Voices and Practices from the Inside: Exploring What Matters to English as a Second Language (ESL) Mentor Teachers

Guzman Antelo, Mari­a del Valle, Education - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Chang-Bacon, Chris, ED-CISE, University of Virginia

This dissertation investigated how ESL mentor teachers conceptualize their work as mentors and what practices they use and value to support the development of future English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers. This qualitative case study draws on data from online semi-structured interviews with 14 ESL mentor teachers who mentor ESL pre-service teachers. Theoretically, this study relied on Vygotskyan Sociocultural theory perspective on language teacher education (Vygotsky, 1978, 1979), a Funds of Knowledge perspective (Moll et al., 1992), and a Situated Learning perspective (Lave & Wenger, 1991). The research questions that guided this study were: How do ESL mentor teachers conceptualize their work as mentors? and How do ESL mentor teachers mentor in action?
The findings in this study suggest that ESL mentoring is a process that requires time and three foundational skills: Patience, listening, and honesty to be able to support pre-service teachers in their learning-to-teach-process. During the mentoring process, mentors utilize different strategies to support their mentees. These strategies include safeguarding time before the school day, engaging in reflective dialogue, building relationships with students and colleagues, advocating for pre-service teachers, and developing specific mentoring supports that serve a dual purpose—supporting both mentees and mentors. This research contributes to and broadens the existing body of knowledge regarding pre-service teacher mentoring in the field of multilingual education.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Mentor teachers, ESL, Pre-service teachers, Bilingual education, Mentoring
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