The National Music Teacher Mentoring Program adopts a collaborative self-development approach to mentoring, pairing an experienced music teacher with a teacher less experienced in the teaching of music.
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring can be defined as a positive and supportive facilitation of learning and development where a knowledgeable, experienced and highly effective teacher works alongside a less experienced teacher or one who is new to that field.
Mentoring has long been recognised as a powerful tool in the ongoing professional development of teachers. Mentoring is clearly valued by both beginning teachers as well as more experienced teachers wanting to develop knowledge and skills in a particular area of their teaching practice.
Mentors are highly effective experienced and knowledgeable teachers who work with early career or less-experienced teachers. Mentors focus on developing teacher knowledge and skills to improve student outcomes.
Mentors work alongside teachers to facilitate the acquisition and development of skills in-situ.
Mentoring typically occurs frequently and over an extended period of time, where the program can be developed to cater for the initial and emerging goals of the participating teacher.
Mentoring in the NMTMP
Mentoring in the National Music Teacher Mentoring Program draws upon both ‘support’ and ‘collaborative self-development’ models of mentoring. Mentors and participating teachers report that the NMTMP recognises the model as a powerful professional development for teachers and a career highlight for mentors.
Given the diversity of student and teacher needs, the NMTMP is non-prescriptive in terms of content and delivery. Mentors work with participating teachers to set and track teacher development against goals negotiated in collaboration with one another. In doing so, the program builds teacher confidence, skills and practice in delivering valuable music experiences for students to achieve curricula outcomes.
In many cases, participating teachers go on to support the professional learning of their colleagues in their school or become a mentor in the NMTMP, thus creating a cascading model of mentoring.
Mentors are seen as professional equals with participating teachers, and the program leads to mutual professional and personal growth.