The Role of an Educator Mentor in a Technology-Enabled Community of Practice
The focus of this paper is on the role of an educator mentor in the conduct of a technology-enabled Community of Practice (CoP) in Junior Secondary schools (JSS) in Sierra Leone. The project is supported by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning outcomes in JSS. The educator mentors are lecturers drawn from Freetown Teachers College (FTC). They play an instructional role in guiding and supporting school-based teachers in groups in pilot schools to collaborate around tasks and share responses with colleagues. “Bite-size” tasks are sent by the mentor to the teachers through WhatsApp. The tasks or questions are discussed among members in groups of teachers in a cluster until they arrive at a consensus answer to the question. This is then summarized and posted back to the mentor by the school champion in the group. The study explores the nature of support provided by the educator mentors in the Teacher Professional Development process in the CoP, as well as its effectiveness as perceived by the teachers. The design of the study is a mixed method approach using both quantitative and qualitative techniques. The study sample comprised 149 JSS teachers from the 12 JSS pilot schools, 12 JSS school Champions, 12 JSS school principals and 12 FTC lecturers (Mentors). The findings of the study will contribute to a better understanding of educator mentor-teacher engagement, as well as an assessment of the level of support needed by teachers to construct knowledge collaboratively in a technology-enabled CoP for quality learning outcomes in their students at school. // Paper ID 257
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