The mentoring role of professional experience coordinators: beyond a sink-or-swim discourse

Fay Hadley, Iain Hay, Rebecca Andrews, Vanessa Vale

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter highlights the key role professional-experience coordinators (PExCs) play in mentoring pre-service teachers in their professional experience (PEx) and transition to the profession. The chapter reconceptualises how the “place of context” defines the mentoring of pre-service teachers. There is a need to consider how student diversity is applied to exploring their pathways to university, considering their family backgrounds and values. Attention needs to be given to how they navigate their way to, through, and beyond the initial teacher education (ITE) program and transition into the teaching profession. Over the past 30 years there has been increased interest in understanding the importance of mentoring, which has become the prevalent practice for the PEx placement aspect of pre-service teachers’ education courses (Ure et al. in Professional experience in initial teacher education: A review of current practices in Australian ITE. Australian Government Department of Education and Training, 2017). Central to this activity are the school-based teachers’ mentoring of pre-service teachers in developing their understanding of the practice of teaching (Ambrosetti in Australian Journal of Teacher Education 39, 2014). It is important to examine the complexities of the place of context and how these affect how mentoring is enacted. The chapter argues that the negotiation of values is an optimal starting point for both the mentor and mentee. Examining mentoring through the lens of (Boler & Zembylas in Pedagogies of difference, Routledge, 2003) framework of the “pedagogy of discomfort” allows for challenging notions of sink-or-swim discourses that are sometimes viewed as tacit teaching culture determining what it means to become a teacher (Howe in Educational Philosophy and Theory 38:287–297, 2006; Strawn et al., The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas 81:271–277, 2008; Tynjälä & Heikkinen in Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft 14:11–33, 2011). The chapter uses case studies from current research as examples to illustrate how ITE providers can apply a “pedagogy of discomfort” to reduce inequity and improve PEx opportunities for both the mentor (classroom teacher) and mentee (pre-service teacher). Finally, this chapter provides a model for considering mentoring within the “place of context”.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWork-integrated learning case studies in teacher education
Subtitle of host publicationepistemic reflexivity
EditorsMatthew Winslade, Tony Loughland, Michelle J. Eady
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9789811965326
ISBN (Print)9789811965319, 9789811965340
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • thirdspace
  • third spaces
  • flexible learning
  • pre-service teachers
  • collaboration
  • transformation


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