“Online Teacher Support Programs: Mentoring and Coaching Models”


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The North American Council for Online Learning has released a report entitled “Online Teacher Support Programs: Mentoring and Coaching Models.”  The report was written by Karly Wortmann (Iowa State University), Cathy Cavanaugh (University of Florida), Kathryn Kennedy (University of Florida), Yoany Beldarrain (Florida Virtual School), Therese Letourneau (Florida Virtual School), and Vicky Zygouris-Coe (University of Central Florida).

From the introduction:

This document describes the mentoring relationship from the perspectives of several virtual schools that have built mentoring programs to assist their new teachers. Each school’s mentoring program is unique and has been designed specifically for the school’s staff, size, and instructional approach. These schools have learned that a successful mentoring program is key in developing effective novice virtual school teachers and in supporting the continued growth of experienced virtual school teachers. Mentoring programs are still new to virtual schools, but they may also be a factor in teacher retention. In any case, an effective mentoring program will benefit the mentee through development of knowledge and skills, the mentor through development of leadership and communication capabilities, and the school through the sharing of ideas and expertise.

The report looks at these types of mentoring:

  • Task-based mentoring focuses on an individual’s short-term need to improve a skill or acquire knowledge in order to fulfill a new role. ƒ
  • Experience-based mentoring pairs an individual, who is new to an organization or a role, with a mentor who has experience in that role. ƒ Just-in-time mentoring matches mentors with individuals who have an unanticipated need for assistance. ƒ
  • One-to-one mentoring centers on a single mentor working with a single mentee ƒ
  • Team mentoring joins groups of mentors with groups of mentees. ƒ
  • Formal mentoring involves explicit expectations of the mentoring process and/or outcomes by specifying such characteristics as timelines, achievements, progress reporting, benchmarks, and communications formats.

And, the following elements of mentoring programs:

  • Personal and professional reflection ƒ
  • Sharing of expertise to others with common interests ƒ
  • Portfolio development ƒ
  • Learning communities ƒ
  • Professional development planning for both mentor and mentee/protégé ƒ
  • Short-term collaborations through co-teaching or team teaching

The book is available from ERIC here.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.

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