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In order to be an effective mentor the importance of establishing a relationship and rapport with the student early on is vital. Ewan and White (1996) suggest that if learning is to be affective, getting to know the student's individual needs and characteristics is invaluable. Lorretto (2009) agrees and suggests a positive learning experience is attainable if the professional relationship between the mentor and student is a two way positive one, for example the mentor showing enjoyment and confidence in their work, and the student having a genuine interest and willingness to learn. The author feels that this was achieved with the student, and agrees that a good start and introduction catalyses the students willingness to learn. Lorretto (2009) also states the importance that the mentor remembers what it was like for them when they trained, thus learning from their own training methods received. To take an interest in the students learning and welfare is important as Wragg (1984) suggests. In order to set the perfect teaching situation and environment, the author had a discussion with the student in a meeting prior to the teaching, to make sure the social, psychological and physical aspects of the students learning was being met.
Fontana (1972), states that a good teacher will take an interest in the students emotional needs, social background and emotional development. During the meeting the student and the author found a quiet room and had an informal discussion over a hot drink, which the author thought calmed the nerves of the student if any, which runs parallel to what Fontana (1972) stated in the previous sentence. Covered in the talk was making sure that any physical needs needed to be met such as if the student had a disability, and making sure the authors body language and tone met the students expectations making them feel welcome. Social aspects such as making sure no cultural or social problems were present, and if they felt that this teaching session would be beneficial to them, and also issues about gender, weather they felt comfortable with their mentor. Environmental factors were made aware of such as noise levels and general equipment that may be lying on the floor to trip over, or large equipment that could injure if used inappropriately.
During this first meeting, the author devised a learning contract which is described as a written and verbal agreement Eaton (1999), and is used to document targets, targets met and progress made, also used for reference for future mentors. Richardson (1987) describes a learning contract as an agreement which makes explicit what a learner will do to achieve specified learning outcomes. The author feels that a learning contract is important because you can use previous contracts to assess the needs of the student more accurately by gauging where to pitch the next targets to ensure minimal repetition, also it encourages the student to take a more leading role in the quest for his/her own learning. McAllister (1996) agrees with the author, stating that teachers should continue to advise, guide and encourage students to meet there own learning objectives. The author believes that the process of being a student teaches one to discover how to take charge of his/her learning for personal development in which case Dart and Clark (1991) agrees with this, stating that students develop habits related to lifelong learning by participating with learning contracts. The author has included the learning contract paperwork (devised for the entire placement as well as the one teaching session) in the appendices to this piece with the permission from the student, remaining anonymous.
In order to facilitate an effective lesson one needs to plan effectively making use of interaction with many types of material with pre existing knowledge Myles (1993). A statement about planning and effective lesson which the author agrees with is Carrol (1997). She states that the most effective learning takes place when it's relevant and timely. The author gave the student hand outs on anatomy of the urinary tract and some synonyms used in Urological surgery, found in the appendicles, which backs up Myles (1993) passage about backing up pre existing knowledge whilst supplying new information to build on. The author agrees with Curzon (1997) who says that evidence based practice is the link between practice and research. This handout was to increase the background knowledge as many students have found teaching experiences to be less structured, thus learning something complicated before underpinning background knowledge as described and agreed with the author by (Mason 1982)
For the reason that the environment which the author works in is very imitational with time, the author organised a session using break and lunch times so that the student could open the Trans Urethral sets called `GU sets` and handle the equipment, as well as being taught the instruments, what they are, and what they are used for. The first time the student saw the set, I initially demonstrated the correct procedure to set up the instruments before the surgeon will use them safely. This was in a quiet environment to start off with as the author feels that pressure causes mistakes, but after familiarisation with the instruments, the learning can then take place in the real environment. The author tried to involve the student in the real life environment as much as acceptable as the author agrees with Fretwell (1980) and Alexander (1983), who suggests that the most practical part of learning for a student increases their motivation for the job. Knight (1998) agrees with the statement and claims that most of the learning should take place in the working environment, but the author doesn't agree entirely, as the issue of staffing and the busy work areas can deter time to teach these theories.
Whilst adopting many methods of learning, the author discovered one of the most commonly followed methods of learning widely available known as blooms taxonomy Bloom (1956), which is used by workplaces as a design and evaluation toolkit for academic education, Wikiversity (2009). This method splits learning into three domains which include the psychomotor (skills), affective (attitude) and cognitive (knowledge) domains respectively. Howard (1999) suggests it's essential to consider all three of these domains in our teaching, but sometimes we may not use them all.
The author followed RH Dave`s (1970) method involving the psychomotor domain in Blooms Taxonomy of starting off by letting the student imitate what the author was doing, in other words, observe first and copy. The author prefers RH Dave (1970) method of the psychomotor domain due to the more simple structure it follows. The author believes it follows more of a see one do one teach one technique. While RH Dave (1970) includes five psychomotor steps, other learning theorists such as EJ Simpson (1972) and AJ Harrow (1972) suggest a more in depth seven and six step psychomotor step technique to learning respectively. In what is a job that the author feels is mainly a hands on practical one, RH Dave (1970) seems to have the most suited domain to the other theorists who's work seem more suited to teaching young adults and children (Wikiversity 2009). Still following RH Dave (1970) psychomotor domain, once familiar with the instruments, I allowed the student to familiarise with setting up using instructions and prompts such as; which 4 instruments form a resectoscope? The next step would be to teach the student the different ways to adapt and integrate expertise to vary the required outcome, in this case, using different scopes that are required for a specific task, and certain scopes that cannot fit certain equipment. This step is known as articulation. The final step would be naturalization, gaining familiarised skills from the previous steps to master the skill. To facilitate this, the author repeated these steps the first time in a quiet room, then repeated them in a real list whilst the author was scrubbed with the student, to maximise the teaching time, thus making Knight`s (1998) statement about teaching being more effective in the workplace agreeable to the author, as the author believes theory should take place before practical, learning from past experience.
There are other theories which the author did not agree with implementing in the style of teaching. One behaviourist theory was described by Skinner (1968) as Operant Conditioning in which training is given by using rewards, or another theory described by Pavlov (cited in Curzon (1985), pp. 19-21) who witnessed dogs salivating at food, being a response which required no training, but then was able to train the dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell. But these theories encourage students to be largely dependent on stimulus which would suggest that the student is dependent on input from others Howard (1999), which is a statement the author agrees with. On the other hand the author witnesses events at work in which other mentors perform a task incorrectly and when questioned about it states that they have `always done it that way` thus students becoming classically conditioned.
The author found it important to include motivation into the students learning experience, and tried to facilitate a session which compliments Maslow`s (1987) theory of intrinsic motivation, this being the personal factors that makes the student want to learn. Maslow (1987) believes that it takes five categories which include psychological well being, safety, social (acceptance - the need to be needed), self esteem, and self actualisation are needed to maximise the full potential and to be motivated. The author agrees with this view as one issue in any of these five categories is a distraction. The other way motivation is described can be extrinsic, which is motivation sourced to the student from another Howard (1999), but both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation come hand in hand agreed by Ogier (1989), stating that the two theories are rarely exclusive of each other.
In conclusion to this assignment, the author was reminded the importance of meeting the emotional, social and cognitive needs of the student, and agrees getting to know them to a detailed professional level to adapt the method of teaching to what's best for the student. The author performed this analysis with the student and feels that this experience enhanced the students learning. It is also noted that the author took onboard the influences that body language and pitch from the mentor can have on the student, which affects the student's appeal to your teaching and the mentor as a professional relationship. The methods of learning used were covered and some pointed out to be more affective in their own respective way, and all depending on the students needs again. A more hands on approach method proved more effective in the authors teaching session, but in another session a different method may prove otherwise, in which case the author feels that learning theory and practice requires different methods of teaching respectively.