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Section 1: A Nod to the Literature (continued)
The AACTE Lexicon of Practice

The Practice of - and a Lexicon for - Mentor Roles and Training

The efforts of the AACTE Clinical Practice Commission included crafting a shared lexicon for clinical educator preparation—a set of terms that formalized the notion of “school-based teacher educators” (AACTE, 2018). The Commission developed this in large part so that all involved with or concerned with teacher education, schools, and mentors would be better able to discuss these structures, roles, and practices. To have a common conversation and be able to ask and answer questions about these activities and individuals.














What Does It Mean to Mentor? 

As school-based teacher educators, mentors guide teacher candidates’ professional development in real world contexts. Mentoring happens through a combination of “showing and telling, asking and listening” (van Ginkel, Verloop, & Denessen, 2016, p. 1010). Much like perceptions about learning to teach, beliefs about mentoring are enduring and shaped by both prior experiences in being mentored into the profession and through daily work with others. 


Preparing Mentoring 

Simply having experience as a teacher and a mentor does not necessarily make one exemplary at either. Unfortunately, mentor training is often not required and varies greatly in content, time, nature, and mode of delivery.  


Research suggests mentor teacher preparation efforts focus on developing key skills indicative of highly effective mentors (Hobson et al., 2009). These include strategies for 

  1. working with adult learners, 

  2. providing emotional support, 

  3. engaging in feedback cycles,  

  4. gradually releasing responsibility and control, and 

  5. scaffolding reflection on teaching and learning. 


Mentor training should also support mentors’ personal professional development, including through the provision of time to engage in training experiences such as shadowing experienced mentors, time to develop their skills as a mentor, and time to formally and informally discuss mentoring experiences at regular intervals with colleagues (Hobson et al., 2009; Hudson & Hudson, 2010). 


MentorVA As a Replicable and Sustainable Mentor Preparation Model 

Given the uneven and sparse evidence base for effective mentoring programs and the likelihood that these may reflect a “top-down” approach to training, for this now ongoing project we sought to co-create a replicable and sustainable mentor training curriculum that could be used across multiple licensure programs and school and university contexts. As Hobson and colleagues (2009) suggest, engaging mentors in program design and evaluation with university-based teacher educators reduces the disconnect between school and university settings and helps all involved to bridge the school/university divide that is a long-standing criticism of traditional teacher preparation programs.  

The AACTE Lexicon of Practice

Explore the AACTE Lexicon of Practice using the slide deck to the left. Navigate using the arrows in the bottom left corner, click      to view full screen, or click "Google Slides" to open in or save to your Google Drive.


Terms adapted from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) (2018) report A Pivot Toward Clinical Practice, Its Lexicon, and the Renewal of Educator Preparation.

Download the full AACTE report

Download the Lexicon as a Word document

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Pause & Reflect


Directions: Pause and reflect on what you learned. Use the questions below to guide your thinking and record your thoughts in a private place you can reference later, such as a journal.

  1. What words come to mind when you read the definitions from the AACTE Lexicon of Practice?

  2. What other names have you heard for these terms?


"I've heard CLINICAL INTERNSHIP called..."



This page contains references. Download references here to view sources.

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