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Title: Mentoring beginning secondary school teachers of English language for professional development in Kenya
Authors: Oriwo Atieno, Sophia
Keywords: Secondary school
English language
Professional development
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Moi University
Abstract: Initial Teacher Education is aimed at equipping beginning teachers with appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes/values about teaching. In addition, it is expected that some critical elements of teaching are learnt when Newly Recruited Teachers commence their professional careers, through mentoring by more experienced teachers. However, a literature review by the researcher reveals that the conceptualization and implementation of mentoring for newly recruited secondary school teachers of English language in Kenya is not widely researched upon. Yet, Newly Recruited Teachers in Kenya face several challenges given that many of them spend a relatively long time after graduation before employment, some of them in non-teaching environments. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to investigate the practice of mentoring as a professional development activity for Newly Recruited Teachers of English language in secondary schools in Kenya. This objective was broken down into three research questions to enable its achievement in a holistic manner. These were: What mentoring strategies are available in schools for beginning secondary school teachers of English language?; How are the various mentoring strategies available in schools for beginning secondary school teachers of English language implemented?;What are the perspectives of mentors and mentees on the mentoring strategies and how they are implemented. The study was formulated and interpreted with reference to the Teaching Profession Continuum Theory which emphasizes the teaching career as a lifelong process and breaks the profession into three learning phases: pre-service preparation, beginning teacher induction, and ongoing-professional development. The study adopted the relativist-interpretivist paradigm and the qualitative approach and used the multiple case study design. The research took place in Uasin–Gishu County. The target research population was Newly Recruited Teachers, Heads of Subject-English, and principals from 47 secondary schools. Purposive and Stratified Random sampling techniques were used to identify 18 mentees and 36 corresponding mentors: 18 Heads of English Subject and 18 Principals (mentors) making a total of 54 participants for the study. Data were generated through unstructured interview guides, focus group discussion guides and document analysis. The data were analysed thematically and presented in an expository manner with participants’ excerpts as evidence. The study revealed that there were informational, emotional and professional mentoring strategies most of which were ad-hoc and not based on any documented, research based best practices. Implementation of mentoring strategies (where they existed) lacked consistency within and across schools and the perspectives of mentors and mentees on mentoring was diverse. Many mentees perceived mentoring as a constructive professional development practice while some viewed mentoring as a set of personal directives that perpetuated entrenched methods in English language teaching. Most mentors were of the perspective that mentoring without clear policies and guidelines was largely unproductive. Based on these findings of the study, it was concluded that mentoring as currently practiced demonstrates a lack of clear strategies; implementation is haphazard and is generally perceived to be necessary but dysfunctional. It is recommended that clear mentoring strategies be formulated; a mentoring implementation matrix be developed and that continuous teacher professional development for secondary school teachers should include capacity building on mentoring for professional development of Newly Recruited Teachers of English language.
Appears in Collections:School of Education

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