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Peer mentoring: A professional development tool for teachers in Bhutan

Rinzin, Tshewang (2020) Peer mentoring: A professional development tool for teachers in Bhutan. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Teacher professional development is important to provide ongoing opportunities for teachers to enhance their teaching and learning practices. This study investigated ways in which peer mentoring may support the development of a professional learning community among beginning and experienced teachers in Bhutan. A social constructivist perspective framed the approach to peer mentoring which encouraged both beginning and experienced teachers to use evidence from classroom observations and engage in social interaction during the post-lesson discussions. The study used qualitative methodology to explore and understand the teachers’ authentic experiences of peer mentoring. The participants were four groups of three teachers (two beginning and one experienced) working in four different schools in Bhutan. Multiple data sources included pre-peer mentoring survey, semi-structured interviews with the teachers, observation notes maintained by the participants and researcher’s onsite observation notes. The findings confirmed that peer mentoring provided opportunities for teachers to collaborate, discuss and share new ideas with each other. In addition, observations and discussions helped teachers analyse and refine their teaching and learning practices. Initially some beginning teachers found it difficult to provide feedback to the experienced teacher in their group but over time the observation tool and collegial discussions enabled them to provide feedback. The peer mentoring enabled beginning teachers to be more confident in their practices and provided opportunity for experienced teachers to rethink their teaching and learning practices. The findings also highlighted inherent challenges related to managing classes for observations and time constraints for post-lesson discussions. For the groups that met regularly, mentoring as a school-based professional development provided opportunities to share knowledge, resources and improve collegial support. This offered possibilities for creating an effective learning environment that supported instructional development and helped in building a professional learning community.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Education
Supervisor(s): MacCallum, Judy and Maor, Dorit
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