The concept of the coaching role of cooperating teachers and the desire by Boards for a closer working relationship with universities in relation to the practicum are key features of the Teacher Education Review Panel Report. A mentorship in-service day for pre-service teachers, cooperating teachers, and faculty advisors was initiated at meetings of XTEAC which is a committee of St FX School of Education and members representing Strait Regional School Board, Chignecto Central Regional School Board, Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board, Halifax Regional School Board, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, and Conseil Scolaire Acadien Provincial. As a result of these discussions the St F.X. School of Education in cooperation with the Strait Regional School Board, Chignecto Central Regional School Board, Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board, and Halifax Regional School Board facilitate mentorship in-services for pre-service teacher/ cooperating teacher pairs, and faculty advisors.
These mentorship in-services provide a forum for cooperating teachers, pre-service teachers, and university faculty advisors to become acquainted and comfortable with each other and with the roles and responsibilities that each one brings to the practicum. This in-service has been developed in the belief that an open, collegial and professionally productive relationship among the various parties can best be realized when each has an understanding of the others’ background and talents; teaching philosophies and practices; and approaches to being life-long adult learners.
St. F.X. School of Education faculty representatives presented details about practicum expectations and how these can most effectively be fulfilled. Participants focus on understanding the role of the pre-service teacher, the role of the cooperating teacher, and the role of the faculty advisor. Working in pairs cooperating teachers and pre-service teachers complete individual self-assessments and explore interpersonal roles and responsibilities in relation to the practicum experience.
All participants engage in activities which focus on the professional development process which centers on the pre-conference, the teaching/observation component, and the post conference. Pre-service teachers and cooperating teachers discuss the complexities, the complications, and the positive aspects of the professional development process.
Each in-service begins with a keynote from the respective school board representative.
Faculty members and advisors facilitate these workshops.