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Social Sciences and Humanities Journal (SSHJ), Volume 2, Aug 2017

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In Australia, many find the transition from pre-service training to professional employment difficult with several factors contribute to this experience and including: ?reality shock, the demands of the professional teaching role, overwhelming workload, physical and professional isolation, conflict between expectations and reality and inadequate induction. While the high attrition rate of beginning teachers can be attributed to the ad hoc level of support during the induction period, concerns have also surrounded inadequacies in the quality of initial teacher preparation. With beginning teachers struggling to cope in the workforce and both teachers and government authorities calling for improvements in teacher education, tertiary providers are being pressured into the development of methods to enhance the learning and practical training of pre-service teachers. With few tutors available to support more practicum experiences for students, this paper reports on the feasibility of a student-led peer mentor program as a strategy for addressing these challenges within the physical education teacher education program at The University of Queensland. A focus of this study concerns the effectiveness of a peer mentor program as a means of extending the learning of both advanced and novice pre-service teachers. The study employed an action research methodology with qualitative data collected via reflections, interviews and verbal and written feedback from mentees. Data was analysed to identify key benefits and challenges for mentees, the mentor and the tutor. The findings from this study highlight many significant benefits and a number of challenges to peer mentoring. Work by Coburn and Hill (2000) on the role of non-system actors provides a useful framework for evaluating the outcomes of this study. The paper concludes with recommendations regarding the authentic and judicious integration of peer mentoring strategies into physical education teacher education programs.

Author(s): Louise Mccuaig, Simone Hare
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