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The ABC’s of Mentoring for New Teachers

A mixed methods research design was used in this study to explore how mentoring learning teams in the Coquitlam School District affect the self-efficacy and professional growth of new teachers. This was of high importance to the researchers as new teachers are expected to be capable of assuming the same full-time teaching responsibilities as their senior colleagues, meet the demands of multiple learning abilities and face an uncertain future with regards to their career path without the necessary supports in place to assist and develop them as effective teachers in the profession (Fantilli & McDougall, 2009). Thereby, the study was chosen for its ability to examine the level of significance new teachers place on themes such as professional growth, stress management, sense of belonging, networking, collaboration and instructional strategies. By analyzing these themes the researchers were able to gain insight into how mentoring learning teams influenced the self-efficacy of new teachers over the course of 8 months. Information was collected and analyzed from an initial and a final questionnaire, with 48 and 34 participants respectively, and from 9 additional interviews. Results from the questions were analyzed and compared using a two tail t-test of unequal variance, while the remainder of the questions were grouped according to their themes and ranked by their order of importance. Professional growth was ranked number one, followed by teacher culture, mentoring supports, and instructional strategies. The data strongly indicated that mentoring was beneficial for the participants and that they valued networking, not feeling alone and sharing stories/experiences. Participants also reported higher feelings of confidence, lower levels of stress and an increased commitment to the profession as a result of belonging to a mentoring learning team.
Project includes as appendices the initial questionnaire, final questionnaire, and the interview questions.
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