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The purpose of my case study will be to analyse the application of mentoring trainee teachers within FE. The author is currently mentoring a colleague at present from the transition of being a trainee teacher to acquiring qualified teacher, learning and skills (QTLS), I attended a CPD session within my FE organisation which highlighted the need for Mentoring colleagues, providing one to one subject specific guidance and developing a professional delivery plan which provides specific structure and recommended deployment strategies.
Analysing my own FE College and being critical and aware that the only mentoring systems we have are generally tailored to the needs of learners, we appear to have very few formal mentoring systems in place which would benefit Staff, College wide, especially new staff that are unaware of the ethos and structure of professionalism within FE. In order to remain compliant we need to come together as a team of professionals and implement initial teacher training strategies for practitioners to deploy affective mentoring with positive encouragement, guidance and constructive critical feedback.
Defining mentoring we need to look at the origins of mentoring, the Online Etymology Dictionary states that "in Greek mythology mentor was the son of Alcumus In his old age Mentor was a friend of Odysseus who placed Mentor and Odysseus' foster-brother Eumaeus in charge of his son Telemachus, and of Odysseus' palace. Because of Mentor's and Eumaeus' near-paternal relationship with Telemachus, the personal name Mentor has been adopted in English as a term meaning a father-like teacher" Wallace and Gravells adapt Clutterbuck's (1985) model provides a building block system which highlights the different roles that mentors provide and facilitate, these varying approaches provide direction challenging supporting and facilitating. Coaching and counselling also apply.
Formal and informal mentoring systems are used by variety of organisations. One of the widely used mentoring systems that provide a relaxed environment is the informal mentoring system.
Researching varies data for my case study, I have come across varying definitions of mentor roles within FE, which are always centred on CPD, initial teacher training and management mentoring Smith et al. (2005) and Cox's (2003) made reference to the organisational setting which influences characteristics of mentors, when coaching and mentoring individuals in my opinion it would make more sense to mentor an individual within their own subject specialism providing specific academic pathways engaging professionalism between mentor and mentee which will enhance the mentees ability to adapt within FE. Wallace and Gravells (2007:2) refer to mentoring arrangements which are used throughout FE.
"In the UK the pace of growth of mentoring increased from the mid to late 1980s and
continued to increase through the 1990s". (Clutterbuck, 2001, p. 9)
Philosophy of mentoring within FE and the difference between
mentoring and coaching
The application of mentoring within my own educational sector identifies the need for continued professional development, guidance and views are welcomed from all researchers and writers specialising in mentoring and coaching. Clutterbuck, D (2004) The basic model of mentoring is that one person passes on their greater knowledge and wisdom to another' (Hay, 1995) 'A mentor is a professional person who is a wise, experienced, knowledgeable individual who either demands or gently coaxes the most out of the mentee' (Caruso 1992) The main points raised out line organisational Policy within FE which centre on the differences between mentoring and coaching. why do we need mentoring and coaching, goal settingÂ ? Rhodes et al (2004) describes how mentoring and coaching are very similar to one another and points out inherent features of professional practice centre on peer networks. We all strive for guidance and support during training and learning (Parsole, 1992,)
"To help and support people to manage their own learning in order to maximise their
potential, develop their skills, improve their own performance, and become the
person they want to be" ( p. 14)
Rhodes et al also makes reference to the differences between them and the activities which are associated with support of individual learning and networking being at the heart of mentoring and coaching. Megginson & Garvey, (2004: 2) describe mentoring as:
'a relationship between people with learning and development as its purpose'...and â€¦.'mentoring is primarily for the mentee, as the mentee's dream is central to mentoring'
Parsloe (1995: 1) describes coaching as:
'a structured two-way process in which individuals develop skills and achieve defined competencies through assessment, guided practical experience, and regular feedback'
Ethical issues associated with mentoring and coaching
"Mentoring is a partnership between two people built upon trust. It is a process in which the mentor offers ongoing support and development opportunities to the mentee. Addressing issues and blockages identified by the mentee, the mentor offers guidance, counselling and support in the form of pragmatic and objective assistance. Both share a common purpose of developing a strong two-way learning relationship". (Books online accessed 23/02/11)
Confidentiality is a must when acting as a mentor portraying professionalism and good practice throughout, the mentee will expect you to be understanding and be able to discuss certain issues in confidence, betraying this trust will result in a breach of confidence, a conflict of interest should be avoided at all costs, clashes of personality and sexual attraction will have an impact if this is the case then the mentor and mentee will have the right to withdraw if faced with an embracing situation which could result in a disciplinary action being taken. Direct conflicts of interest should be resolved and dealt with, otherwise the mentor and mentee will fail to receive the support that they require. The main thing is to establish some clear ground rules from the onset which both mentor and mentee will adhere, to ensure time restraints availability and general guidance and feedback are achievable, without infringing on other work commitments and false expectations from the mentee.
"Smith et al. (2005:33) notes that research has found that 'demographic characteristics of both mentor and protégé (i.e., age, gender, rank, experience and race) can affect perceptions of the mentoring relationships as well as its outcomes'. Whilst acknowledging that sameness and difference impact on the mentoring relationship, they aim to find a core set of characteristics common to all mentors". Bev_Morris Accessed (23/02/11)
Evaluation of models and theories of mentoring and coaching
Clutterbuck, D. (2004) describes "A fundamental warning" based on the fact some journals may not identify the key points explicitly and could be misleading to the researcher, the same applies to Wikipedia.
"Mentoring relationships are important because they have the potential to offer both organizations and their members a wealth of benefits. Recent studies have shown that proteges can benefit from mentoring with career recognition and success, as well as increased compensation and career satisfaction" Kram (1985) mentoring functions.22 Dec 2005 Accessed 23/02/11
Kram (1983) describes five career development functions for mentoring models - exposure, protection, coaching, sponsorship and challenging assignments - and four psychosocial functions - counselling, friendship, role modelling and acceptance/confirmation. Wallace and Gravells (2007:15). Describes, mentoring being differentiated. 'primarily about transition -about helping someone to move from one stage to another'. Shea (2002:43) identifies seven 'types of mentor assistance':
1. Shifting context. Help a mentee envision a positive future or outcome.
2. Listening. Be a sounding board when a mentee has a problem.
3. Identifying feelings. Feelings can motivate mentees to achieve success or set themselves up for failure.
4. Productive confrontation. Discuss negative intentions or behaviors without being judgemental.
5. Providing appropriate information. Suggest possible solutions or sources of helpful information.
6. Delegating authority and giving permission. Empower a mentee's self-confidence and counteract negative injunctions that defeat success.
7. Encouraging exploration of options. Help mentees consider possibilities beyond the obvious or 'tried and true'.
There are three main core conditions of mentoring which (Rogers, 1980:115). Describes these are 'realness or genuineness', having 'unconditional positive regard 'and 'empathetic understanding'
"Cunningham (2005:64) simplifies the Centre for Excellence in Leadership model of mentoring (CEL, 2004) as three stages; Exploration, New Understanding and Action Planning. He recognises the limitations of such a simple framework but sees it as an accessible way of presenting mentoring to trainees". Bev_Morris Accessed (23/02/11)
Formal and informal mentoring
The amount of data that is available for my case study is outstanding, which has led me to formal and informal mentoring, and the differences between the two, which require specific divided strategic strategies. Formal mentoring programs are linked to a strategic business objective of the organisation with a clear set of goals and measurable outcomes. The mentee will be paired up with a subject specific mentor who will provide measurable expert training support and clear outcomes, open access for all who are involved within the process, the mentoring process usually lasting between 12 -24 months for teacher trainees within FE. The informal mentoring approach generally has no specific goals unknown outcomes, no expert training or support, limited programme access, and self selected mentors. The formal approach is a lot more structured an of more benefit to the mentee providing more clear structured outcomes for both mentor and mentee. On a personal level whilst completing my teacher training the later of the two was seen to be the best option for me at the time, looking back at the informal approach, time constraints reduced the required mentoring I needed at the time, new teacher trainees require adequate mentoring and guidance whilst completing PCET courses. (Murray, 2001, p. 13) "A deliberate pairing of a more skilled or more experienced person with a less skilled or less experienced one, with a mutually agreed goal of having the less skilled person grow and develop specific competencies". This would be more beneficial to the mentee.
Benefits and criticisms of mentoring
(http://associate.hud.ac.uk/ ) offers subject-specific mentors to mentees. Trainee teacher will need to become a member to gain access to the online community providing secondary virtual mentors on line. (Colley, 2003:13) describes mentoring as 'a practice that remains ill-defined, poorly conceptualised, and weakly theorised, leading to confusion in policy and practice' Megginson & Garvey, (2004: 2) refer to mentoring as 'a relationship between people with learning and development as its purpose'...and â€¦.'mentoring is primarily for the mentee, as the mentee's dream is central to mentoring' Clutterbuck et al. (1999) refers to breath of knowledge which provides important quality time for the mentee and mentor. The key points for any successful mentor will be able to identify emotional needs and develop intellectual underpinning knowledge. All of my key data finding provide insight into the rising popularity over the last 15 years, all of the literature that is available points to values which are important for personal development. So where does the specific measurable benefits come into play and how do they impact, at present there are only a few which refer to mentoring being qualitative in nature, the works of (Megginson and