The study reports on an investigation into the role of mentoring in professional development and to understand how educators at secondary schools in Gauteng perceive and experience mentoring as part of their professional development. The primary research question that guided this study was to determine the role that mentoring plays in the professional development of educators. I used three sub-questions that focussed on educators perceptions and experiences of mentoring, the aspects of mentoring that contributed mostly to their professional development and the professional practice within the education sector in general.
This qualitative study used a case study approach to gather the data and was embedded in an instructional leadership theory. Interviews as well as my notes were employed as data collection methods and a thorough literature study was done. Participants consisted of principals, Heads of Departments (HoDs) and educators at two secondary schools in the Gauteng Province.
The focus of the study was the role of mentoring in professional development and the he study found that there was no clear link between professional development and mentoring at the schools. The purposively-sampled participants indicated their need for mentoring in relation to professional development. The study found a lack of a formal professional development and mentoring programme in two secondary schools in the Gauteng province, and that mentoring was not part of the professional development strategy at the schools. The absence of a formal professional development and a formal mentoring programme included the aspects of planning, time management and budgeting for the mentioned formal programmes. The literature highlights the lack of mentoring, as part of schools professional development strategies and practices. This may be the reason for the decrease in educator retention, learner achievement and effective teaching and learning.