Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Music Education

First Advisor

Martina L. Miranda

Second Advisor

Margaret H. Berg

Third Advisor

Leila Heil

Fourth Advisor

Thomas Riis

Fifth Advisor

Daniel Liston

Abstract

The purpose of this study was twofold. First, to examine the outcomes and implications of being in an informal mentoring relationship at various junctures of the novice music educator’s teaching career. Second, to investigate the usefulness of Social Exchange Theory (SET) as a lens to examine these relationships and mentoring practices. Research questions addressed the nature of informal mentoring relationships in a music education setting, factors prompting these relationships to continue, and the nature of mentoring interactions based on SET concepts.

Three novice general music teachers, varying from one to four years in teaching experience, with their informal music teacher mentors provided details about their mentoring experiences in this multiple case study. A total of 21 interviews took place over the course of one school year, ranging from individual interviews, paired mentor-mentee interviews, small novice teacher and mentor focus group interviews, and a large focus group interview. Using interviews and group discussions as data, the nature and value of informal mentoring relationships were analyzed in relation to main concepts found in SET. Deductive codes based on SET were used to identify patterns and subsequent themes. These themes and other findings were described qualitatively and illustrated by direct quotations from participant responses.

Findings indicate that effective mentoring was able to occur because of the following factors: (a) the element of choice in selecting a mentoring partner, (b) the establishment of connection based on similar backgrounds and teaching philosophies which facilitated value and trust, (c) the establishment of a reciprocating relationship, and (d) the quality of mentors and mentoring practices. The SET concepts of rewards, costs, and exchange rules were also found to be useful in the analysis of these mentoring relationships. In this study, there were not only implications for the novice music teacher participants but for their mentors as well. The novice teacher participants were able to “give back” to their mentors by means of new ideas, resources, friendship, and support. These prolonged mentorships cultivated support systems for the novice and the experienced music educator needed to thrive in the music education profession.

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