Learning to teach: mentoring and tutoring student teachers
Learning to teach: mentoring and tutoring student teachers

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Learning to teach: mentoring and tutoring student teachers

2.1 Mentoring relationships

The relationship between mentor and student teacher is complex and demanding (Maldrez et al., 2007). However, it is clear, from the audio you listened to in Activity 1, that it can have an impact on student teacher outcomes.

The working relationship between the student teacher and mentor needs careful consideration. The mentor must avoid patronising the student teacher and should be sensitive to their adult status. Conversations between two adults, where one is the teacher and the other the student teacher, can be uncomfortable and non-productive unless both participants feel that their contributions are valued.

This can particularly be the case if the student teacher has had previous experience of other school contexts or alternative approaches to subject pedagogy. Appreciating this and understanding what the student teacher is learning on their ITE course can provide a starting point for discussion.

As with any effective teaching, understanding where the student is coming from is important. Good mentors explore the assumptions, values and beliefs held by the student through questioning and keeping dialogue open to differences of opinion. Such questioning helps to establish a productive climate in which critical reflection and valuable learning can take place.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371