A 'Rough Guide' to the History of Mentoring from a Marxist Feminist Perspective
Mentoring is now a favoured policy initiative in a number of countries, including Britain and North America, both as an element of professional development, and in addressing social exclusion. The former is of direct relevance to teacher education. The latter is a key issue affecting teachers today, as they have to liaise with mentors allocated to pupils and students. Yet the concept of mentoring remains confused. This paper reviews the literature, deconstructing its mythical representations and its celebratory bias. It applies, from a feminist perspective, the dialectical materialist method to the inter-relationships between essence and appearance in mentoring. It identifies four distinct historical stages in its development. These reveal that official concepts of mentoring have shifted from dominant groupings reproducing their own power, to subordinate groupings reproducing their own oppression. The conclusion suggests a research agenda for more detailed empirical investigation of mentoring in the field of teacher education.