Mentoring

Mentoring

Thank you for agreeing to act as Mentor to one of our participants on the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education or Learning & Teaching in Higher Education Award programmes. As you probably know, the programme is offered in online flexible mode; this means that mentoring is more important than ever, since it is the main way in which participants can supplement the e-learning from the Moodle sites with real human wisdom. We look forward to working with you as you help your mentee in achieving their goal.

The purpose of these notes is to explain the role of mentor and provide summary information about the programme that will help you in fulfilling that role. We appreciate that you are very busy and that the role of the Mentor is not always easy, but we hope you will find it enjoyable and rewarding. In previous years, mentors reported that they learned a lot through engagement in the role and we hope that this will also be your experience.   The University is moving towards a more integrated approach to professional development and mentors have a key contribution to make in that approach.

Click on each of the headers below for more information

Schematic Structure diagrams of the PG Cert in HE

Schema 1Schema 2

Skills needed for mentoring

Listening: The first skill. It is both verbal and non verbal. Your body language will need to convey interest in what your mentee is saying and you will need to make encouraging noises that could help your mentee to open up and share with you. Don’t forget that good eye contact helps.

Questioning: There are different types of questions that you could use to facilitate your mentee. Open questions (those that require more than a yes or no) are often more useful as they give the individual more options in their response. Avoid leading questions where you put words in your mentees mouth. Closed questions also have a way of shutting down an interaction and if you ask too many of them it can sometimes feel like an interrogation.

Confronting: This is a challenging of restrictive attitudes, beliefs or behaviours which your mentee may cling on to. Challenging can help your mentee get in touch with unused strengths or resources. Giving feedback: Feedback should be supportive, specific and about behaviour. Never about personality.

Disclosure: Sharing thoughts and feelings with your mentee could facilitate further sharing on their part and put you in a better position to help e.g. sharing what it was like for you doing your first lecture to over 200 students may help them to open up about their fears and, with your help, find ways of managing that.

Summarizing: Pulling together where you are at various intervals during your meeting can help in the maintenance of a focus. You may also from time to time invite the mentee to do this.

The role of the Mentor

Meet with your mentee regularly in order to facilitate their reflection on practice and to encourage relevant links with other parts of the programme. We suggest weekly or fortnightly meetings. Get your mentee to take responsibility for keeping a record of meetings (they could use a BLOG) as they need to present this information in their portfolio.

Establish a working alliance with your mentee. Unless this is done pretty early in your relationship, you may have problems in working together. A working alliance involves trust on both sides. Part of establishing trust is to discover what you both expect from the relationship.

We suggest you spend part of your first session together looking at expectations.

Where necessary, advise participant(s) on the range of resources available to teach their subject specialism.

Click here for information on Third Party Observations (TPOs)

Observation of others teaching

Each participant is expected to spend 10 hours in observing how experienced practitioners in their discipline teach. From these observations they will identify examples of goods practice, and learn to develop their own repertoire of teaching skills. Probably they will want to come into one or more of your sessions.

While observing classes, participants are expected to keep notes to help them reflect on what they have seen and to inform their own practice. They will be interested in everything that happens in the lesson – how does the lesson start? How does the teacher handle questions? What teaching methods are used? How is learning assessed? What are the participants doing? How is the class managed? etc.

What we ask of you:

Help with organising a schedule of teaching observations for the participant teacher that will include a range of classes eg:-

  • small and large groups teaching
  • different levels
  • different teachers
  • using a variety of teaching methods
  • different settings (clinical teaching, laboratory work etc)
Further advice on Mentoring, including HEA & NMC

1. Advice on Mentoring – including Higher Education Academy resources

From the placement contract which your mentee has returned, we know you have had experience of supervising in Higher Education. Some you have already been mentored or have mentored other staff so no doubt you have got your own views about what mentoring is about. The Industrial Society defines mentoring as:

A confidential, one-to-one relationship in which an individual uses a more experienced, usually more senior person as a sounding board and for guidance. It is a protected, non-judgmental relationship which facilitates a wide range of learning, experimentation and development.

This definition comes from the excellent guide to Mentoring, authored by Ann Morton, available as an online download from the Higher Education Academy at:

https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resource/ltsn-generic-centre-mentoring

A good mutual relationship is central in any mentoring relationship – which is why we ask you to establish a working alliance with the mentee and to monitor the mentor relationship. The ensure such a relationship develops, it’s a good idea to begin by doing the following:

  • Find out from each other what your expectations are for the relationship
  • Discover what you are both willing to put into the working relationship
  • Agree a way of working
  • Set ground rules
  • Agree when and where you will meet and how you will manage the situation if unforeseen circumstances mean that you have to cancel a meeting.

Your mentee also has a Personal Tutor who is a member of the teaching team, so there is a triangular pattern of support for them to appeal to in their study.

2. Advice on Mentoring NMC participants

See the NMC page for additional resources on mentoring NMC mentees.

How Mentors can help Participants:

Learning Teaching and Assessing (ACAD1286)

Participants often have problems with lesson planning, which is one of the areas covered in this course. You could help the participant by checking their lesson plans to ensure that they:

  • Know the difference between aims and learning outcomes and can state clearly in their lesson plans. We often give them a pro-forma for writing lesson plans. The pro-forma is optional but issues covered in the check list must be in whatever plan the participant chooses to use (see appendix 4a or 4b for pro-forma).
  • Use a variety of strategies within each session in order to keep participants interested and motivated.
  • Have some system for assessing whether or not learning has taken place within the session.

As a subject expert you will be able to comment on the content of the session the participant is giving – is the information correct and up-to-date? Is it appropriate for the level at which the participants are studying etc?

Regular feedback to participants on their teaching performance would be helpful. We suggest a minimum of two observation and feedback sessions per phase but more would be useful when they are doing this course.

We recommend that Mentors help participants to become familiar with different aspects of assessment including:

  • Providing access to any policy or University documents which influence assessment policy and practices.
  • Providing access to any documentation concerning assessment procedures.

Additionally, Mentors should help to provide participants with opportunities to either observe or become involved with a variety of experiences concerned with assessment. These might include:

  • Assessing or assisting with assessment of students’ work.
  • Assessment in the clinical setting for those working in health and social care.
  • Attendance at meetings where assessment tasks / examinations are discussed / designed.
  • Observation of or involvement with moderation procedures.
  • Observation of Assessment Panels and Boards of Examiners (or equivalent).
  • Attendance at informal meetings where student progress is discussed.

Participants are required to submit three formative assessment tasks for this course (see Programme Handbook), the first of which is an audio (or video) submission. The second formative assignment is the Pecha Kucha group presentation, undertaken online. The third is a critical incident analysis which functions as a short dry run for their final essay. You should encourage your mentee to discuss these with you during their preparation. The summative assessment is a critical reflection in the form of an academic essay.

Learning Design and Evaluation (ACAD1287)

This course aims to equip participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to develop programmes and courses to evaluate their effectiveness. As a mentor you can help your mentee by:

  • making them aware of the various course development activities that they could participate in either as observers or participant observers;
  • facilitating your mentee to attend and observe validations / review events, be it in your department or elsewhere in the University;
  • provide them with access to review documents.

Most of the formative work for this course is group work which is always complex and frequently frustrating. Try to get your mentee to talk through any problems they are having.

Many universities are now introducing curriculum that promotes flexible approaches to learning in order that they might meet the various demands being placed on them. In your weekly meeting with your mentee they may want to discuss with you the implications of devising a curriculum that uses more flexible approaches to learning. Wherever possible you may want to help them to arrange meetings with colleagues who are using more flexible approaches within their courses.

Participants will want to discuss with you the range of approaches that are being used to evaluate courses within your department. They will also need to be aware of the various quality assurance and enhancement mechanisms and how your department approaches this.

The assessment for this course is designed as two parallel streams of formative group work building towards individual summative assessment. Specifically:

  • They develop a (formative) group artefact explaining an aspect of Quality Assurance QA and then produce an (summative) individual critical evaluation of QA processes in the form of a 1500 word essay, and
  • They undertake a (formative) group course design and receive formal feedback during a “mock validation” panel, after which they may individually amend the course and present a 2500 word critical discussion of learning design and evaluation.
Professional Development in HE (ACAD1288)

All three TPOs are submitted as compulsory parts of the ACAD1288 portfolio. One TPO is undertaken by a PGCert tutor, one by the mentor (you) and the third one either by you or by a peer on the programme.

ACAD1288 focuses on the compilation of evidence into an e-portfolio, using a googledocs format. This involves keeping a series of plans, logs, and records.

To itemize them:

  • Produce a reflective log of teaching observations of colleagues (10 hours).
  • Produce a reflective log of their own teaching experience (60 hours over the year).
  • Produce a record of meetings with their mentor (you).
  • Develop a record of HE experience, outlining their engagement with various professional roles in the area of Teaching and Learning – see Appendix 3.
  • Participate in active self-development to at least a minimum level equivalent to 2 full development days (10 hours).

They are required to “deconstruct” their portfolio evidence – the courseworks from the other courses and the plans, logs and records above – against the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF[1]), in a commentary alongside their evidence. Many participants find this a difficult thing to do alone. You are NOT expected to be an expert in the UKPSF, but your mentee is. Some probing questions on your part may help them achieve self-understanding. For instance, get them to talk through how they plan to provide evidence for…

“V3: Use evidence-informed approaches and the outcomes from research, scholarship and continuing professional development.”

Talking about it will help them find answers.

They are asked to conclude their portfolio with a summary of learning trajectories and key learning points. Getting them to identify these in discussion may facilitate recording them in writing.

Professional Development in HE (ACAD1289)

This course is where the TPOs are recorded, either one or two of which are undertaken by you, as mentor. Additionally, ACAD1289 focuses on the compilation of evidence into an e-portfolio, using Googledocs. This involves keeping a series of plans, logs, and records.

To itemize them:

  • Produce a log of their teaching and educational experience (min 360 hours).
  • Produce a log of teaching observations of colleagues (10 hours).
  • Produce a log of their own teaching experience (60 hours over the year).
  • Produce a record of meetings with their mentor.
  • FOUR Teaching Practice Assessments in the course of the year (must have a pass grade) with associated lesson plans.
  • Participate in active self-development to at least a minimum level equivalent to 2 full development days (10 hours).

They are required to “deconstruct” their portfolio evidence – the course-works from the other courses and the plans, logs and records above – against both the UKPSF Descriptor 2 (See UKPSF Descriptors here) and the Mapping of the NMC developmental framework to support learning and assessment in practice (teacher standard) (see framework here). They do this in a commentary alongside their evidence. Many participants find this a difficult thing to do alone. You are NOT expected to be an expert in the NMC Developmental Framework, but your mentee is. Some probing questions on your part may help them achieve self-understanding. For instance, get them to talk through how they plan to provide evidence for…

“CP1: Support students in identifying ways in which policy impacts on practice.”

Talking about it will help them find answers.

They are asked to conclude their portfolio with a summary of learning trajectories and key learning points. Getting them to identify these in discussion may facilitate recording them in writing. Detailed information about ACAD1289 can be found in the Programme Handbook

 

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