Making mentoring a meaningful continuing professional development experience

In this webinar recording, Sarah Priestley looks at key steps and effective tools to use when mentoring and supporting teachers.

About the webinar

In this webinar, Sarah Priestley looks at key steps and effective tools to use when mentoring and supporting teachers. How can you (a teacher, mentor, teacher trainer, school/department head) best guide and develop teachers you work with? What tools and techniques can you use to make it a meaningful and positive experience?  

This talk examines these questions by briefly exploring the aims of a mentor-mentee relationship and the role of the mentor. Practical advice will be shared on how to carry out and nurture this professional relationship. This will include tips on how to establish and manage it and look back on the developmental journey the teacher has made. Tools for the mentor, such as effective questioning and ways to encourage classroom research and reflection by the mentee are examined and discussed. The talk draws on the experience of a year-long mentoring project in Italy with local teachers that the speaker is managing. Content of the talk will include thoughts and feedback from these teachers, as well as the speakers’ own insights. The speaker will also refer to her personal lessons learnt gained from supporting teachers through her 14 year experience as a Cambridge CELTA and YL extension to CELTA tutor.    
By the end of the talk the audience will have a clear understanding of the key steps and some effective tools to use when mentoring and supporting a teacher. They will be able to put into practice in their own educational context the advice and practical tips gained from this talk, thus ensuring quality and success in supporting teachers in their own educational institutions and contexts.

About the speaker

Sarah Priestley’s teaching and training career has taken her to Eastern Europe, the Far East and Europe, where she currently works at the British Council Milan as Bilingual Project Coordinator Italy and teacher. Her involvement in the Bilingual Project involves mentoring Primary school teachers. A Cambridge CELTA and Young Learner tutor, she has trained both teachers working in the state sector and in ELT.

Before you watch

Think about these questions:

  1. What do you understand by the term ‘mentoring’?
  2. What would you say is the difference between coaching and mentoring?
  3. Can you think of a time when you have been mentored? What made it a successful experience for you? Were there any aspects that were less helpful to you?

Watch the webinar recording below

After you watch activities

According to the Continuing Professional Development Framework for teacher educators (page 14), the professional practice of supporting and mentoring teachers involves the following:

  • Providing advice to teachers on:

- the location of sources of information relating to teacher development
- the different developmental pathways, courses and qualifications available, including the transition from teacher to teacher educator
- the range of professional developmental activities available.

  • Demonstrating familiarity with current research into, and practice of, mentoring.
  • Assessing, and encouraging teachers to assess, their developmental needs.
  • Encouraging teachers to establish professional development objectives and long-term career goals.
  • Promoting action research, self-reflection, the recording of professional development activities and their outcomes, and action planning.
  • Responding to concerns raised by teachers.
  • Providing advice on classroom practice.
  • Organising opportunities for teachers to observe and be observed.
  • Promoting learning strategies.
  • Encouraging teachers to collaborate with colleagues in their institution.
  • Contributing to institutional programmes of induction and the integration of teachers into their professional context.
  • Encouraging teachers to share practice through participation in national and international teaching networks/forums/associations.
  • Promoting professional behaviour, respect, responsibility and identity amongst teachers.
  • Increasing teacher motivation and confidence by creating an environment of trust.
  • Assessing and encouraging teachers to assess their progress and development in relation to student attainment and their own professional satisfaction.
  • Helping teachers to reflect on their attitudes to the change process.
  • Researching, reflecting on and assessing the impact of own support and mentoring teachers. 

Assess your strengths and areas for development in mentoring and supporting teachers by looking at the list of practices above. Create an action plan for your own development as a mentor.

You can find information and practical activities for developing your mentoring skills in our article, 'Introduction to supporting and mentoring teachers'. 

Watch this webinar recording, Loraine Kennedy: Coaching and mentoring skills for ELT, for further practical activities for coaching and mentoring.

Read a related article: 'How to coach teachers'.

Research and insight

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