Mentoring can make a significant difference in the teaching of a child in a supervised setting(Allan et al. 2003). Additionally, our program takes a self-critical stance in constantly reviewingand developing ways to provide mentoring support to teacher candidates so that our mentoringprocess is most effective. Beginning teachers are concerned initially with professional survival:establishing personal adequacy; sorting through the curriculum, mastering teaching skills,methods and technology; and impacting the achievement of students (Yarger & Mertens, 1980).It is therefore crucial to plan and structure professional development in such a way that it catersto various needs of beginning teachers, as well as, addressing the developmental needs ofteachers throughout their careers, particularly in view of their roles as mentors to our teachercandidates (Caruso & Fawcett, 1999).For the teacher candidate, learning to teach and learning to interact with colleagues areimportant needs. They grow professionally as they observe their colleagues teach, learn aboutexciting and worthwhile innovations and strategies, acknowledge the diversity of good ideas thatdifferent teachers bring to the profession, and make decisions about what and how they willincorporate into their own approaches (Routman, 1999). Teacher candidates work together tofind the best representations of their teaching through peer analysis and critique. When noviceteachers make connections with their colleagues, they form a community, thereby counteractingthe isolation that pervades the teaching profession, fractionalizing programs of teaching andlearning (Holmes Group, 1995). “When teachers are engaged together in thinking aloud abouttheir work and its consequences, the results are a greater sense of professionalism and astronger and more cohesive instructional program” (Griffin, 1991). Thus the process ofcollaboration with their colleagues greatly helps beginning teachers to perceive themselves aslife-long learners and their school as a place where professionals can work collectively and learncollectively throughout their professional careers.Professional collaboration is one of the most important factors that contribute toadvancement of professional development. “Both pre- and in-service professional developmentrequire partnerships among schools, higher education institutions and other appropriate entitiesto promote inclusive learning communities of everyone who impacts students and their learning.Those within and outside schools need to work together to bring to bear the ideas, commitment
11and other resources that will be necessary to address important and complex educational issuesin a variety of settings and for a diverse student body” (U.S. Department of Education, 2004).