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Can team teaching provide a useful and effective vehicle for mentoring novice educators?
The higher education sector is in a state of flux that is characterized by limited resources, increasing competitiveness, deteriorating staff/students ratios, increasing administrative and research demands, yet almost conversely - closer scrutiny on the effectiveness of teaching. This paper explores the use of team teaching as a vehicle for mentoring novice educators. The context of this paper was the sudden departure of core disciplinary teaching staff and their replacement by three new and novice educators one month before the commencement of term. The situation was further complicated by the need to completely redevelop one of the foundation courses on arrival of the new staff. The paper tracks the journey of the team teaching relationship between a long term staff member and one of the novice educators in their collaborative effort to redevelop and implement the new course. Knowledge about the effectiveness of using team teaching as a mentoring activity was explored and applied to construct and evaluate the experience of the teaching team. It was found that team teaching can be a very effective and a useful vehicle for mentoring and professional development, but the design of that experience is critical to its effectiveness. The design was built on a foundation of trust, respect, honesty and opportunities for equitable input to the whole of the course at planning, implementation and review stages. The experience (and supporting literature) also suggests that novice educators mentored in this way may develop a greater appreciation and commitment to scholarship in teaching and learning.