n Journal of Educational Studies - Redesigning the school mentoring environment for beginning mentors and head teachers in the 1+1 Initial Primary Teacher Education model in Malawi




Successful linking of theory and practice by student teachers during a practicum requires an environment conducive to mentors' and head teachers' full involvement. This study examined the factors of the school mentoring environment that facilitated or hindered beginning mentors and headteachers roles in the 1+1 Initial Primary Education model in Malawi. A total of 43 informants comprising 20 and 23 beginning mentors and headteachers respectively, who were attending a follow-up mentor training, participated in a cross-sectional mixed methods study. A census survey questionnaire was first administered and was followed by whole group discussion and a focus group discussion of 6 volunteers (3 mentors and 3 headteachers). Descriptive and content analysis were employed on quantitative and qualitative data respectively. The study found that the school mentoring environment had both enabling and constraining factors; however, there were more factors constraining than enabling. The main enabling factors were the Partnership Agreement between schools and Teacher Training College; active involvement of administration; monetary rewards and provision of initial and regular training to mentors and headteachers. The constraining factors included the lack of school culture (vision, mission, norms and standards); poor management and inadequate forms of recognition and rewards; low academic qualification of some of the mentors(5%) and headteachers (17%); use of one (mentor)-to-many (student teachers) mentoring model; heavy workload of mentors and headteachers as they had full time teaching responsibilities; ineffective mentor training; and poorly prepared student teachers for the mentoring programme. The study proposes a new school environment for mentors and headteachers,comprising a collegial school mentoring culture with a Many-to-Many mentoring model (MTMM); release time for the mentors; non-monetary reward systems; and well equipped mentors, headteachers and student teachers.


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