Journal of Science Teacher Education

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 817–840 | Cite as

Mentor Advice Giving in an Alternative Certification Program for Secondary Science Teaching: Opportunities and Roadblocks in Developing a Knowledge Base for Teaching

  • Leslie Upson Bradbury
  • Thomas R. KoballaJr.


Mentoring is often an important component of alternative certification programs, yet little is known about what novices learn about science teaching through mentoring relationships. This study investigated the advice given by two mentor science teachers to their protégés. Findings indicate that mentors gave more advice related to general pedagogical knowledge than science-specific pedagogical content knowledge. Specifically, there was little to no advice related to the topics of inquiry, the nature of science, or the development of scientific literacy. Implications call for an increase in communication between university teacher education programs and school-based mentors, the development of benchmarks to help guide mentor–protégé interactions, and the importance of a multiyear induction process.


Science Teaching Science Teacher Pedagogical Content Knowledge Student Understanding Novice Teacher 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abell, S. (2006). Challenges and opportunities for field experiences in elementary science teacher preparation. In K. Appleton (Ed.), Elementary science teacher education: International perspectives on contemporary issues and practice (pp. 73–89). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  2. Abell, S. K., Dillon, D. R., Hopkins, C. J., McInerney, W. D., & O’Brien, D. G. (1995). “Somebody to count on”: Mentor/intern relationships in a beginning teacher internship program. Teaching and Teacher Education, 11, 173–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Awaya, A., McEwan, H., Heyler, D., Linsky, S., Lum, D., & Wakukawa, P. (2003). Mentoring as a journey. Teaching and Teacher Education, 19, 45–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ballantyne, R., Hansford, B., & Packer, J. (1995). Mentoring beginning teachers: A qualitative analysis of process and outcomes. Educational Review, 47, 297–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Borko, H., & Mayfield, V. (1995). The roles of the cooperating teacher and university supervisor in learning to teach. Teaching and Teacher Education, 11, 510–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Borko, H., & Putnam, R. T. (1996). Learning to teach. In D. C. Berliner & R. C. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of Educational Psychology (pp. 673–708). New York: Simon and Schuster Macmillan.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32–42.Google Scholar
  8. Carter, M., & Francis, R. (2001). Mentoring and beginning teachers’ workplace learning. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 29, 249–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chapelle, N., & Eubanks, S. (2001). Defining alternative certification and nontraditional routes to teaching: Similarities, differences, and standards of quality. Teaching and Change, 8, 307–316.Google Scholar
  10. Chesley, L. S., Wood, F. H., & Zepeda, S. J. (1997). Meeting the needs of alternatively certified teachers. Journal of Staff Development, 18(1), 28–32.Google Scholar
  11. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  12. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1988). Teachers as curriculum planners: Narratives of experience. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  13. Danielson, C. (1999). Mentoring beginning teachers: The case for mentoring. Teaching and Change, 6, 251–257.Google Scholar
  14. Dill, V. S. (1996). Alternative teacher certification. In J. Sikula (Ed.), Handbook of research on teacher education (2nd ed., pp. 932–957). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  15. Eifler, K., & Potthoff, D. E. (1998). Nontraditional teacher education students: A synthesis of the literature. Journal of Teacher Education, 49, 187–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Evertson, C. M., & Smithey, M. W. (2000). Mentoring effects on protégés’ classroom practice: An experimental field study. Journal of Educational Research, 93, 294–304.Google Scholar
  17. Feiman-Nemser, S., & Remillard, J. (1995). Perspectives on learning to teach. In F. Murray (Ed.), The teacher educators’ handbook (pp. 63–91). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  18. Feistritzer, C. E. (1994). The evolution of alternative teacher certification. The Educational Forum, 58, 132–138.Google Scholar
  19. Fenstermacher, G. D. (1990). The place of alternative certification in the education of teachers. Peabody Journal of Education, 67, 155–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Franke, A., & Dahlgren, L. O. (1996). Conceptions of mentoring: An empirical study of conceptions of mentoring during the school-based teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 12, 627–641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Graham, P. (1993). Curious positions: Reciprocity and tensions in the intern/cooperating teacher relationship. English Education, 25, 213–230.Google Scholar
  22. Gratch, A. (1998). Beginning teacher and mentor relationships. Journal of Teacher Education, 49, 220–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hargreaves, A., & Fullan, M. (2000). Mentoring in the new millennium. Theory Into Practice, 39(1), 50–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hawkey, K. (1998). Mentor pedagogy and student teacher professional development: A study of two mentoring relationships. Teaching and Teacher Education, 14, 657–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kay, R. S. (1990). A definition for developing self-reliance. In T. M. Bey & C. T. Holmes (Eds.), Mentoring: Developing successful new teachers (pp. 25–37). Reston, VA: Association of Teacher Educators.Google Scholar
  26. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Loughran, J., Mulhall, P., & Berry, A. (2004). In search of pedagogical content knowledge in science: Developing ways of articulating and documenting professional practice. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41, 370–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Magnusson, S., Krajcik, J., & Borko, H. (1999). Nature, sources, and development of pedagogical content knowledge for science teaching. In J. Gess-Newsome & N. G. Lederman (Eds.), Examining pedagogical content knowledge (pp. 95–144). Dordrect, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  29. McIntyre, D. J., Byrd, D. M., & Foxx, S. M. (1996). Field and laboratory experiences. In J. Sikula (Ed.), Handbook of research on teacher education (2nd ed., pp. 171–193). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  30. McKibbin, M., & Ray, L. (1993). A guide for alternative certification program improvement. The Educational Forum, 58, 201–208.Google Scholar
  31. Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). An expanded sourcebook: Qualitative data analysis (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  32. National Research Council. (1996). National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. (
  33. National Science Teachers Association. (2003). Standards for science teacher preparation. Retrieved June 20, 2004, from
  34. Polkinghorne, D. E. (1995). Narrative configuration in qualitative analysis. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 8, 5–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rogoff, B. (1990). Apprenticeship in thinking: Cognitive development in social context. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4–14.Google Scholar
  37. Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1), 1–22.Google Scholar
  38. Spradley, J. P. (1980). Participant observation. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.Google Scholar
  39. Stanulis, R. N. (1994). Fading to a whisper: One mentor’s story of sharing her wisdom without telling answers. Journal of Teacher Education, 45, 31–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Strong, W., & Baron, W. (2004). An analysis of mentoring conversations with beginning teachers: Suggestions and responses. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20, 47–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Van Driel, J. H., Verloop, N., & de Vos, W. (1998). Developing science teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 35, 673–695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wang, J. (2001). Contexts of mentoring and opportunities for learning to teach: A comparative study of mentoring practice. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17(1), 51–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EducationAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  2. 2.College of EducationUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

Personalised recommendations