Sustainable Ecosystems of Mentoring for Newly Qualified Teachers

Lisbeth Lunde Frederiksen, Hannu Heikkinen, Birna Svanbjørnsdottir, Knut Rune Olsen, Eva Bjerkholt, Eve Eisenschmidt, Anna Maria Gunnarsdottir, sissel Havre, Åse Bonde, Päivi Lyhykainen

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaper/skriftligt oplægForskningpeer review


This symposium is based on the work of Nordic network of teacher educators, researchers and representatives of teacher organizations in Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. This cross-sectoral network was first launched in 2004 and has operated ever since, gradually developing and deforming. The network is a platform for changing experiences, doing empirical comparative research and developing collaboration between trade unions of education and researchers. The network has carried out development projects and comparative studies, published through a number of peer-reviewed books and articles.

The newest project of the network, ‘Nordic Teacher Induction: Sustainable Ecosystems of Mentoring for Newly Qualified Teachers (2020-24) is funded by Nordplus. This symposium builds on the network's latest product; an anthology on mentoring practices, entitled ‘New Teachers in Nordic Countries: Ecologies of Induction and Mentoring’ (Olsen, Bjerkholt & Heikkinen 2020). The book summarizes the historical development of mentoring in the participating countries and reviews the current state of mentoring. In this symposium, we (1.) present a theoretical perspective on practices of new teacher induction and mentoring based on the idea of ‘ecosystems of practices’ (2.) explore different mentoring practices in the Nordic counties, and (3.) present the results of comparative research and development work of the network.

The symposium focuses on analysing how mentoring can find its ‘ecological niche’ (or not) in the respective educational ecosystems. Mentoring can be understood as a kind of ecosystem within a wider and more inclusive education ecosystem. In this ecosystem, practices relate with one another in the same way as living organisms in nature. Thus, concepts derived from ecology can be applied, with given limitations, to the study of mentoring practices. However, as Anthony Giddens (1979) notes, we must also keep in mind an ontological difference between natural systems and human social systems; human social systems are reflexive systems, capable of self-organization through human reason and communication, whereas other natural systems operate merely through homeostatic causal loops (mechanical systems) or organic self-regulation (autopoietic systems).

In this symposium, we introduce some of the ecological principles that were first introduced by the eco-philosopher Fritjof Capra (2005) and applied to practice theory by Stephen Kemmis and Rebecca Mutton (2011). This approach was first introduced to research on mentoring by Stephen Kemmis and Hannu Heikkinen (2012). One of the aims of this symposium is to further develop this approach by examining the Nordic-Baltic mentoring practices in the light of the ecological principles. One of the key findings is that we have discovered great diversity within and between the Nordic ecosystems of mentoring. In this symposium we will discuss whether this means that national programs are more influenced by political and economic interests than academic and scientific evidence.
StatusUdgivet - 2021
BegivenhedECER 2021: Education and Society: expectations, prescriptions, reconciliations - Geneva, Schweiz
Varighed: 6 sep. 202110 sep. 2021


KonferenceECER 2021


  • vejledning
  • induction program
  • mentoring