Exploring a framework for the mentoring of early career teachers in Catholic schools in Western Australia
Topliss, J. (2020). Exploring a framework for the mentoring of early career teachers in Catholic schools in Western Australia. Journal of Philosophy in Schools, 7 (1), 101-131.
The basis for the paper ‘Exploring a Framework for the Mentoring of Early Career Teachers in Catholic Schools in Western Australia’ stems from the work undertaken in the author’s recently published PhD study (Topliss 2017) and on personal experiences of teaching philosophy to students as a classroom teacher, gifted and talented coordinator and School leader for over 28 years. The mixed methods study identified and explored the mentoring experiences in the transition from graduate to Early Career Teacher (ECT) in selected Catholic primary and secondary schools in Western Australia. The research addressed a significant deficit, as presently the lack of a system-wide framework for the mentoring of ECTs, the cessation of the current ECT program and the limited training of mentors, has resulted in less than ideal mentoring experiences for ECTs. A chief finding was that the guarantee of a mentor does not necessarily alleviate every problem faced by an ECT. However, the attributes of a mentor may significantly assist or hinder the aspirations of an ECT. Encouragingly, the majority of principals recognised the importance of mentoring by offering support for the instigation of a system-wide mentoring framework. On the basis of these findings, principles upon which a new mentoring framework might be developed are proposed. The suggested system frame-work for Western Australian Catholic Education, titled ‘Borromeo’s Mentoring Framework’, may benefit system-leaders, principals, mentors and ECTs through the implementation of programs at a school based level, that enhance critical thinking skills i.e. Philosophy for Children (P4C) and Circle of Inquiry (CoI).
Catholic education, early career teachers, leadership, mentoring, philosophy