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New teacher and mentor political literacy: reading, navigating and transforming induction contexts

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New teachers are unprepared for school politics and the conflicts they experience with administrators, colleagues and policies. Research and practice on mentoring often ignore organizational contexts. This article explores these under-examined contexts, asking: (1) What do mentors need to know and be able to do in relation to school and district contexts to advocate on behalf of their induction work?; (2) What are the challenges mentors face in their school and district contexts? Drawing on practitioner expertise and an intensive case study, this article highlights three critical domains of mentors' political literacy: reading, navigating and advocating. Analyses delineate challenges and promising practices in tapping this knowledge base in action. Mentors' political literacy offers novices a way to act in schools' political climates, to address conflicts and, ultimately, to define a professional identity. Rather than viewing politics as negative, this article reveals how knowledge of schooling politics enhances mentors' repertoires and supports novice development.
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Keywords: Mentors; Micropolitics; New teachers; Political literacy; Teacher induction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: New Teacher Center, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Publication date: 01 April 2006

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