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  • 2021tyrerphd

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Beyond prescription, rhetoric and routine: A single-site comparative case study of the conceptualisation, enactment and development of mentoring feedback practices in post-compulsory initial teacher education

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Clare Tyrer
Publication date25/10/2021
Number of pages256
Awarding Institution
Award date18/10/2021
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In initial teacher education, mentors are generally purported to play an extensive and influential role in socialising trainee teachers into the workplace and shaping their professional development. One significant aspect of this support is the provision of regular, constructive and quality feedback on the mentee’s teaching practices yet how to do this in a time-poor, assessment-driven context is rarely made explicit.

Situated within the theoretical framework of practice architectures, this single-site comparative case study compared how mentoring feedback practices were conceptualised and realised on two post-compulsory education initial teacher training programmes. It adopted a qualitative, ethnographic insider research methodology to examine the processes, arrangements and artefacts which enabled and constrained their performance. This site ontological approach also examined the dynamic unfolding of mentoring feedback practices in time and space in relation to these institutional conditions.

In the presentation, analysis and discussion of the data, participant vignettes were used to elucidate the various ways in which feedback from mentors was perceived, valued and enmeshed in a complex web of practice relations. The findings from the research illustrated how the participants’ conceptualisations were influenced by prototypical assumptions and personal experiences of mentoring and feedback, and how these evolved during their professional development trajectories. The study also highlighted the practice architectures which facilitated and hindered the enactment of mentoring feedback practices, the development of which depended on the “stickiness” of their relationship and congruence with other organisational practices and concerns.
Implications arising from the research include a need to reconceptualise mentoring feedback to shift the focus from assessment practices to those which cultivate greater collaboration, dialogue and self-reflection. In adopting a practice sensitivity, by critically surveying and negotiating existing institutional arrangements, mentoring stakeholders are better positioned to create the requisite conditions of possibility for feedback to flourish: beyond prescription, rhetoric and routine.