In our research, we extend the work of Catelli and Friesen by describing what occurred when five pairs of preservice teachers and their mentors, or on-site teacher educators (OSTEs) as we call them, designed and conducted collaborative action research projects together.
The participants in this study were recruited from a cohort of 25 senior-level preservice teachers and their OSTEs who would serve as their cooperating or mentor teachers for an entire year.
The following examples are representative of the feelings expressed by the participants: "It was nice to work with another person professionally in answering a question that's valued by both of us" (H.J., preservice teacher, final interview); "It was meaningful just getting to work with her, you know, having a project that we were both working on" (B.R., OSTE, final interview).
OSTE, final interview) Shelley, a preservice teacher, also supported the notion that the collaborative action research experience allowed her to work closely with her OSTE and to develop an understanding of her partner's teaching beliefs and practices.
My professional relationship with my OSTE also improved.
(G.L., OSTE, final interview) I think it opened Shelley up to talking more freely with me.
(B.R., OSTE, final interview) Heather supported this when she wrote,
Another benefit for myself was to be able to work closely with my OSTE, talking and communicating about a professional question, students, and their learning.