School-based Teacher Training: A Handbook for Tutors and Mentors

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Don't worry though, we will help you get to the right place Please contact the Digital Team with an explanation of the problem and a short description of the page you were expecting to access: Email Us. Home Page Visit now. View our Courses Visit now. Fees and Funding Visit now. Undergraduate Study Visit now. Postgraduate Study Visit now. International Students Visit now. Our Research Visit now. Business Services Visit now. Our Alumni Visit now. Open Days Visit now. Latest News and Features. Social Twitter. Tweets by northumbriauni. While it is intended to be useful for all those involved in staff development in schools, there is a focus on experienced teachers moving into the role of supporting and mentoring recently qualified teachers.

Looks extremely useful! This book is not available as an inspection copy. Hosting more than 4, titles, it includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more. The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source. Skip to main content. Mentoring is the key to this and, as shown in several educational contexts worldwide, can lead to a better induction into the profession while providing support, also through research, to teachers and schools.

Over the years, faculty staf members have become increasingly more convinced of the professional beneits that can be derived when carefully selected and trained practitioners in schools mentor ITE students during ield placements. Important developments outside the Faculty have also paved the way for the eventual introduction of school-based mentoring. Suice it to mention the declared support, at least in principle, by a number of key stakeholders outside the Faculty who operate in the ield of education. Put diferently, the indications are that the local context, in the widest sense of the word, is now ready for the development and implementation of a sustainable school-based mentoring system that is tailored to address the professional learning needs of faculty students enrolled in ITE studies.

In the local educational context, for instance, one cannot imagine the mentoring of ITE students in an environment that is not characterised by collaboration and partnerships between the Faculty and schools. It is also imperative that there is alignment across the visions and educational practices of key players in pre-service teacher education, including those of the Faculty and schools.

According to ongoing plans, school-based mentoring is expected to be a central feature of the MTL programme, which is scheduled to be launched in October During this phase, which will take place during the scholastic year, a number of faculty teaching areas will explore the implementation of mentoring in schools with some of their current ITE students. Each area will use a teacher mentor model of its choice, which will need however to satisfy a number of basic conditions laid down by the Faculty. It is hoped that this phase will help the Faculty to understand better how school-based mentoring can be implemented, in an efective manner, in the following years as part of MTL.

Although in this book we provide some indications of the mentoring path trodden by the Faculty, it is not our intention to come up with a historically- driven account. Some of these eforts, especially those in the early years, were indeed made when the existent local context was far less favourable to mentoring than it is today. It seeks to act in fact as a vehicle of relection and guidance at a time when the Faculty and its partners, the schools in particular, are about to embark on the exploratory phase of school-based mentoring.

Given this orientation, the readers that we have in mind are individuals who are interested in mentoring, especially in school-based mentoring as part of ITE studies within an educational context, such as the one in Malta, which is still warming up to the idea. We also think that, ideally, while the readers are persons who enjoy engaging with complex educational issues linked to mentoring, they are equally intrigued by the practicalities of real-life educational initiatives that aim to realise a mentoring vision by providing a doable and sustainable structure.

We now turn our attention to the contents of our book. We choose to highlight here the more salient features of the publication, rather than present a sequential rendition of what the reader can expect in each of its ten chapters. To begin with, knowing that mentoring can mean a variety of things — depending on the context it is being implemented in, its scope, and the actors involved — the reader is made aware of the meaning attached to mentoring in this publication. We also link this initial phase of teacher education with the induction period which follows when teachers initiate their careers in schools, and the continuing professional development of teachers in service.

It is being recognised that professional teacher learning needs to be regarded as a continuum, and that diversiied forms and spaces for learning need to be in place to support the increasingly challenging tasks which teachers are being asked to take. It is worth noting here that the teachers, who mentored student-teachers as part of their participation in some of these studies, report that they have beneited professionally from such an experience and that mentoring student-teachers was also an opportunity for them to relect on their own practice.

It outlines in fact a number of possible roles and responsibilities which the four primary actors — that is, teacher mentors, student-teachers, TP tutors and school leaders — are being encouraged to consider when school-based mentoring is implemented during the exploratory phase. It problematises school-based mentoring in order to raise awareness, given our backgrounds and experiences, of potential scenarios which can facilitate or hinder the implementation of mentoring, and to sensitise readers to the systematic eforts which need to be in place for this to work.

Moreover, this book suggests that the way schools regard teaching practice, both on a logistical level when it comes to placing student-teachers in a class and the quantity and quality of support that they provide, needs to evolve.

The Role of the University Liaison Tutor

It is possible for schools to take on this role since there are many potential mentors based in schools — basically practitioners who apart from having acquired a deep understanding of and commitment to their profession, have what it takes to guide student-teachers to become more capable and independent in their role as teachers. It is argued that these mentors can also be instrumental, through the professional conversations they hold with their mentees, in helping student-teachers become critical and relective in the processes they experience while they are teaching, or while observing teaching and learning taking place.

Considerations on how this new role, and ensuing responsibilities, can start taking shape are also raised. Finally, this book is also intended to serve as a platform to encourage discussion on school-based mentoring. Within the Faculty itself, part of this discussion revolved around the need for mentoring, which model this mentoring approach should follow, and the shape it should take.

It may also be opportune to keep referring to the mentoring spirit identiied in the more theoretical parts of this publication when the Faculty and its partners decide which mentoring model to adopt for the MTL programme, in view of the lessons learnt during the exploratory phase. As one would expect, however, a number of models of mentoring have surfaced over the years.

On the contrary, they are good and committed practitioners who cherish lifelong professional learning and have mastered the skill of how to go about it. For instance, the mentor should be someone who can listen and show empathy, is altruistic, discreet and non- judgemental, and also able to motivate others to continue along the journey as they face the multiple challenges of being a teacher see Smith On the other hand, although mentees are usually assumed to be either prospective teachers enrolled in an initial teacher education ITE programme or newly qualiied teachers NQTs , they can also be experienced teachers pursuing their own professional development see Smith ; van Lakerveld and Fischer Although there are numerous deinitions and forms of mentoring see Ambrosetti and Dekkers , local eforts in support of introducing mentoring in pre-service teacher education have always seen this innovation as a school- based initiative that is part of an ITE programme in higher education HE.

Put diferently, mentoring provides trainee teachers with access to professional knowledge during professional practice and sets them forth on a journey that empowers them to make personal adaptations to and renewal of that knowledge Tillema, van der Westhuizen and van der Merwe In recent years, mentoring has indeed become more prominent in pre-service teacher education across the globe Ambrosetti and Dekkers ; Hobson and Malderez Moreover, there is the increasing awareness that to practise as mentor one needs to undergo formal and informal professional training.

Building on the argument that mentoring trainee teachers or novice or experienced colleagues, for that matter is a diferent professional activity from teaching class students, some even suggest that mentoring should be seen as an independent profession within the teaching profession see Smith Ed Hons route into teaching has three specialisations: early childhood education and care ECEC ; primary; and secondary.

In both ITE programmes, however, these expectations are not supported by a formal mentoring component. Over the years, there have been internal pleas to address this imbalance e. For instance, way back during the academic year, Professor Mary Darmanin co-ordinated a seminal school-based mentoring project that brought together foreign experts, faculty staf and students, key oicials from what was known then as the Department of Education, and heads of school.

On the contrary, the case was made for the creation of partnerships, primarily between the Faculty and schools, which would serve to bring together the diferent knowledges, both equally valid, that teacher training at university and schools have to ofer. In such a scenario, the much- needed bridging between the worlds of theory and practice is likely to sufer.

Indeed, this bridging tends either to be let in the inexperienced hands of trainee teachers, or to rely on professional support interventions by dedicated and committed personnel in schools, or else to depend on fragmented eforts by individual teacher educators who operate within an ITE environment that is not always suiciently supportive. Contrary to what is oten claimed by interested providers of professional development programmes, the knowledge, skills and dispositions that make up university courses do not necessarily transfer to the workplace in an efective manner see Scott et al.

And schools, on their part, are known to complain that student teachers oten do not have the necessary knowledge, skills and dispositions to cope with the ever more complex teaching demands of today. Buhagiar et al. Some argue in fact that all action is an expression of theory, which can however be of a highly personal and implicit nature Griiths and Tann In the case of ITE students, it is the responsibility of the Faculty in partnership with schools to create the space and environment that would permit them to build bridges and overlaps between these two worlds see Zeichner CHAPTER 3 Current ield placement practices he Faculty of Education was established in within the University of Malta with the main responsibility of providing pre-service training for all prospective teachers in Malta.

For while the speciic details of the experience of student-teachers in schools have somewhat changed and evolved over the years, the substance has not. In both the B. Ed Hons and PGCE programmes, the ield placement is considered to be an essential ITE component from which student-teachers are expected t o acquire key skills and competencies in teaching and learning, and in the process become reflective practitioners as they try to link theory and practice see Sultana ; Bezzina and Camilleri Moreover, given that proper professional development structures are oten lacking in schools, one may say that in-house support for student-teachers depends, almost exclusively, on the good will of individual teachers and school leaders.

Student-teachers, however, do get a number of visits by faculty-appointed TP tutors, who need not be faculty staf, which increase gradually in quantity as their ITE studies progress. During these visits, tutors are expected to assist students by ofering verbal and written feedback and advice see Teaching Practice Handbook Beyond these formalities, TP tutors are also known to ofer additional support to ITE students under their charge. Some, for instance, organise regular meetings at university, ater school hours, that are meant to help student-teachers relect critically on their teaching and school experiences more generally within a supportive learning community of ITE students.

In the case of primary and secondary B. Ed Hons programme is assessed by marks and grades that contribute to the inal classiication of their degree. Faculty members of staf in favour of grading refer to the University Assessment Regulations which stress the summative dimension of assessment without making any direct reference to its formative dimension.

For some of them, however, their support for grading is possibly more a relection of the traditional university assessment context in which they operate than a matter of personal conviction see Chetcuti and Buhagiar On the other hand, those who favour a non-grading system base their arguments on viewing the practicum as a formative learning experience for trainee teachers that is characterised by an emphasis on professional growth rather than judgements and rankings.

In spite of the rather restrictive university regulations, this faction appears to be interested in creating the space for forms of assessment that promote learning. We say this in the knowledge, however, that the skills nurtured in this phase — particularly those linked to versatility, spontaneity, critical examination and experimental use of ideas — can help them cope in varied scenarios. Notwithstanding this, in many countries, the roles and functioning of schools are evolving, together with what is being expected of teachers.

While international evidence see, for instance, Vaillant and Manso conirms the beneits of adopting a continuum approach to teacher education by aligning ITE, induction and continuing professional development CPD , it is now widely accepted that mentoring can play a central role in each of these three phases see Smith In parallel with the mentoring projects referred to in chapter 2, faculty staf have long discussed and relected on the feasibility of introducing some form of mentoring as part of ITE studies.

In April , moreover, in preparation for the launch of the mentoring pilot project co-ordinated by Professor Mary Darmanin, Professors John Furlong and Trisha Maynard were brought to Malta to train faculty staf and other interested stakeholders Azzopardi and Bonnici Along this process, an increasing number of faculty staf members began to value the learning potential of mentoring within an ITE setting.

For instance, for Buhagiar and Chetcuti this journey began when they identiied four main concerns linked to the quality of the educational experiences of B. As can be noted, the above concerns do not refer solely to the quality of the training provisions for prospective teachers. Indeed, there are also equally problematic ethical and entitlement considerations linked to the tradition, which practically has been discarded worldwide, of creating long-term learning environments during practicum periods that are not properly supervised by qualiied teachers. A few schools, however, do seek to address these concerns by insisting that the class teacher remains in class for the duration of TP, leaving class only when TP tutors visit.

It follows that when student-teachers observe their mentor teach, they are very likely to observe good practice. Moreover, as pointed out by Helleve, Danielsen and Smith , the very act of mentoring tends to stimulate self-relection in teachers irrespective of whether or not they have been trained speciically for the role. Mentoring thus ofers student-teachers the chance to initiate their journey of becoming relective practitioners within a school-based professional learning community PLC.

But the Faculty is not only working for the introduction of mentoring for the sake of its ITE students. CPD embraces the idea that individuals aim for continuous improvement in their professional skills and knowledge, beyond the basic training they may have initially received to carry out the job. In view of this, teachers are now increasingly seen to be responsible for their career development within the school in which they teach see Gray Attard Tonna and Calleja , hese INSET experiences, which are oten perceived as not grounded in the lives of practitioners see Attard Tonna and Calleja , form the backbone of ongoing professional development provision for teachers that are regulated by successive collective agreements between the Malta Union of Teachers MUT and the Maltese Government.

Teachers in independent schools are not bound by this agreement, but may elect to attend in-service training organised by the directorates. A number of church and independent schools organise their own INSET courses, directed to the speciic needs of their staf. For some teachers, INSET and the obligatory professional development sessions are the only professional learning experiences they engage in throughout the year.

Although teachers are free to engage in other professional development opportunities once they satisfy their own INSET obligations, it is not always possible for them to be released from their teaching duties and to attend seminars and courses held during the scholastic year see Attard Tonna Contrary to the nature of the bulk of CPD provision in Malta, Darling- Hammond and McLaughlin make the case for professional development activities to be sustained, ongoing and include participant-driven inquiry, relection and experimentation.

Although teachers are clearly expected to participate in CPD, the efectiveness of such programmes remains a contentious issue. Still, it is oten understood that for CPD to impact at the teacher, school or student levels, the necessary school conditions that support professional learning have to be in place see Attard Tonna Developing in not enough. Educators must be knowledgeable and wise. In other words, as teachers intervene in complex and diicult educational situations, they have the chance to engage in a highly contextualised form of inquiry that not only allows them to learn about teaching, but also to act on the basis of acquired knowledge.

Mentoring can make a valid contribution here on two levels: self-relection and learning from mentees Helleve, Danielsen and Smith Alternatively, teacher mentors may present student- teachers with their own problems of practice and see what possible solutions they can come up with. With student-teachers constantly searching for new strategies themselves, they may well have valuable insights on how to deal with issues that arise in the classroom Larkin Even though mentoring can ofer teachers varied opportunities for professional growth, it still cannot be seen as a panacea to all the problems commonly associated with CPD scenarios.

In reality, while research shows that mentoring has a positive impact on the professional and personal development of teacher mentors Hudson , one should also keep in mind that …mentoring in itself does not lead to professional learning and development. Finally, the whole idea of having mentoring linked to professional learning and development will falter unless trainee teachers comprehend and appreciate what mentoring can do for them in a way that they willingly and genuinely open up to the process.

Otherwise, teacher mentors will ind it diicult to engage with proit in the two activities that can render mentoring a form of CPD for teachers, namely self-relection and learning from mentees see Helleve, Danielsen and Smith Although a number of local studies have explored the idea of implementing mentoring during ITE, to the best of our knowledge, only Buhagiar and Chetcuti , Farrugia and a faculty pilot project spearheaded by Professor Mary Darmanin in see Azzopardi and Bonnici have actually incorporated a school-based mentoring component in their research designs.

While it cannot be said that these studies adhered exactly to the considerations identiied above for efective CPD for mentors e. For instance, in the Buhagiar and Chetcuti and Farrugia studies, in line with the indications highlighted by Helleve, Danielsen and Smith , teacher mentors reported increased engagement in self-relection and learning from their interactions with student-teachers. I think that one can only gain from such an experience because it makes you question your methods.

We tend to assume that the methods we choose are the best ones, especially ater many years of teaching, but this is not always the case. Secondly, I learned a lot from the discussions I had with the student- teacher. In fact, there were days when we both ended up searching for more information on a particular topic and then sharing our indings. Other than positively inluencing the CPD of individual teachers, mentoring can also impact the wider school community Hobson et al. Particularly in schools characterised by professional collaboration and exchanges, mentors can serve as change agents and can gradually impact on the quality improvement processes at school.

Indeed, properly trained mentors have the potential to assume responsibility for the professional development of colleagues because they know how and why it is important to challenge oneself through self- relection Helleve, Danielsen and Smith Mentoring also ofers veteran teachers professional replenishment and produces teacher leaders with the skills and passion to make lifelong teacher development central to school culture Moir and Bloom It also helps to strengthen teacher retention and pedagogical innovation see Feiman-Nemser Beyond the actual practices, it is about bringing change in individuals and institutions linked to the preparation and development of teachers in Malta.

Put diferently, it is essential that these people, all of whom are vital to the successful implementation of the innovation, agree with the change and share the resolve to pursue the courses of action that are needed to implement the change see Weiner Starting with the Faculty, it is evident that the drive to introduce some form of mentoring as part of ITE studies goes back a long way.

Indeed, the irst recorded instance, at least to our knowledge, is the mentoring programme that was piloted successfully in a number of primary schools during the academic year see chapter 2. Some schools in the non-state sector are also known to ofer professional support for their beginning teachers.

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As part of achieving this vision, the WG also planned to explore the introduction of mentoring in schools with B. To the best of our knowledge, however, written documentation exists only in the case of three research projects by faculty staf i. Ed Hons students, TP tutors and teachers in primary and secondary schools. Data was collected through questionnaires administered to all participants and follow-up interviews with some of them.

Main indings related to readiness for change: he study provides a clear indication that B.

UCAS Teacher Training interviews

Ed Hons students, TP tutors and teachers seem to agree that the expertise of teachers and tutors complement each other in the supervision of student-teachers during TP. Seeing mentoring as a most positive development in ITE, these participants also made the case that trainee teachers are likely to learn more from their ield placement experience when there is a partnership among the three actors that would be involved — that is, the student-teachers, teacher mentors and TP tutors. Ed Hons primary students, mentors who were either teachers or school leaders and TP tutors.

Data was collected from all participants through a survey. In addition, mentors and TP tutors attended a follow- up meeting. Main indings related to readiness for change: he B. Ed Hons primary students, the mentors and TP tutors all concurred that their experience in the mentoring pilot project had been a positive one.

In particular, the student-teachers commented how helpful they had found the general advice and teaching strategies received from their mentors. It was also claimed that participation in mentoring helps school leaders get closer to classroom realities. Along similar lines, the TP tutors reported feeling enriched by the experience. Study 3: Buhagiar and chetcuti explored the introduction of a school-based mentoring system in the SForD-TP project.

Data was collected through classroom observations and self-reports based on a pre-set template that were followed by one-to-one meetings. Main indings related to readiness for change: All the participants reported that, based on their experience in the project, they would recommend the introduction of mentoring during ITE studies. Apparently feeling this appreciation, the mentors reported a high level of satisfaction in the knowledge that they had helped trainee teachers to develop professionally. Concurring that it was a professional learning experience for them, the mentors also agreed that they would mentor other student-teachers should the occasion arise.

Study 4: Spiteri investigated how trainee teachers view the idea of being mentored by school subject teachers. Main indings related to readiness for change: he response of the English PGCE students to the notion of being mentored was overwhelmingly positive. According to international studies, student-teachers, mentors and TP tutors need to collaborate closely if the introduction of mentoring as part of an ITE programme is to be a success see Cohen, Hoz and Kaplan Chetcuti et al.

Some school leaders indeed claimed that this was already happening in their schools.


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Analogous pro-mentoring sentiments were also expressed during similar meetings with directors of education, education oicers and faculty visiting lecturers see Chetcuti et al. Moreover, meetings with policy makers and union leaders have always indicated that there is a growing consensus, at least in principle, in favour of the introduction of school-based mentoring in support of ITE students.

Notwithstanding the welcome positivity of all these readiness indicators, there are still individuals from across the diferent spheres linked to this innovation who have lagged genuine concerns that require careful consideration and remedial action see chapter 7. Paying attention to these concerns is likely to ensure greater acceptance and commitment by key stakeholders as the Faculty prepares for what may also be viewed as the formalisation and consolidation of the many instances of good mentoring practices that already exist. One needs to keep in mind that the ultimate success of the institutionalisation of mentoring cannot be guaranteed by people who feel either coerced or obliged to take part: instead, it will depend on people who actually want to participate because they value the change see Herscovitch and Meyer In line with other professional degree programmes, MTL will exist in what Scott et al.

In this way of seeing things, theory is not restricted to university and practice is not restricted to schools. On the contrary, the blurring of boundaries between the Faculty and schools paves the way for shared responsibilities for learning, covering all its facets and complexities.

In such a scenario, it is hoped that the practice of faculty staf working with student-teachers in schools becomes the norm. As part of inviting schools to align, in a better way, their role during ITE studies with the current understanding that they should engage directly in the formation of future teachers see Korthagen, Loughran and Russell , the MTL programme foresees the introduction of school-based mentoring. However, in some other schools and with some other teachers, the mandatory inclusion of school-based mentoring as part of ITE studies will hopefully serve to shit the manner in which they interact with student-teachers and the manner in which they contribute to the professional learning of student- teachers.

It is worth noting that the introduction of mentoring is being proposed within a redeined logistical structure that is characterised by a much greater presence of trainee teachers in schools throughout their ITE studies. A more radical proposal, however, is that the MTL programme will require its students to spend two days per week on of- campus activities for the whole duration of the two-year course, most of which are planned to be based in schools.

It is needless to say, however, that although the Faculty is moving ahead with its plans for the MTL curriculum, including the setting up of an adequate mentoring programme, the implementation of these plans will also depend on logistical considerations as well as the degree of participation of key individuals, including faculty staf and practitioners in schools.

Particularly pertinent here is the understanding that the implementation of a programme beneits when relationships among stakeholders are non-hierarchical and characterised by collaboration, shared decision-making, mutual trust, open communication and eforts to reach consensus see Durlak and DuPre Crucial here is the need to develop the legal and administrative structures that will permit the implementation of school-based mentoring and also create a congenial environment for it to lourish. Moreover, in recognition of the services rendered by teachers and schools to ITE studies, the university will need to consider ways of how to ofer some form of adequate compensation.

A priority in the coming months will be to create the ield placement tools, as mentoring is planned to occur beyond the strict TP period, and to develop and run training programmes for the various actors involved in mentoring i. Among other things, this training should serve to align the manner in which the Faculty and these actors, especially mentors see Hawkey , view mentoring in ITE and the roles attributed to the actors. With regards to the actual implementation, the indications are that while the Faculty should keep aiming to eventually reach its mentoring vision, the journey will need to be lexible and planned along small, doable steps that respect the strengths and limitations of the various teaching areas of the MTL programme.

To address this new reality, education authorities and schools will need to invest more in the support that they currently ofer to NQTs. For sure, TP tutors will now be required to collaborate more closely with schools, especially the mentors. On the contrary, it is the knowledge that schools have so much to ofer to the education of trainee teachers that is driving this change see Korthagen, Loughran and Russell In practical terms, schools are being asked to become professional learning centres in addition to remaining places of practice for trainee teachers.


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It is therefore fundamental that schools not only understand what is being expected of them, but also agree to assume these responsibilities. What is at stake here is an improved ITE experience for prospective teachers and additional opportunities for schools and teachers to grow professionally see chapter 4.

However, this win-win situation cannot just happen. Moreover, a genuine dialogue will need to be established with the Faculty in order to arrive at a shared understanding of what the MTL programme in general, and mentoring in particular, is trying to achieve and how. Becoming a mentor, in other words, cannot be viewed as a natural career progression for all teachers or as part of the duties of SMTs in schools. With the launch of the MTL programme, ITE students will be spending much more time in schools than at present and they are expected to be mentored throughout these periods see chapter 6.

Consequently, the work in schools with the new breed of student-teachers will be arguably much more demanding than is currently the case with B.

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One cannot expect mentors and faculty staf to carry on as usual when their work is anticipated to increase both in quality and quantity. In this scenario, keeping in mind that mentoring will boost the quality of both ITE and CPD provision see chapter 4 , one would expect the unions representing these two sets of professionals to support the innovation. Over the intervening months, the Faculty and its partners will therefore do well to promote the notion of mentoring among all interested parties and create adequate tools and structures that will facilitate, rather than hinder, the implementation of mentoring.

Moreover, keeping the local context in mind with all its pluses and minuses, systematic eforts are needed to shed light on what is likely to work or not within the parameters of the MTL programme.