Brave Forms of Mentoring Supported by Technology in Teacher Education
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Quality education is undoubtedly a global concern, tied closely to preoccupations with economic and social development. Increasingly, the adoption and effective use of current technology tools are being recognized as visible signs of that quality. Scholars are providing increasing evidence of the kinds of empowered teacher identities that will adopt the effective use of technology tools in teaching. Less is being discussed about how technology can support the processes needed to mediate such identities. The context of Teacher Education is a strategic place to begin to initiate such processes. Our aim in this article is twofold: 1) to describe two recent examples of innovative, technology - supported mentoring processes that were conducted in the context of an EFL Teacher Education program in Chile; 2) to revisit the findings of these studies in light of new evidence from participants who have moved on in their careers. This evidence is viewed in the framework of recent scholarship on the responsibilities that Teacher Education plays in their development. The first 16-month study examined the influences of a guided reading program involving e-readers on the identities and literacy skills of pre-service teachers. The second was a student-conceived study. That inquiry sought to determine the influence of upper year students' peer mentoring, made available partly through a social media site (SMS), on the identities and investment in learning of 12 firs-year students in the pedagogy program. The initial evidence from ethnographic tools used in both studies indicated that the participants were struggling with confidence and doubting themselves as knowledgeable, effective future teachers - not predictive of a potential for quality teaching. Positive signs at the end of both studies and more recent reports from participants suggest that the mentoring had longitudinal benefits for some, although not uniformly. The potential of apprenticeship and mentoring in a technology-supported environment requires rethinking Teacher Education mandates if we are to empower emerging teachers to be quality teachers.