The professional learning continuum: mentoring in initial teacher education


The report is intended for the Welsh Government, providers of initial teacher education (ITE), headteachers and staff in schools, local authorities and regional consortia. The report is intended to provide a base-line study for the reform of ITE in Wales. The report focuses on the development of student teachers’ critical thinking, reflection and evaluation as vital skills for professional learning, the mentor’s role in developing these skills, and how involvement in mentoring in ITE impacts on and relates to professional learning in schools more generally.
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ITE partnership schools should:

  • R1 Link their work in ITE more strongly to the development of practice and provision in school, and especially to that of professional learning
  • R2 Work closely with their university partners to ensure that mentors have the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary for teacher educators
  • R3 Develop robust plans to improve the research skills of school staff, making the most of their partnership with their university partner
  • R4 Ensure that senior mentors play a strategic role in developing mentors and in evaluating the effectiveness of ITE partnership working
  • R5 Work alongside university partners to design and implement ITE programmes that ensure a successful blend of theory and practice.

Universities should:

  • R6 Work closely with schools to support the development of research skills and strategies
  • R7 Improve mentor training and development to focus more on the skills of teacher education
  • R8 Work with schools to develop more robust processes to evaluate the quality of mentoring
  • R9 Work alongside university partners to design programmes that ensure a successful blend of theory and practice
  • R10 Strengthen student teachers’ skills of reflection, evaluation and critical analysis
  • R11 In collaboration with their partner schools, consider the most effective ways to assess students that takes good account of their development towards QTS

Welsh Government should:

  • R12 Work with ITE providers to support a national approach to mentor development in ITE