Beyond the Practical Aspects of Learning to Teach: Mentoring Teacher Candidates Toward the Diverse Needs of Students
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Mentoring teacher candidates toward practices that value culturally responsive pedagogy is essential during clinical placements, yet this aspect of learning to teach can often be eclipsed by the practical aspects of the classroom. This study seeks to understand how mentors conceptualized their role and how this influenced their practices. The analysis drew a purposeful sample of mentors who ranked planning for cultural diversity high in an initial survey; six mentors participated in a semi-structured interview conducted in their own classroom environment. Despite the purposeful sampling, the mentors’ conceptualization of their role did not reflect an overt understanding of the need to address diversity issues with teacher candidates. Development of mentor preparation and on-going support focused on intentional professional development is needed.