Mentoring Process for Kindergarten Beginning Teacher

by Eun Kyung Hong, Chung-Ang University, Korea, February 2004

The beginning teachers of kindergarten usually have a term of shock and hardness shifting from university students to the professional teachers. It is generally acknowledged that first year experience of the teacher shapes the identity of teachership, thus, many researches have been carried out on this area.

Mentoring carried out by the experienced mentor which supports not only for emotional but also professional parts is very important because of reducing various difficulties of the first year teachers and developing his/her abilities.

This research was carried out from the point of mentor in a mentoring process. The participants of this research were the first year teachers graduated from university working in Byeolnim kindergarten of Yangchon-ku Seoul. As a mentor reseacher, I had two or three mentoring sessions for each participants in six months. The topics and contents of mentoring were not fixed in advance, but selected in conversation with the participants and emergent situation.

The data of this research were collected through participants' observation, interview, video resources, journal writing, letters, and mentoring diary and so on.  The resources resulting from the process of action research were analyzed by narrative inquiry.

Three research questions were identified and the findings were as follows.

First, What was the process of mentoring with first year teachers?
What I found in the research was that there was a process in mentoring of topics and contents. In each step, I found the special roles of mentor and teacher, I carried out the research from the point of mentor. Each steps are called as visiting (asking for help), observating (revealing), finding (problem recognition by rethinking), teaching (finding solution), wating (application), reflection (rethinking the results of application), providing (covering) assurance (assuring). It is generally accepted that mentoring had been carryied out in eight steps, but sometimes it skips a couple of steps or assured a specific step.

Second, What was the role of mentor in mentoring ?
The professional and emotional supports for the first year teachers were the major role of mentor. Concerning the professional supports, mentor helped the teachers remember the knowledges of education, do a reflective and critical thinking, have a teacher knowledge in specific educational context, and develop their teaching practice. Concerning the emotional supports, mentor helped the first year teachers tell their problem frankly, and cared for unstable teachers.

Third, What was the change of first year teachers as the result of mentoring?
The first year teachers had been changed slowly in the process of mentoring. Especially, they had been changed in knowledge, ethics and efficiency. And changes had been noticed depending on the relationship with the mentor. First of the importance of mentoring process, the first year teachers' recognition had been changed, that is, recognized the mentor as corrector, later helper, finally important carer

Although there were some differences among two participants, we could see a synergy effect of change relating to teachers' knowledge and ethics in two participants.

At the beginning of the term , the first year teachers simply followed the experienced teachers without much thinking of teachership.  However using knowledge through the pre-service training term with critical thinking, they e had an attitude of caring ethics for children rather than compulsory ethics.

Support system would be required for the qualitative development of newly appointed teachers in kindergarten.  And also, politic and systematic supports were needed to train mentors who have professional abilities andethic qualities.