What subject and pedagogical knowledge, understanding and skills does a mentor of beginning English teachers need?
Subject knowledge of English is inevitably bound up with classroom and pedagogic knowledge; at times they appear to be so integrated as to be indivisible. Teachers’ knowledge is both nuanced and unsystematic. The skills, knowledge, even texts that might form foundations are themselves malleable. English studies are extensive, complex, often contentious and continually changing. Student teachers will also need, as part of their development, support with developing their professional knowledge. For many academics theorising about teaching as a profession, engaging with debate about the nature of knowledge is essential. Academics continue to critique successive government policies for the teaching of English as manifested in various inceptions of the National Curriculum. Cliff Hodges asserts that: when researchers and teachers of reading engage in discussions about English as a discipline, they inevitably acquire deeper understanding about the complexity of the domain in which they are working and of the other domains in which their students are learning.