Peer Mentoring Issues  

After a year of peer mentoring, the following issues were identified.
  • Since supporting teachers (ST) teach a full load of classes, it has been difficult for them to observe participating teachers. Therefore, center directors (CD), who do have release time, have done most of the observations.
  • Participating teachers may not see the need for support.
  • Participating teachers may not feel comfortable with support.
  • Visits to schools should not begin with classroom observation - relationship should develop through pre observation planning visits.
  • There is much more collaboration at CD schools (where it is easier and more natural) than elsewhere.

Solving problems with the original paradigm:

  • More discussion is needed with teachers on the value of collaboration. Training is needed for CDís.
  • The purpose of visits by the CDís and STís must be clear. This will entail the design of forms or database entries that ask teachers to focus on possible purposes and objectives.
  • The purpose and logistics of the visits should be flexible and serve the needs of project and teachers. Visits may include pre model implementation planning, classroom observation, (this could be done in the way of a study where participating teachers ask the CD to observe both), post implementation discussion of what went right or wrong. Also valuable are after school get-togethers to work on a new model or on assessment questions to supplement a modeling activity.

Modifying the paradigm:

  • Encourage peer collaboration among teachers in the same school/district.
  • Encourage flexible recruiting/training that builds on previous relationships. Current program teachers have suggested such efforts. They could call upon the region CD for training.
  • Work with district science supervisors to provide training and collaboration time. Make use of district scheduled inservice time.

Problems with modifying the paradigm:

  • The project loses complete charge of training and support.
  • This puts a great burden on CDís in knowing how to compromise.
  • This is not part of the original research design.

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