This paper reports findings from a study of the work of ‘external mentors’ associated with three programmes of support for the professional learning and development (PLD) of secondary science teachers in England. Focusing on outcomes from analyses of data derived from interviews with 47 mentees and 19 mentors, the paper supports and extends existing research on the construction and maintenance of fabrications in schools, and identifies omissions in the evidence base relating to teacher PLD. It is argued that the kinds of fabrications revealed by the teachers interviewed for this research present a serious impediment to their opportunities for school-based PLD, and that the deployment of external mentors (i.e. those not based in the same schools as the teachers they support) can provide a potentially powerful antidote to this. A number of implications for policy and practice in teacher professional learning and development are discussed. Amongst these, it is argued that more teachers should have the opportunity to access external support for their PLD, and that policy makers and head teachers should seek to reduce the degree to which teachers’ ‘performance’ is observed, inspected and assessed.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Oxford Review of Education 2013, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/03054985.2013.808618
- teacher professional learning and development
- external mentor