Lily Orland-Barak offers us a breathtaking work of science ?ction. Or perhaps I should say `science and ?ction. ' The science side of the equation employs sophisticated technique for observing and describing interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics among professionals in education. Both dramatic and seemingly ordinary episodes in the lives of teachers in relational tension with one another are analyzed with scienti?c care, precision, and insight. The scienti?c study of mentoring is like the scienti?c study of soap bubbles - their formation, growth, and sudden exit from the visible world with a nearly soundless `pop!' Scienti?c and intellectual tools can be used to describe and predict the behavior of soap bubbles, to study their colors, shapes, surface tension, and tiny mass. The same is true of the study of mentoring. But in both cases, the greatest care must be taken to avoid popping the almost m- ically elegant form - to avoid destroying the delicate relationship by rushing in, by heavy attempts at control, or by premature dissection, or even by paying attention too intensely to a private, personal relationship. Mentoring is best studied by being still, by listening with authentic interest, and by using our peripheral vision. The science and the scientist have done their best work here. The ?ction side of this ?ne book gives life to telling examples of mentoring in action.
My research focuses on the three complementary agendas within the field of Teacher Education: Mentoring and mentored learning, second language teacher learning and curriculum development. These agendas address the call for producing systematic research in the area of teacher education to inform theory, design, and implementation of educational reform and curricular innovation. In the area of mentoring, I have endeavored to conceptualize the passage from teaching to mentoring as a manifestation of the acquisition of professional expertise, as it relates to knowledge development, beliefs, morality, pedagogy, exemplary practice, and contextual and discursive aspects of professional practice . In the area of second language teacher learning, I have focused on aspects of the process of learning to teach a foreign language as related to the development of content knowledge, pedagogical beliefs and knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge . In the area of curriculum development, I have investigated the impact of educational interventions and new English curricula on English teachers and mentors' pedagogical content knowledge development. I have also studied the impact of innovative curricular methodologies on graduate students' learning in the context of Higher Education . My work as educational researcher in the above fields has contributed to the design of curriculum innovations in the area of mentoring and teacher education in Israel and abroad.