• Navigating the Mentoring Process in a Research-Based Teacher Development Project: A Situated Learning Perspective

      Patton, Kevin; Griffin, Linda L.; Sheehy, Deborah; Arnold, Ruth; Gallo, Anne Marie; Pagnano, Karen; Dodds, Patt; Henninger, Mary L.; James, Alisa; Bridgewater State College; et al. (2005-01-01)
      The authors examine the various communities of practice that were formed throughout a teacher development project that included a formal mentoring component. The authors describe a theoretical approach to understanding learning in communities of practice and present an approach for analyzing professional learning resulting from social interactions among project stakeholders (12 teachers, 6 project mentors, and 7 project researchers). Using a situated learning perspective, it is argued that mentoring must be studied within the contexts in which it occurs, taking into account both the individual learner (i.e., teachers, mentors, and researchers) and the physical and social systems in which the learner participates (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Putnam and Borko (2000) identified three themes central to a situated learning perspective: (a) cognition is situated in particular physical and social contexts, (b) cognition is social in nature, and (c) knowing is distributed across the individual, others, and tools. Mentoring data presented in this study come from a larger study that focused on middle school physical education programs. Specifically, the goals of the Assessment Initiative in Middle School Physical Education (AIMS-PE) teacher development project were to assist in-service teachers examination and reframing of their assessment practices, as well as to increase their students knowledge and behaviors around physical activity.