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Graduate Students Successfully Mentoring Their Peers in a Graduate Studies Course
Unformatted Document Text:  enrolled as independent study students support the success of this approach for teaching research skills to graduate students. Not only did the graduate students enrolled in the course and the mentors successfully complete teacher research projects, but also the novice researchers reported that their work with the mentors was beneficial. Moreover, the mentors reported that working with the novice researchers helped them refine their teacher research skills. E. Implications for Action: Developing graduate students into researchers requires a major time requirement by teacher educators. Using graduate students as mentors incorporates a research requirement for a large number of students into what was previously strictly a theory-based course. The mentors benefit by refining their own teacher research skills and serve a crucial role in modeling the process of teacher research. Moreover, by modeling the excitement of how they have benefited from their teacher research, the mentors help to increase the self-efficacy of the novice researchers. At the same time, the mentors are a tremendous help to this instructor in managing the work load of providing guidance to the novice researchers developing and conducting their first teacher research projects. Using graduate students as mentors could become an important strategy in the professional development of other graduate students and possibly even pre-service students. This approach not only empowers the mentors as they experience success in working with their peers, it also validates the experiences of the practicing educators (both mentors and novices) as they address research questions that relate specifically to their educational context and experience success in having an impact on that context. Section II: Outcomes and Methods:A. Learner/participant outcomes: Learner/participants in this presentation will understand an approach that is being used in an educational psychology graduate studies course for teaching a class of students who are also practicing educators how to conduct teacher research in their respective school settings. Learner/participants will understand the role played by the mentors who have successfully completed teacher research projects in supporting and guiding the novice researchers. They will also consider what the data from this Scholarship of Teaching and Learning research indicates about the success of this approach. B. Methods: In the part of the session, materials describing the specifics of this approach and the results of the data collection will be presented. In the remainder of the session, learner/participants will be asked for feedback concerning possible changes in the structure of the mentor-mentee relationships as well as issues in preparing practicing teachers to conduct research. Input will be solicited for data collection techniques that would address these questions: (1) how can the particular factors perceived by educators as most challenging in conducting teacher research be identified, (2) how can data collection document that such issues are being addressed, (3) what specific characteristics of the mentor-mentee relationships facilitate learning, (4) how can the meetings between the mentors and mentees be structured to document that such factors are facilitating student learning, and (5) what is the best way to determine the impact of engaging in teacher research on subsequent attitudes and teaching practices? Learner/participants will also be asked to consider implications for extending this approach to other courses in teacher preparation and professional development. References Alderman, M. K. (2004). Motivation for achievement: possibilities for teaching and learning, (2 nd Edition). NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Babione, C., Brewer, N., & Lewellen, M. J. (2004). Partnerships used to develop curriculum alignment. ATE Conference, Dallas, TX. February 2004. 3

Authors: Lewellen, Mary Jo.
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enrolled as independent study students support the success of this approach for teaching research skills to
graduate students. Not only did the graduate students enrolled in the course and the mentors successfully
complete teacher research projects, but also the novice researchers reported that their work with the
mentors was beneficial. Moreover, the mentors reported that working with the novice researchers helped
them refine their teacher research skills.
E. Implications for Action:
Developing graduate students into researchers requires a major time requirement by teacher
educators. Using graduate students as mentors incorporates a research requirement for a large number of
students into what was previously strictly a theory-based course. The mentors benefit by refining their
own teacher research skills and serve a crucial role in modeling the process of teacher research.
Moreover, by modeling the excitement of how they have benefited from their teacher research, the
mentors help to increase the self-efficacy of the novice researchers. At the same time, the mentors are a
tremendous help to this instructor in managing the work load of providing guidance to the novice
researchers developing and conducting their first teacher research projects. Using graduate students as
mentors could become an important strategy in the professional development of other graduate students
and possibly even pre-service students. This approach not only empowers the mentors as they experience
success in working with their peers, it also validates the experiences of the practicing educators (both
mentors and novices) as they address research questions that relate specifically to their educational
context and experience success in having an impact on that context.
Section II: Outcomes and Methods:
A. Learner/participant outcomes:
Learner/participants in this presentation will understand an approach that is being used in an
educational psychology graduate studies course for teaching a class of students who are also practicing
educators how to conduct teacher research in their respective school settings. Learner/participants will
understand the role played by the mentors who have successfully completed teacher research projects in
supporting and guiding the novice researchers. They will also consider what the data from this
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning research indicates about the success of this approach.
B. Methods:
In the part of the session, materials describing the specifics of this approach and the results of the
data collection will be presented. In the remainder of the session, learner/participants will be asked for
feedback concerning possible changes in the structure of the mentor-mentee relationships as well as
issues in preparing practicing teachers to conduct research. Input will be solicited for data collection
techniques that would address these questions: (1) how can the particular factors perceived by educators
as most challenging in conducting teacher research be identified, (2) how can data collection document
that such issues are being addressed, (3) what specific characteristics of the mentor-mentee relationships
facilitate learning, (4) how can the meetings between the mentors and mentees be structured to document
that such factors are facilitating student learning, and (5) what is the best way to determine the impact of
engaging in teacher research on subsequent attitudes and teaching practices? Learner/participants will
also be asked to consider implications for extending this approach to other courses in teacher preparation
and professional development.
References
Alderman, M. K. (2004). Motivation for achievement: possibilities for teaching and learning,
(2
nd
Edition). NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Babione, C., Brewer, N., & Lewellen, M. J. (2004). Partnerships used to develop curriculum
alignment. ATE Conference, Dallas, TX. February 2004.
3


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