Teacher-Centered Mentorship as Meaningful Professional Development

  • Laura Lackner Saylor Mount St. Joseph University
  • Ginger McKenzie Xavier University
  • Cathy Cebulski Sacco Xavier University
Keywords: professional development, mindfulness, reflective practice, clinical supervision

Abstract

A real-time, multidimensional, professional-development program that is connected to both practice and school culture was delivered to a group of Montessori teachers with the goal of improving teaching practices and increasing student success by exploring the potential benefits of mindfulness, structured reflective practice, and teacher-centered mentorship (i.e., clinical supervision), A case study of each participant and of the cocreated professional-development learning communities revealed that the program supported teacher growth and efficacy. Four themes emerged from participants’ experiences: the importance of mindfulness as a precursor to reflection and mentorship, the creation of communities of trust, the benefits of structure and focus, and the role of supportive accountability in improved practices. The study provides preliminary evidence for the use of multidimensional and teacher-centered professional-development programs to improve teaching practices. The research study has implications for administrators, teachers, and future research.

Author Biography

Laura Lackner Saylor, Mount St. Joseph University
Dr. Laura Saylor is an assistant professor in the School of Education. She earned her Ph.D. in Education Studies from The University of Cincinnati. Previously, she earned her Master of Education from Xavier University with a concentration in Montessori Education.
Her 25 years of practical experience include teaching in inclusive and multi-age settings and serving as the Head of School for an independent Montessori school. Her research foci include reflective practices for educators as well as the effective preparation of early childhood teachers.  Dr. Saylor’s interests also extend to best practices in mathematics and science education.  Her teaching expertise includes educational assessment, math and science teaching methods, and collaborative work in education.

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Published
2018-11-13