Using a complexity-based perspective to better understand the relationships among mentoring, school conflicts, and novice retention

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sheryn Elaine Spencer Waterman (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Barbara Levin

Abstract: In this study I used complexity-thinking, ecologically-based sustainable capacity-building, narrative methodology, and pragmatism to explore the relationships among mentoring, conflict, and novice retention. In order to explore these relationships, I constructed stories from my interviews with six mentor-novice dyads in a southeastern 9-12 high school that was struggling with teacher retention. I analyzed these stories that addressed the nature of the mentor-novice dyad in light of eight primary indicators of complex systems as defined by Davis and Sumara (2006). I also found examples of teacher conflicts with administrators, students, and other categories. I noted how the mentor-novice dyad's complex nature and its use of ecologically-based sustainable capacity building helped mentors and novices handle those conflicts and barriers to conflict resolution. The findings from this study suggest that the mentor-novice relationships were distinctly different from other helping relationships at my research site; however, the relationship between novice retention and the ways mentor-novice relationships handled school conflicts and barriers to conflict resolution were inconclusive.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
Complexity Thinking, Mentoring, Narrative Inquiry, Retention, School Conflict
Mentoring in education $z United States
Interpersonal relations $z United States
Teachers $x Training of $z United States
Teacher turnover $z United States $x Prevention

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