Original Research

Strengthening foundation phase teacher education through mentoring

Kerryn Dixon
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 2, No 1 | a20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v2i1.20 | © 2012 Kerryn Dixon | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 2014 | Published: 01 July 2012

About the author(s)

Kerryn Dixon, WITS University, South Africa

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This paper explores a multidimensional mentorship model implemented between lecturers from the foundation phase at the Wits School of Education and four master’s students from the University of Limpopo, as part of the Departments of Education’s research initiative to strengthen foundation phase teacher education. Using three critical incidents, we interrogate mentors’ experiences of their mentoring practices. Two sets of literature, mentoring and social capital are used as a lens for analysing these incidents. Initial findings suggest the relationship has moved from the initiation to cultivation stage (Kram, 1985; Ragins & Kram, 2007). But, cultural preconceptions, implicit assumptions and institutional practices can impede or enhance information flows and trust. It is argued that weak ties characterised by mentors’ heterogeneity is a strength that has resulted in growing professional development. Through a process of reflection-on-practice, we have begun to think of ourselves as a fledging community of practice. This opens up possibilities for the larger research project.


foundation phase (FP); mentoring; social capital; critical incidents.


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