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Mentoring for Quality Improvement: a Case Study of a Teacher Leader in the Reform Process.

Mentoring for Quality Improvement: A Case Study of a Teacher Leader in the Reform Process--Ryan & Hornbeck

The final study reports on one component of an extensive court-ordered early care and education reform project in New Jersey. Specifically, this article comprises a case study of one master teacher serving in the role of a mentor to help child care teachers implement the High/Scope curriculum in their settings. The authors employed a variety of qualitative methods to gain an in-depth understanding of how this mentor teacher approached her work. The authors focused on the activities and strategies that the mentor used and the broader organizational aspects that influenced her ability to facilitate improvements. The data collection procedures that were used include time diaries, observations, interviews, and document collections. Ryan and Hornbeck provide rich details of these data collection methods and the data analytic processes they used to code, categorize, and check for the integrity of the findings. The results showed that this mentor teacher engaged in 18 different types of activities collapsed across five major categories. The largest proportion (54 percent) of her work day was spent in technical assistance, yet only 26 percent of the time was spent meeting with teachers. In several occasions, the classroom teachers resisted change due to their lack of involvement in the initial reform process. Several factors were identified that limited the impact of the mentor teacher. These included time, training, and expertise. In this particular case, the mentor teacher was expected to conduct a variety of activities that limited her ability to mentor effectively. In addition, while she was qualified, given her educational background, she lacked sufficient experience to fully resonate with a number of the veteran classroom teachers. Finally, she lacked the specialized professional training for the job role that she was to carry out. The authors conclude that policy makers who desire to see improvements in the early care and education arena must first solicit involvement from the classroom teachers that they hope to affect and then allocate resources for specialized professional development experiences for mentor teachers.
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Title Annotation:FALL 2004; case study report
Author:Kelley, Michael
Publication:Childhood Education
Geographic Code:1U2NJ
Date:Mar 22, 2005
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