A Master of Arts thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) by Azza Mahmoud Gamal El Din entitled, "The Role of Mentoring in ESL Classrooms in the United Arab Emirates," June 2011. Available are both hard and soft copies of the thesis.
It is widely accepted that an effective mentoring program helps novice teachers with varied backgrounds in their professional development. Appointing experienced teachers to guide and support novice teachers is one way to provide professional development for both new and veteran teachers. The benefits of mentoring are both career related and psychosocial. Even though there has been much study on mentoring programs, very little investigation has been carried out so far in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The MAG program's vision is to create schools that prepare students to be active UAE citizens in the international, academic, business, and social arena. The program assigns two teacher mentors for each MAG school to work in correlation with the English staff towards achieving this vision. As a teacher mentor, I co-teach with MOE teachers for assigned periods in their classrooms. In addition, I model and support a learner-centered classroom environment that supports the needs of all learners. I also collaborate with colleagues in the preparation, implementation and evaluation of curriculum materials and learning experiences. The research reported here first examined the attitudes of UAE Ministry of Education (MOE) high school teachers who are part of the Madares Al Ghad (MAG) program about being involved in a mentoring program. Second, the research also examined the beliefs and attitudes of MOE high school teachers who are not part of the MAG program about being involved in a mentoring program. The Ministry of Education has been studying the idea of enlarging the program to include more schools. Finally, the research study investigated the extent to which mentors influenced teaching practices in the classroom. I collected both quantitative and qualitative data using questionnaires and interviews. I surveyed 100 male and female English teachers from different educational zones in Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Fujeirah, and Um Al Quwain. The first group consisted of 50 MoE teachers who are part of the MAG program, and the second group consisted of 50 MoE teachers who are not part of the MAG program. In addition, I conducted individual interviews with 15 teachers from both of the above mentioned two groups. Finally, I surveyed 13 teacher mentors to gain further insight into how they believe their advice and contributions influence teaching practices in the classrooms. The findings of my study revealed that both the MoE MAG and non-MAG teachers held positive attitudes towards the idea of being involved in a mentoring program. The findings of my study also highlighted the vital role of mentors in providing teachers with guidance and support, helping them develop professionally, observing classes, and providing teachers with constructive feedback. In addition, the results also suggested the importance of building good rapport with teachers in order to have a successful mentoring relationship.