Date of Conferral







Katherine Emmons


In a co-teaching model of student teaching, mentor teachers are presented with opportunities for professional growth because extensive collaboration occurs with the teacher candidate throughout the process. Despite the proliferation of co-teaching programs, mentor teachers often lack formal training for their role. Further, insufficient evidence fails to show how collaboration between mentor and candidate contributes to professional growth for the mentor. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine such growth in 9 mentor teachers who hosted teacher candidates during 1 semester of student teaching to determine how a co-teaching model affected mentor teachers' own teaching and mentoring skills. Professional growth was examined through Wenger's 4 components for situated learning. Research questions focused on mentor teachers' initial expectations about their roles, their identity and growth, and the application of their learning and growth when teaching. At the end of student teaching, mentor teachers participated in a series of 3 interviews based in phenomenological techniques. Their responses were coded using an inductive approach. Identified themes included mentor teacher experience, communities of practice, actions during student teaching, and mentor teachers' reflection on the role. Key findings were that all mentor teachers reported that they grew in practice, but not all developed their coaching and mentoring skills, and some focused on transmission of content and skills rather than candidate transformation. The findings of this study may influence positive social change to ensure that educator preparation assures quality and supports continuous improvement to strengthen P-12 student learning through mutually beneficial partnerships.