Mentoring School Teachers

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This course is aimed at in-service teachers who are involved with the education of pre-service (or novice) teachers.

This course is made available free of charge.

It is not credit-bearing and does not result in a qualification.
​Contact information

Prof Sarah Gravett
University of Johannesburg

Lect Ari Myllyviita
University of Helsinki


Teacher education is often criticised for not preparing student teachers well enough for the complex world of teaching. To address this perceived shortfall, critics often maintain that student teachers should spend more time in schools. They argue that more time in schools will inevitably result in student teachers’ being better prepared for the demands of teaching.

This view is based on the assumption that student teachers will learn from experience, so more experience will lead to more learning. However, the eminent education scholar, John Dewey, cautioned as early as the 1930s that experience is not necessarily educative. In fact, experience can be miseducative. Practising teachers are not necessarily good role models. Exposing student teachers to poor or mediocre examples of teaching is likely to entrench inadequate or unsuitable pedagogies and poor professional habits.

So – is school practicum not important? To the contrary. Student teachers can learn much about pedagogical skills and classroom management through purposefully observing expert teachers at work. Mentoring by such teachers can be life-changing. Research worldwide attests that successful teacher education programmes are characterised by the integration ofknowledge for teaching (usually associated with coursework) with knowledge of teaching(usually associated with school practicum). Thus – powerful teacher education requires a partnership between schools and universities, both being critical sites for student teacher learning.

View the full course here



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The development of this course was part of the “Strengthening Foundation Phase Teacher Education Programme”, a component of the EU-SA Primary Education Policy Support Programme.

The contents of the course do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Department of Higher Education and Training or the European Union.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Colaboration between – University of Johannesburg & University of Helsinki