Some students may need extra guidance in understanding how to speak and work professionally and in a supportive capacity with their buddy/peers. Expectations for teacher talk is a topic that is addressed in workshops at RMIT prior to placement. Occasionally however, there are personal/friendship/cultural issues that get in the way of supportive working relationships between peers. As a mentor teacher we ask that you intervene and help students to resolve their issues as soon as possible.
- Have a conversation with each of the students separately to see if you can identify the underlying issue. Listen carefully to both sides and be impartial – pre-service teachers like all adults (and children) can be manipulative!
- If it is a case of students not particularly liking each other, explain to the that regardless of how they feel about each other personally, in a professional setting you need to find a way to get along and work together effectively.
- If it is a case of competition between students, explain that poor behaviour as a result of competition will reflect badly on the pre-service teacher in the wider school setting. Professional experience is not a competition, it is an opportunity for everyone to learn and grow. Students who are able to form a supportive working relationship with their peers always achieve more on placement than those who are in competition. Furthermore, effective collaboration is a skill that schools value, by demonstrating that you can do this you are furthering your future job prospects.
- If it is a case of cultural barriers or students with additional needs, explain the importance of inclusivity. Being able to work with people from diverse backgrounds is an essential component of teaching in the 21st century. Regardless of how you feel about your colleagues and peers you need to be able to work together effectively.
- If you think it will help bring the PSTs together for a round table conversation with yourself – you might also like to include another teacher in this conversation for support and additional perspectives.
- You might like to ask you pre-service teacher to fill in the following Y diagram on What a does a supportive buddy look like, feel like and sound like? Look over their thinking and together discuss what each of these things are like in your school. You will also find a teacher copy of a completed Y diagram included to support your thinking.
- The following Conversation Plan will help you to make notes to prepare for your difficult conversation.
- Ask your student to set a personal learning goal to help them improve in this area. You might like to use the following goal setting template to support your PST’s reflection.