PhD in Education student Mr. Luthando Molefe presented his ongoing research on Mentoring for Sustainable Learning of Novice Teachers in Selected School Contexts at the 2nd Doctoral Colloquium held at the University of Mauritius.
The colloquium was organized in collaboration with the Poles of Research Excellence and Research Centres of the University of Mauritius and the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance at UKZN.
It brought together doctoral students from across the world to present their research to a distinguished panel of academics who offered constructive feedback and advice.
Speaking about his research, Molefe said, ‘The alarming rates of novice teacher attrition continue to be a global stumbling block that negatively affects the “normal” and effective functioning of a country’s schools as primary sites for learning and teaching and their education systems. South Africa is no exception. Novice teachers tend to leave the teaching profession early because they perceive it as too demanding due to the lack of mentoring. Consequently, these teachers are left to “sink or swim”. There is a great need for sustainable mentoring initiatives and mechanisms to deal with this conundrum.’
As a participant-researcher in his study, Molefe used memory drawings and letter writing as data generation methods to redefine himself through mentoring as a (former) teacher in a disadvantaged South African school.
He observed that, ‘this memory work and reflective exercise opened my mind to think deeply and make visible my lived experiences of mentoring as a (former) novice teacher and to contemplate how these experiences relate to those of other novice teachers.’
Molefe argued that ‘countries need to adopt a sustainability stance. My research seeks to critically contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Quality Education. Mentors actively provide a helping hand in the mentees’ personal and professional development. However, any intervention should offer the participants room for self-empowerment.’
Molefe is grateful to his mentors and former lecturers in Teacher Development Studies, Professors Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan (University of Nottingham) and Daisy Pillay (UKZN) who continue to mentor him in many ways and who introduced him to the critical research practices of memory work and arts-informed research. ‘These practices have power in evoking our personal-professional selves into deep conversations about the past and present and aiming for a more hopeful future for societal change.’