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Student Teacher?

Little hand, big hand

Image source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/maveric2003/ / CC BY 2.0

Students mentoring teachers

In her 2008 masters thesis, Sue Ingham investigates using students to mentor teachers in ICT PD. She cites Marc Prensky’s concepts of digital natives and digital immigrants in developing her rationale, hypothesising that;

there is the potential for students to become a key component for teachers to acquire new skills in the area of ICT. (p.30)

An interesting idea. Results? Ingham states;

There was an indication that teachers did move through to the next stage because of the professional development programme that was part of this research. (p.79)

Here, ‘stage’ refers to a model of ICT use, consisting of five stages. They are reproduced below from Ingham’s thesis, originally from (CEO Forum 1999), in Pratt et al., (2001. p.29)

Stage 1: Entry – students learning to use technology
Stage 2: Adoption – teachers use technology to support traditional instruction
Stage 3: Adaptation – technology used to enrich curriculum
Stage 4: Appropriation – technology is integrated, used for its unique capabilities
Stage 5: Invention – discover new used for technology

The intervention was most effective where teacher motivation was high,  an unsurprising result.  Strengths included the highly individualised structure, with the most successful partnership being those where the teacher had definite purpose or ‘authentic needs’. Not ground-breaking, but an interesting idea worth exploring.

Partnering pre-service and in-service teachers

Similar themes are found in a 2009 paper from Robertshaw et al., Utah State University researchers. In their paper the authors examine a model where pre-service and in-service teachers form reciprocal mentoring relationships for ICT PD. They examine these relationships with respect to the TPCK model. Partnering pre-service teachers with high technological knowledge and low pedagogical knowledge with in-service teachers with the converse skill set lead to succesful partnerships. In instances where this complimenting expertise did not exist, reciprocal mentoring was not successful. These findings are similar to those of Ingham (2008), that meeting individual needs is vital for mentoring relationships to be of value.

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