An exploratory study of beginning teacher mentoring practices in Singapore

Project Number
OER 06/16 LEL

Project Duration
August 2016 - January 2019


Internationally, the mentoring of beginning teachers (BTs) is receiving much attention with the increasing complexity and challenges confronting a teacher's role and the need for career-long professional development . In Singapore, to enhance BTs' professional expertise and effectiveness, Academy of Singapore Teachers (AST) has set up a Mentor Coach (MTC) team comprising skillful practitioners from Singapore schools, as well as Master Teachers in developing effective Instructional Mentors (IMs) through the Instructional Mentoring Programme (IMP). This project investigates the factors that contribute to successful implementation of mentoring of BTs based on the IMP, where success is viewed as positive impact on BTs and their professional practices. While literature abounds on the mentoring of BTs in the last two decades, the field lacks conclusive empirical evidence due to conceptual and methodological constraints. One gap is the failure to distinguish between school-based mentoring of initial teacher preparation (ITP) participants and of BTs. The focus of this research is on school-based mentoring of BTs, defined as teachers in the first 2-3 years of their professional career, and mentoring is understood to be a formal school-based role for teachers/mentors who are developed through participation in the 2-year long IMP. Additionally, existing studies depend solely on mentees' and mentors' perceptions and accounts and few studies study the actual process of mentoring. Using a mixed-method research design involving multiple data generation, this project aims to fill the research gap by looking at both the IMP mentoring practices and the mentor-mentee mentoring process. We will attempt to bring together the views of both sets of participants in the mentoring process via examining specific mentor-mentee relationships, which few studies have attempted. Other earlier established conditions for successful mentoring such as contextual features and support, mentor preparation and selection will also be studied. Our research design involves audio-recorded interviews with AST officer, IMP MTCs, school coalition team members, IMs, and BTs, surveys of school participants, video-based observations of actual IMP mentoring practices and school teaching practices, audio recordings of mentor-mentee conversations, and collection of mentoring logs and policy documents. Via these multiple modes of data generation, we hope to strengthen the current evidence base. All audio data will be transcribed and all video and audio data will be thematically coded. To identify valid and reliable factors that contribute to successful mentoring, a series of statistical analyses such as confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation modelling, multivariate analysis of variance will be used for quantitative data analysis. Findings of the project can provide empirical evidence to inform mentoring practices and policies, specifically in relation to MOE and AST support for, and school-based conduct of, mentoring of BTs. The findings can also inform mentoring practices and research in other contexts in terms of successful design and implementation of mentor preparation programmes and school-based mentoring.

Funding Source

Related Links
ReEd Vol 21 (2017): Teachers as Mentors

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