n South African Journal of Higher Education - Mentorship for students on teaching practice in Zimbabwe : are student teachers getting a raw deal?




Teaching practice is a very important component of any teacher-training programme. A student teacher is given the opportunity to try the art of teaching and face the real world of work before joining the profession. This study makes a closer scrutiny of mentorship, an approach currently in use by most teacher training colleges in Zimbabwe, where student teachers on teaching practice are attached to qualified and experienced teachers who work as their mentors. The study sought to : (a) find out the student teachers views on the effectiveness of the role played by their mentors in developing them to be experts in teaching; (b) determine the mentors' level of preparedness for their role of assisting and guiding students under their care to professionally grow, and (c) assess the implications for teacher education in Zimbabwe. This study used 222 student teachers who had been on a teaching practice stint and teachers who worked as mentors in 31 Zimbabwean primary schools. The study revealed that in the majority of cases student teachers showed that they had not benefited very much from mentorship. The mentors themselves appeared not to be aware of their role in mentoring student teachers attached to them. There is no doubt that experienced and qualified teachers in schools require constant and thorough workshopping to enable them to help student teachers professionally grow.


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