Mentoring: Using an inquiry approach to support the development of higher education teachers' pedagogical practice
Permanent link to Research Commons versionhttps://hdl.handle.net/10289/15351
Mentoring has been proven to contribute to the development of higher education teachers’ pedagogical practice by expanding their knowledge and understanding for teaching in an adult learning context. This development can be enhanced when in parallel, mentors encourage higher education teachers to explore the factors that influence their practice. In this study the influence of mentoring on the development of higher education teachers’ pedagogical practice was investigated. The study was conducted in one New Zealand university where the participants and the researcher are academics who teach and engage in research. The seven participants hailed from two faculties and a teaching development centre. They elected to take part in the study because of their articulated commitment and desire to contribute to the development of effective higher education teaching. Their respective lived experiences of the ways that mentoring can support the development of higher education teachers’ pedagogical practice was integral to their decision-making. A qualitative in-depth narrative methodology framed by a constructivist research paradigm was used to investigate the participants’ experiences of mentoring and the implications for their practice. The main sources of data were generated by the in-depth narrative semi-structured interviews. Thematic data analysis was conducted via the interview transcripts and subsequently reinforced by re-storying. These approaches to data generation and analysis enabled an in-depth scrutiny of the participants’ experiences of both teaching and mentoring. The study revealed that the participants’ beliefs about teaching, their prior experiences, professional development, tacit theories of learning, reflection, and mentoring were factors that had shaped and influenced their pedagogical practice. In the subsequent exploration of the participants’ experiences of being mentored and of mentoring others, mentoring was identified as a significant influence. For most of the participants mentoring had not only supported the development of their pedagogical practice, it had helped them to make sense of why they taught the way that they did. Notably, the participants indicated a preference for mentoring approaches which promoted the co-construction of learning about teaching, encouraged co-inquiry into their teaching practice and gave them ownership of the mentoring process. Three key recommendations about mentoring for the development of higher education teachers’ pedagogical practice emerged from the study, and signal implications for higher education teachers and universities. First, that the influences on higher education teachers’ practice should be intentionally explored in mentoring settings given the significant impact these influences have upon teachers pedagogical practice; second, that mentoring must be understood and pertinent to sustain higher education teachers’ motivation and commitment to the ongoing development of their practice; third, that mentoring should be positioned as intentional and purposeful for learning about teaching. This study has the potential to add to understandings about mentoring for the development of teachers’ pedagogical practice in higher education. It is anticipated that it will contribute to both higher education teaching and mentoring discourses. A key aspiration of this study, drawn from the participants’ insightful and honest sharing of their experiences, is for mentoring to be deliberately employed as an inquiry approach to support the development of higher education teachers’ pedagogical practice.
The University of Waikato
All items in Research Commons are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
- Higher Degree Theses