Peer Mentoring Mathematics Graduate Student Instructors: Discussion Topics and Concerns
RUME 2018 Proceedings on valuable topics for novice graduate student instructors.
We developed and implemented a peer-mentoring program at two US universities whereby nine experienced mathematics graduate student instructors (GSIs) each mentored three or four first- and second-year GSIs (novices). Mentors facilitated bi-weekly small group meetings with context-specific support to help novices use active-learning techniques and augment productive discourse (Smith & Stein, 2011). Meeting discussion topics were informed by novices’ interests, concerns raised by both mentors and novices, and ideas from other small groups. We examined what topics from small-group peer-mentoring meetings novices valued and timing of the topics that mentors suggested for future cycles. We qualitatively coded meeting topics and analyzed novices’ ratings of topics discussed. Results indicate specific topics novices valued and the importance of timing some topics appropriately, informing future professional development for GSIs. These results offer insight and synergy between educating GSIs and improving undergraduate mathematics teacher pedagogy.