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Importance of Training Quality Mentors for ITT导师在新手教师培训中的重要性

Importance of Training Quality Mentors for ITT

The writer for this article is Tracey Smith, Head of Primary School Teacher Training from the Faculty of Education, University of Buckingham. The University of Buckingham is providing series of professional development courses for teachers and educational leaders who work in bilingual schools in China including courses designed for mentors at postgraduate level.

Written by | Tracey Smith | Head of Primary School Teacher Training, Faculty of Education, University of Buckingham
Edited by|BISE

There has rarely been a more important time to consider the importance of mentoring, particularly for new teachers. The ITT Core Content Framework (2018 p. 3) acknowledges that “Mentoring and support from expert colleagues forms a key element of this multi-year entitlement”. In 2015, the Carter Review of Initial Teacher training which had been commissioned by the DfE, highlighted many shortcomings in the quality of mentoring in ITT, prompting the publication of the National Standards for school-based initial teacher training (ITT) mentors (2016). With the implementation of the Early Career Framework approaching and its emphasis on high quality mentoring, the spotlight has once again fallen on mentors.

Mentoring, as distinct from coaching, counselling or teaching, is a unique relational process involving support, encouragement and guidance for another to reach their full potential. The mentor has the experience and skills that need to be acquired by the mentee. The mentor is the conduit of knowledge, information and guidance. It takes place over a longer period of time than coaching, which is more likely to be a fixed-term structured process where the coach enables the other person to gain clarity and solutions to problems. Good quality mentoring therefore requires a range of well-honed interpersonal skills in order to quickly establish a trusting and respectful relationship within which the new teacher flourishes.

Since the subsequent publication of the new Mentor Standards in ITT (2016), there has been a seismic shift in the recognition that “mentoring is a crucial process. The training of teachers drives the quality of the education service, and the mentor is at the very heart of that training” (Wright, 2018 p.1).

So why is it so important to get this right?

1. Teacher Retention and Attrition Data

Between 2010-2019, teacher attrition grew, and retention saw a downward trajectory, as illustrated by the graph below (DfE Workforce Census, 2018).

Graph 1. Retention Rates of teachers who qualified in each of the last 10 years. (DfE, 2018)

In their extensive review based on TALIS (Teaching and Learning International Survey) data, UCL team Ziegler, et al. (2019 p.1) found that “teacher job satisfaction in England was as low, or lower, than all of the 17 comparable countries”. Reasons for this are often cited as being stress, workload-related issues and an unsupportive school culture. In his article for Schools Week, Robertson (2018) reported the worrying statistic that “The same proportion of teachers are now entering the profession as leaving it”. This conclusion was reached as a result of the DfE School Workforce census (2017 p.4), which reports this statistic:

“There were 42,430 FTE new entrants to teaching in state funded schools in 2017…There were 42,830 FTE qualified teachers who left teaching in 2017”.

Whilst these figures might be sustainable in the light of a one-in-one-out pattern, this highlights the need for strong mentoring of early career teachers in order to boost retention of the, both as early teachers and once they become our more experienced teachers.

Despite a raft of workload-reduction measures implemented between 2010 and 2018, the DfE (2018 p.6), concluded that overall, “…greater levels of support and understanding from SLT was needed, for example, in terms of the management of pupil behaviour, and the ability to have open and honest conversations.” So strong mentoring is needed, as early career teachers are not always gifted with the innate ability to support complex behavioural needs or the ability to solve complex problems within the workplace and this is a vital skill that can be grown with excellent mentoring in the first few years.

Lifford, (2020), in a blog written for EDAPT in response to the DFE’s Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy (2019), summarises its findings thus: “Broadly, the DfE have suggested the following ideas to improve retention:

  • More supportive school cultures and reduced workload
  • Transforming support for early career teachers
  • Making sure teaching remains an attractive career as lifestyles and aspirations change

2. We care about Educating our Children Well

Extensive reviews of research into teacher effectiveness concur that teacher effectiveness improves over time within a supportive context (Kini and Podolski 2016), (Kraft and Papay, 2014) and that it is therefore crucial that we grow and nurture the talent in our early career teachers in order to retain them as valued and effective teacher practitioners.

The importance of good mentoring is valued in the business environment. McKinsey for example (2020), offer their new employees an extensive mentoring programme, promising

“We will provide you with individual career guidance and insights into how to work effectively and how to avoid mistakes made by many unexperienced employees”. The need to do likewise has never been more pressing for us educators to follow suit.

Early Career Teachers have so many things to navigate and make sense of, all additional to learning the craft of teaching well and ensuring learners learn well. Without the support and guidance of a more experienced teacher, they may be disadvantaged before they start. Negotiating and problem-solving within complex working environments and unfortunately, at times, unconducive school cultures takes a level of skill and maturity of emotional intelligence that we can ill afford to assume of new teachers. Thankfully, schools and most ITT providers are aware of this and have implemented recommendation 11.1 from the Carter Review (2015, p.12), that:

ITT partnerships should ensure all trainees experience effective mentoring by:

i. “selecting and recruiting mentors who are excellent teachers, who are able to explain outstanding practice (as well as demonstrate it)”

Some have gone further and are implementing recommendation 11.11;

ii. “providing rigorous training for mentors that goes beyond briefing about the structure and nature of the course, and focuses on how teachers learn and the skills of effective mentoring”

It is only by providing this level of rigorous training and with explicit teaching of the skills of effective mentoring that we can strengthen the future of the teaching profession, retain our most effective teachers and safeguard the future of our children’s education that, for each child, we only have one chance to get right.

3. The Value to the Mentor of being a Great Mentor

We know that peer-to-peer teaching benefits the teacher as much, if not more, than the learner. “To teach is to learn twice” (Whitman, 1998 p.1). Social constructivist theorists such as Dewey, Bruner and Vygotsky argue that learning is a social process and that new behaviours can be constructed by observing others. Vygotsky, (Abhati, 2017), refers to a “more knowledgeable other”, who also benefits and learns through the mentoring process, as knowledge is socially co-constructed and through collaboration and the articulation of ideas by both mentor and mentee, pedagogical thinking and discussion is more likely to be remembered. Dialogical and dialectical thinking is an important aspect of professional development, as it involves more than one line of thinking to be considered. Through the learning conversations between mentor and mentee therefore, the pedagogical thinking of both parties is enhanced.

Mr A: A Case History

Mr A was a Year 3 teacher in a school where I was Headteacher. He had moved from another school and arrived lacking in confidence but as a soundly good teacher and a good listener, was given a student to mentor. The relationship was successful, and the student flourished under his guidance, so he was asked to mentor another student. Over the course of three years of mentoring, Mr A grew in confidence and became a very effective teacher. This was as a result of him taking the time to have long conversations with his trainees, steeped in pedagogy and professional development and as he had the emotional intelligence to reflect upon his own practice as a result of these conversations, his own teaching strengthened. All of his trainees were subsequently offered teaching positions in the school and he is now responsible for transforming early ITT trainees into permanent teachers in the school. The benefits for Mr A, for his trainees and for the school have been huge.

本文作者Tracey Smith是英国白金汉大学教育学部的小学教师培训主任。白金汉大学教育学院提供一系列高质量教师和教育领导力发展课程,也有针对导师而特别设计的研究生文凭课程。

作者 | Tracey Smith
Head of Primary School Teacher Training;
Faculty of Education, University of Buckingham


现在是个考虑如何指导新教师发展的很好的时间点。新人教师培训(Initial Teacher Training)的核心内容框架指出,“来自更资深同事的指导和支持构成了这一能维持数年权利的关键要素”。2015年,英国教育部(DfE)委托Carter Review强调了ITT中导师质量的许多缺陷,促使发布了《校本初始教师培训(ITT)导师国家标准》(2016)。随着早期职业框架实施的到来及其对高质量指导的重视,人们的注意力再次落在了导师(mentor)身上。


随着后续发布的导师标准以来,人们对“指导是一个关键过程”的认识发生了重大转变。教师培训推动了教育服务的质量,导师是培训的核心”(Wright,2018 p1)。



1. 教师留任和流失





UCL团队Ziegler等人(2019)基于TALIS(国际教学调查)数据中发现,“英格兰的教师工作满意度在17个国家中较低”。其原因通常被认为是因为压力、工作量相关问题和不友善的学校文化。在他Schools Week的文章中,Robertson(2018)报道了一个令人担忧的统计数据,“现在进入这个职业的教师比例与离开这个职业的教师比例相同”。这一结论是根据DfE学校劳动力普查(2017)得出的,该普查报告了以下统计数据:



尽管在2010年至2018年期间实施了一系列减负措施,但DfE(2018)得出结论认为总体而言,“……需要SLT提供更高水平的支持和理解,例如在学生行为管理上以及在进行公开对话方面的帮助。” 因此强有力的指导是必须的,因为初始教师并不总有支持复杂行为需求的能力或解决在工作场合中复杂问题的能力。而这些关键的技能在刚开始几年初始教师的指导下是可以得到提高。


  •     更具有支持性的学校文化和工作量减负

  •     转变对初始教师的支持

  •     随着生活方式和理想抱负的改变,确保教学仍然是一项有吸引力的职业


2. 我们关注如何教育好孩子


对教师效能广泛的研究表明,教师效能在支持性环境中随着时间的推移而提高(Kini and Podolski,2016),(Kraft and Papay,2014)。所以我们要培养初始教师中的人才,留住他们,使他们以后成为有价值和有效的教师这一点尤为重要。



初始教师有很多东西需要掌握和理解,除了学习好教学技巧和确保学习者学好之外,如果没有更有经验的老师的支持和指导,他们可能在开始之前就处于不利地位,例如在复杂的工作环境中进行谈判和解决问题。不幸的是,有时一些无益的学校文化需要一定程度的技能和成熟的情商,这是初始教师所欠缺的。但值得庆幸的是,学校和大多数ITT机构都意识到了这一点,并实施了Carter Review(2015)的中提到的第11.1条建议:


  • 选拔和招聘优秀的有高实践能力的导师


  •  “为导师提供严格的培训,不仅限于介绍课程的结构和性质,而且注重导师如何学习和有效指导的技能”



3. 成为伟大导师对导师的价值

我们知道同伴导学对教师与对学习者的好处一样甚至更多。“教授就是第二次学习”(Whitman,1998年)。Dewey, Bruner and Vygotsky 等社会建构主义理论家认为,学习是一个社交的过程,新的行为可以通过观察他人来建构。Vygotsky(Abhati,2017)指出 “相对更有知识的人”,也通过指导过程受益和学习,因为知识是社会共同构建的。通过导师和受训者的合作和思想表达,教学思考和讨论更有可能被记住。讨论和辩证思维是使得专业发展的一个重要方面,因为它涉及到不止一种思维方式。因此,通过导师和受训者之间的学习对话,双方的教学思维都得到了增强。





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