Helping beginning Religious Education teachers develop their professional practice

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, we consider the role of the mentor in helping the beginning religious education (RE) teacher to understand wider aspects of teaching, particularly the link with research and the ever-changing demands placed on those who teach RE. Shulman (2008) suggests that the skilled mentor is required to move beyond simply coaching teaching technique to inculcate a vision for education on the way to the beginning RE teacher developing a new, professional identity. They do this by changing roles from instructor to critical friend or knowledgeable other. Akahito Takahashi (2014) has written about the role of the knowledgeable other in developing teachers. Although his work was based on Lesson Study, a method of professional development for teachers involving collaborative research in the classroom (See Allan et al. (2019), his findings have much relevance to the mentor who acts as a knowledgeable other when working with beginning teachers. Takahashi suggests that the knowledgeable other is responsible for:
(1) bringing new knowledge from research and the curriculum;
(2) showing the connection between the theory and the practice; and
(3) helping others learn how to reflect on teaching and learning.”
(2014, p. 13)
This model is used in the first part of the chapter to investigate how you might induct beginning RE teachers into the teaching profession and RE community before considering some areas of knowledge that you might encourage beginning RE teachers to explore in order for them to become a reflective, creative RE practitioner.
By the end of this chapter you should be able to:
• Reflect on the different kinds of knowledge in which beginning RE teachers may need to develop expertise and confidence.
• Guide the beginning RE teacher to understand the importance of your curriculum intent and how lessons, and sequences of lessons enable pupils to make progress (knowing more and remembering more) towards that.
• Model critical engagement with RE policy (such as the local settlement of RE) to enable the beginning RE teacher to engage in policy debates throughout their career as a reflective practitioner.
• Reflect on your role as a mentor.
Original languageEnglish
Subtitle of host publicationA practical Guide
EditorsHelen Sheehan
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781032042442
Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2022


  • Religious Education
  • mentoring practice
  • Secondary Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Helping beginning Religious Education teachers develop their professional practice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this