Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

College

College of Education and International Services

Program

Curriculum and Instruction PhD

First Advisor

Anneris Coria-Navia

Second Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Third Advisor

Larry Burton

Abstract

Problem

Previous research indicated that mentoring impacts teacher commitment positively. However, there was a gap in the knowledge regarding the influence of mentoring on novice Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) teacher commitment in North America. The Adventist education system differs in significant ways from the public school system, and novice teachers need support.

Purpose

The primary purpose of this study was to examine the influences of mentoring, self-efficacy, and organizational support on SDA novice teacher commitment (0 - 5 years’ experience). The secondary purpose included identifying the characteristics of effective mentors and mentoring programs, while exploring novice teachers’ current experiences of mentoring, and comparing novice and mentor expectations of mentoring.

Method

A mixed-method research design was used; the quantitative phase used two online surveys (one for novices, the other for mentor teachers). The novice teacher survey collected data on demographic characteristics, mentoring experiences, teacher self efficacy, and perceived organizational support. Mentor teacher surveys collected data on demographic characteristics and mentoring experiences. The qualitative phase used interviews, observations, and artifacts to collect data on teacher mentoring experiences. Fifty-four novice teachers (0 to 5 years’ experience) and thirty-four mentor teachers participated across the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (NAD) during the 2019-2020 academic year. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and hierarchical linear regression. Qualitative data was collected from subsets of mentored and non-mentored novice teachers (N = 10), and mentor teachers (N = 13). Qualitative data was organized into themes, using descriptive coding.

Results

Novice teachers’ experiences varied across the NAD. Some teachers had assigned mentors (micro-mentoring), others had access to an instructional coach for the conference (macro-mentoring), and some reported informal mentoring. About 20% had never been mentored. Some had structured programs at their school or conference level; others met with mentors as needed; some never met with their mentors. Both micro- and macromentoring models were observed, and artifacts were collected.

Novices and mentors had similar expectations of the responsibilities of mentors and mentor programs. Both groups valued listening skills and help with instructional support. Mentors indicated that mentor programs needed structure and accountability. Novices had moderate levels of commitment (M = 4.27, SD = 0.96), as well as moderate levels of implementational (M = 4.04, SD = 0.71), instructional (M = 4.37, SD = 0.79), and relationship efficacy (M = 3.96, SD = 0.97). Perceptions of administrative support were also moderate (M = 3.55, SD = 1.34). Mentoring had no effect on teacher commitment (r = 0.05). Hierarchical linear regression indicated that teacher mentoring, teacher self-efficacy and perceived organizational support as a set explains about 38% of the variance in teacher commitment (F(5,48) = 9.28, R 2 = 0.437, Adjusted R2 = 0.379, p < 0.001), but only administrative support (β = .467, p < .001) and relationship self-efficacy (β = .334, p = 0.02) are significant predictors of teacher commitment.

Qualitative interviews and observations (N = 10) revealed moderate to high commitment levels. Those with formal mentors or coaches felt supported, while those with no mentors wanted mentor support. Novice teacher themes included commitment to student success, sense of mission, inconsistent support, appreciation of support, and growing professionally over time. Novices and mentors said mentoring should include three aspects: emotional support, teacher qualifications, and coaching skills. Mentors had a passion for novice success, enjoyed reciprocal learning and growth, and wanted accountability for mentoring programs. Both traditional (mentor-novice) meetings and coaching sessions were observed. Some schools had mentor programs, others did not.

Conclusion The findings indicated that novice Adventist teachers who feel supported and have high self-efficacy are more likely to remain committed to the teaching profession. Mentoring models in Adventist schools include micro- or macro-mentoring, as well as informal support. Structure and accountability, at the school or conference level is needed. At this time, there are inconsistent levels of support across the NAD. This study has implications for educational leadership, including potential roles for teacher leaders. Conferences and principals need to examine ways to improve support for novice Adventist teachers. Improving teacher support can lead to improved student instruction.

Subject Area

Mentoring in education; Self-efficacy; First year teachers; Seventh-day Adventists--Education

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