Research Topic

Mentoring and Crossing the Theory/Practice Divide

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About this Research Topic

We all know how “theory drives practice,” the existence of “the gap between theory and practice,” and how urgent it is to address “the need for a bridge between theory and practice.” These expressions are used so often that they are no longer questioned or unpacked; as a result these key components in teacher ...

We all know how “theory drives practice,” the existence of “the gap between theory and practice,” and how urgent it is to address “the need for a bridge between theory and practice.” These expressions are used so often that they are no longer questioned or unpacked; as a result these key components in teacher education development and related research on teacher education are simply taken for granted. It is tempting to believe that (just more) research on teacher education fills the theory practice gap and ameliorates the situation. Instead, we must sharpen our view of the practice of teacher education/teacher learning and teacher development.

Mentoring has long been seen as a key process to promote professional knowledge at the workplace. Typically, preservice teachers (PST) learn their profession under their mentor teachers’ (MT) guidance. MTs give PST the opportunity to observe context-based lessons and practice their own teaching while being supervised. Is this enough to develop the type of teachers that society needs in this rapidly changing era?

The focus of this Research Topic is to throw light on different ways of promoting high quality, sustainable mentoring in educational contexts. This Topic aims to unpack some of the complexities inherent in the process of mentoring in teacher education and to further our understanding of the powerful knowledge domains that are open to teachers and teacher educators. In sum, we seek to reimagine new ways of shaping teacher education that allows for multiple perspectives to be heard and to see how theory and practice in dialectic relationship can allow for transformative dialogue within a community of scholars.

Mentoring in teacher education has been defined in numerous ways and can be seen to facilitate the growth and development of specific competencies in novice and experienced teachers. The power of good mentoring should never be underestimated; mentors can be role models, acculturators and supporters, and at the heart of the mentoring process is professional collaboration that is long-term, reciprocal and mutually beneficial. We are keen to explore how mentoring occurs in different knowledge domains, but not restricted to the typical learning contexts of universities and schools. For example, a crucial knowledge domain that is often overlooked in teacher education is the community, or third space. There is increasing evidence that the expertise possessed by community members positions them as mentors or co-creators of knowledge alongside school teachers and teacher educators. This Research Topic looks forward to receiving quality contributions on reimagining what mentoring might look like on today’s teacher education landscape.


Keywords: Mentoring, Teacher Education, Competencies, Theory and Practice, Collaboration


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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