Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


First Advisor

Jenelle Reeves

Date of this Version



Linzell, C. H. (2021). Critical peer mentor groups: Amplifying support during student teaching. [Doctoral dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln]. ProQuest.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Teaching, Curriculum, and Learning), Under the Supervision of Professor Jenelle Reeves. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2021

Copyright © 2021 Cindy H. Linzell


This hermeneutic phenomenological study explores the lived experiences of student teachers who use Critical Peer Mentor (CPM) groups as an additional layer of support during their student teaching experience. In traditional models for teacher induction, student teachers apprentice in the classroom of an experienced, cooperating teacher. In this mentor/mentee relationship, there is an inherent power hierarchy. By utilizing CPM groups in addition to this traditional model, the student teachers had a peer relationship through which to also learn. The findings indicate that by utilizing a CPM group, the student teachers received and provided holistic support for each other during this transitional time. In addition to supporting each other, the student teachers amplified their access to veteran cooperating teachers, by learning and sharing personal teaching strategies, content instruction, and behavior management concerns from each other’s cooperating teachers. Finally, the student teachers exercised the tools necessary to embed collaboration into their teaching lives. Implications from the findings of this study include the following: utilizing CPM groups can be a powerful tool in developing early career teachers; there is potential for embedding CPM groups earlier in teacher education programs; or utilizing CPM groups during the first few professional years to possibly help with the retention of teachers.

Advisor: Jenelle Reeves