be trained to provide supervision, for ness of initial training and continual key to successful mentoring is the

figure 1. Components of a Four-Phase Formalized Mentoring Program to Induct Beginning Teachers

M=Mentor P=Protegt
Phase 1: Phase 2: Phase 3: Phase 4:

Select and Match M/P Pairs Provide Necessary Training Year-End Summative Evalua
Criteria for Monitor Mentoring Process tion
1. Voluntary participa 1. M/P pairs Quantitative and Qualitative
tion: want to work to 2. Principals 1. Supervision strategies Evaluation of
gether 3. District support staff 2. Conflict-resolution
2. Same grade, subjects, strategies 1. M & P benefits and prob
ideology/ph i losophy 3. Formative evaluation lems
3. Close proximity in Competency-Based Training throughout year 2. M's impact on P
school 3. P's impact on M
4. M qualities: compe 1. Adult relationship 4. P's impact on own class,
tent, people and help skills staff members parents
ing-oriented, open 2. Communication skills 5. Impact of each phase on
minded, flexible, 3. M/P Helping Relation subsequent phases
empathic listener, ship model (M-Mp-MP- Use Formative Evaluation 6 Recommendations for
confident, resource mP-P) to Provide improvements
ful, politically 4. Four-Phase Mentoring
wise Model (propose, plan, 1. Retraining
5. P qualities: recep carry out, and present 2. New training
tive, responsive, completed project) 3. Special support
values mentor help, 5. Professional roles:
self-analyzer, and classroom leader
improves classroom manager
curriculum planner
6. Supervision strategies

Gef Necessary Support


1. School principal and

staff members
2. School district:
supervisors, consult
ants; and resource

improved selection, improved training improved monitoring

matching, and support and additional training
and support

C 1985 Gray & Assocs. Mentorship Training Programs, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

mentor-protege, relationship, yet we the mentor delegates more decision- a similar progression: initiation ( fanta
are among the few who have studied making responsibility to protege; dis sies become realistic expectations);
the relationship while it was develop cussion focuses on organizational cultivation ( mentor provides the five
ing (Gray, 1984a, b). Most researchers politics and how to attain career career and four psychosocial functions
have asked proteges to recall the plans), disillusionment ( when it is re mentioned previously): separation
stages of the mentoring process in alized that little more can be gained bv (protege becomes competent and in
business settings, five or more years continuing the relationship); parting dependent); and redefinition ( either a
after the relationship had ended. (to become independent, with or mutually supportive friendship devel
When doing this, Phillips ( 19""7 ) found without bitterness, depending on how ops or mentor and protege feel used
six stages initiation, the sparkle ( pre it takes place); and transformation and bitter)
settling one's best self to produce mu (becoming a peer, friend, and equal We have the dynamic nature of the
tual admiration), dcivlopmetit ( men who can now help the mentor) Kram Mentor/Protege Helping Relationship
tor gives and protege receives until ( 1983) found four stages that describe in a five-level rmxiel (see Figure 2)

Figure 2. Gray's Mentor/Protege Helping Relationship Model and Major Mentor Functions/Roles
(Model indicates varied types/levels of help mentor provides to enable proteges to gain competencies, confidence,
realistic values, experience, and so on needed to function autonomously as a complete professional.)

feedback loop

SITUATIONAL LEAD- • M tells P what to • M sells P on what • M invites P's • M delegates to P • P is self-di-
ERSHIP do to do joint participa- & supports reeled

ROLE-MODEL • P observes how • M teaches P "the • Dialogue about • M supports P's • P "fits in" &
M acts profes ropes" (gate- school's culture ideals for also pro-
sionally with keeping) & ethos change (gate- motes
others opening) change

INSTRUCTOR/PRO- • Direct instruc- • M queries P to • Socratic dia- • M arranges • P seK-edu-

MOTER OF THINK- tion of basic check for com- logues; M facili- guided discov- cates
INC SKILLS knowledge prehension tates application, ery-leaming, fa-
analysis cilitates synthe
sis & evaulation

DEMONSTRATOR/ • M exemplifies, • M shows P how • M & P jointly • M supports P's • P demon-

TEACHER leads by exam uses demonstra- demonstrate demonstrations strates rn-
ple tions something dependent-

MOTIVATOR/PRO- • M displays en- • M positively rein- • M & P value each • M encourages • P is charac-
MOTER OF REALIS- thusiasm P is re- forces & en- other's contribu- P's experimenta- terized by
TIC VALUES ceptive culturates P; P tions; contract tion/ideals; P new values,
positively re- together conceptualizes is intrinsi-
sponds new values cally moti

SUPERVISOR • M gives direc • M suggests im- • M & P brain- • M gives feed- • P self-evalu-
tives, advice, as- provements P re- storm, agree on back, encour- ates & im-
sertions sponds problem solu- ages & supports proves
tions P's proposed

COUNSELLOR • M provides an • M confronts P, • M & P discuss/ • M listens to P's • P resolves

ecdotes, exam suggests im- contract for concerns, sup- concerns
ples, cases provements; P changes ports P's solu- autono-
responds tions mously

PROMOTER OF INDI- • M arranges for P • M prepares P to • M & P discuss • M helps P incor- • P inter-
RECT MENTORINC to learn from learn from others what P learns porate what was nalizes new
others (gate- from others learned from learning
opening) others

r 1985 by Cray & Assocs. Mentorship Training Programs, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

NovhMBIK 19XS 41
greater experience, realism, and ex Upon reaching Level 5 (P), proteges
pertise to do such things as: role- are competent and confident enough
model how to "get things done" with to function without mentor help. They
in the politics of the school so need no help in solving problems in
proteges fit into the school's culture those areas where they have acquired
(Sarason, 1971); demonstrate specific sufficient experience and competence.
"A sense of teaching techniques and materials; They have internalized and become
community must "sell" proteges (Mersey and Blan characterized by values and other
chard, 1977) on realistic ways of per things learned during the mentoring
be established, forming tasks such as establishing process, thus learning to "fit in" while
consisting of classroom management; provide ex being able to promote change in a way
ternal reinforcement; and show prote that tempers their vitality and idealism
interdependence, ges how to prepare course unit plans with the realities of daily teaching
and previews/overviews responsibilities. When proteges need
shared concerns, At Levels 1 and 2, mentors exercise additional mentor help with some
... and a sense more "power" than proteges because thing new, perceptive mentors return
they have a greater supply of valued to the appropriate level of the mod
that others 'stand resources. This can present problems el as indicated by its feedback loop
because new teachers value the pro If formalized mentoring is concep
by* when one is fessional norms of equality and auton tualized and implemented in accord
under stress." omy (Glidewell and others, 1983). If with the Helping Relationship model,
mentors "get stuck" at Level 1 or 2 and it can meet the specific needs of begin
proteges believe that little more can ning teachers and provide increased
be gained from mentors at these lev professional satisfaction to mentors If
els, proteges will likely stop valuing not, it is likely to become just another
this power-dependent relationship educational bandwagon that only com
(Auster, 1984) and reject their mentors plicates teachers' lives and adds to
to achieve a nondependent status. Be their frustration and sense of futility D
When we train mentors to use this fore this happens, a perceptive mentor
model, they are better able to provide will recognize and take pride in the
important types of help (leadership, protege's need to change the nature of
rote-modeling, instruction, demonstra the relationship to a more egalitarian
tion, motivation, supervision, coun one by working with the protege at
seling, and indirect mentoring) in the Levels 3 and 4
varied and appropriate ways a protege At Level 3 (MP), mentors acknowl
needs to reach Level 5, where he or she edge proteges' existing and develop "Before giving a
becomes competent enough to autono ing competencies, and thus provide
mously handle the problems that begin "participatory" leadership (Mersey protege the blessing
ning teachers most frequently encoun and Blanchard, 1977) to enable prote to go it alone, the
ter (Veenman, 1984). ges to make an equal contribution mentor should
At Level 1 (M), mentors do such during their interactions This is facili
things as: read about typical problems tated by joint problem solving, brain- exercise a new type of
and concerns experienced by novices; storming, consensus reaching, open leadership by
receive training on how to work with discussion, and contracting.
proteges and other support personnel; Before giving a protege the blessing 'delegating' greater
prepare and teach demonstration les to go it alone, the mentor should responsibilities and
sons so proteges can observe specific exercise a new type of leadership by
techniques or materials being used; "delegating" greater responsibilities giving proteges
provide indirect mentoring by arrang
ing for proteges to learn from other
(Hersey and Blanchard, 1977) and giv
ing proteges "guided practice" (Hunt
'guided practice' to
competent teachers; protect proteges er, 1981) to ensure that they can suc ensure that they can
from forseeable problems and unjust ceed. This happens at Level 4 (mP) as succeed."
criticism; promote staff acceptance of the mentor listens to and encourages
proteges; locate resources proteges the protege's proposals to try out his
need for teaching, and so on. Mentors or her own ideas, teaching style, class
employ the style of situational leader room management scheme, and so on
ship (Mersey and Blanchard, 1977) in The mentor thus fosters discovery,
which they "tell" relatively naive pro learning, creativity', and self-evaluation
teges what to do and how to do it. while supporting the protege's at
While interacting with proteges at Lev tempts to organize new values into his
el 2 (Mp), mentors draw on their or her value system.
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presented at the annual conference of the versity of California at Los Angeles. 19"" ing, held in Vancouver from July 21 to
Western Canadian Association of Student Phillips-Jones, L. "Establishing a Formal 25, 1986, during Expo 86, please con
Teaching, Vancouver. Canada. 1985 ized Mentoring Program." Training and tact the authors in care of the Faculty
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Directed Enrichment Projects for Gifted 38-43. lumbia. Vancouver. Canada V6T 1Z5.
NOVEMBER 1985 43
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