The expressed and the realized: Mentors' representations of a mentoring conversation and its realization in practice

Lily Orland-Barak, Suzana Klein

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Situated in the context of Israeli in-service education, this study investigates the range of meanings that twelve in-service mentors attribute to a mentors attribute to a mentoring conversation and the extent to which these attributions are realized in their actual conversations in practice. Drawing on qualitative research paradigms that stress the use of visual modes of representation as important complementary data sources, the study aimed to explore the connection between participants' beliefs about mentoring conversations through their visual representations, and what is actually realized in practice. Focusing on the mentoring conversation as one of the main channels of communication in dyadic and group mentoring interactions, we hoped to better understand how mentors' visual representations of what constitutes a mentoring conversation play out in 'real conversational time'. The relationships that were identified from the iterative process of interpretation of the visual and the verbal 'texts' yielded a continuum ranging from 'closely related texts' to 'loosely related texts' between the visual and the verbal. The study revealed that relationship between 'the expressed' and 'the realized' in mentoring conversations is complex, multifaceted, and of a predominantly loosely related nature. In particular, we have learned the visual representations convey a more collaborative, democratic view of a mentoring conversation, whereas the actual conversations are more prescriptive and controlling. We discuss this finding in light of emergent tensions between two conflicting dominant narratives of mentoring (the developmental and the instrumental) that shape the context of in-service education in the Israeli educational system.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)379-402
    Number of pages24
    JournalTeaching and Teacher Education
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - May 2005


    • Beliefs and practice
    • Mentoring conversations
    • Visual representations

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education


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