Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers (CASLT)
Development and implementation of a Second Language Teacher and Leader Mentorship Program
CASLT developed and implemented a Second Language Teacher Mentorship Program, where experienced French second language (FSL) educators were paired with new FSL teachers who were seeking mentorship and professional development opportunities. The aim was to build up the mentees’ confidence by allowing them to discuss their career plans with mentors. In its initial year, the project matched 20 mentees with mentors and, in subsequent years, CASLT expanded its project by targeting one hundred mentorships across the country. Participants were mainly teachers but also included school-based administrators and school district leaders. The project connected educators across the country via a virtual platform. CASLT also coordinated and facilitated the pairing of mentors and mentees through a committee that had the expertise in mentorship programming and in virtual exchanges.
This project generated opportunities for new teachers to access training and learning resources. Experienced teachers were encouraged to identify and explain what works in their classrooms and where there are areas in need of improvement. With the proper advice and counselling, new teachers were able to recognize the value of their work.
Main takeaways (learnings)
- There is a strong need for mentorship, but the right formula needs to be developed.
- The approach needs to be focused on peers and less on hierarchical relationships between counterparts, within groups, etc.
- Multiple and diverse strategies are needed to reinforce participation, relevance, reassurance, encouragement, and fun.
- To make accommodations allowing a greater number of teachers to take part.
- For conference, symposium, and workshop outreach.
- To open up to members of other associations by responding to their particular mandate (ex.: ACPI’s Teacher 5 étoiles program).
- For ongoing improvement to better meet needs.
- To offer professional development.
- To break FSL teacher isolation—particularly in Anglo-dominant, remote, and rural areas.
- To make CASLT’s service offering known.
- To make reasonable accommodations to better meet needs.
- To establish a relationship with education students.
- To support program implementation.