Double the learning potential

By Timothy Boerst, Meghan Shaughnessy and Meri Tenney-Muirhead
August 2020
Vol. 41, No. 4
School-based mentors are essential partners with teacher preparation programs in preparing novice teachers to have the knowledge, skills, and professional commitments they need to be strong teachers from day one. Research and experience have taught us that supporting the learning of a novice can also be pivotal to a mentor’s professional learning (Feiman-Nemser, 2001; Lawson & Wood-Griffiths, 2019). In many ways, the demands of mentoring, such as critical conversations with colleagues and reflecting, mirror the kinds of engagement that are at the heart of practice-based approaches to professional learning (e.g. Silver, 2009). Mentoring involves consideration of someone else’s teaching at the same time that it demands opening up one’s own teaching. This requires deprivatizing and unpacking teaching practices that are personal and familiar, but often

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Timothy Boerst, Meghan Shaughnessy, and Meri Tenney-Muirhead

Timothy Boerst ( is professor of clinical practice, Meghan Shaughnessy ( is lead research specialist, and Meri Tenney-Muirhead ( is managing director, elementary teacher education at the University of Michigan. 


Brouwer, N. (2011). Imaging teacher learning: A literature review on the use of digital video for preservice teacher education and professional development. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.

Cohen, D.K., Raudenbush, S., & Ball, D.L. (2003). Resources, instruction, and research. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 25(2), 119-142. 

Feiman-Nemser, S. (2001). Helping novices learn to teach: Lessons from an exemplary support teacher. Journal of Teacher Education, 52(1), 17-30.

Heaton, R. (2000). Teaching mathematics to the new standards: Relearning the dance. Teachers College Press.

Lampert, M. (2001). Teaching problems and the problems of teaching. Yale University Press.

Lampert, M. & Ball, D.L. (1998). Teaching, multimedia and mathematics: Investigations of real practice. Teachers College Press.

Lawson, S. & Wood-Griffiths, S. (2019). Mentoring design and technology teachers in the secondary school. Routledge.

Leinhardt, G. (2010). Introduction: Explaining instructional explanations. In M.K. Stein & L. Kucan (Eds.), Instructional explanations in the disciplines (pp. 1-5). Springer. 

Leinhardt, G., Putnam, R.T., Stein, M.K., & Baxter, J. (1991). Where subject knowledge matters. In J. Brophy (Ed.), Advances in research on teaching (Vol. 2, pp. 87-113). JAI Press. 

Sherin, M. (2000). Viewing teaching on videotape. Educational leadership, 57(8), 36-38.

Silver, E.A. (2009). Toward a more complete understanding of practice-based professional development for mathematics teachers. In R. Even & D.L. Ball (Eds.), The professional education and development of teachers of mathematics: The 15th ICMI Study. Springer.

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