To Thrive and Flourish: Supporting Beginning Teachers Through an Induction-by-Mentoring Approach in Rural Saskatchewan

Researchers: Lynn Lemisko, Laurie-ann M. Hellsten, and Carol Demchuk-Kosolofski
March 2017

The overall objective of this research was to examine, in the context of rural Saskatchewan, the key components of an effective and sustainable mentorship approach that helps beginning teachers thrive and flourish. To address this objective we studied the implementation of a particular mentorship model where the beginning teachers’ classrooms were the central focus, with regularly scheduled classroom visits by mentors who provided structure, continuity, relationship building, and professional development opportunities. Participants in this study included five mentor and mentee pairs who were matched based on proximity and, in most cases, on common grade or division levels taught. Mentors were provided with orientation training in a variety of mentorship skills and were provided with funds to cover release time from their own classrooms in order to visit their mentees’ schools and classrooms for one full day or two half days per month. Findings provide important insights into the value and benefits of a mentorship program for both mentees and mentors and the data suggests some key ingredients necessary for an effective mentorship program. 

This study demonstrates both the challenges and benefits of our induction-by-mentorship model. The recommendations we offer, based on this study, indicate ways in which induction-by-mentorship approaches might be strengthened, particularly in the Saskatchewan context. Overall, however, this study demonstrates that mentorship is a promising and effective approach that supports personal and professional development which helps beginning teachers and their mentors thrive and flourish.