Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Successful Mentoring: The Students' View

Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Successful Mentoring: The Students' View

Article excerpt

For the majority of people undertaking a PGCE or GTP course, the question of mentoring - who it will be, what will they do - is undoubtedly one of the most unsettling issues. A mentor should not only guide students through the vast ups and downs of the year, but provide inspiration and instil confidence as they take their tentative first steps in the profession. Done well, mentoring enables students to broaden and extended their new-found skills and experiences.

Without the superb support, guidance and friendship from my mentor and training schools' staff, I would have found the PGCE course a very daunting and lonely experience. This article drawson my own experiences-as well as conversations with my fellow PGCE students-to identify a set of pointers that could help mentors when guiding student teachers.

A trustworthy, professional and solid relationship is paramount -students need to know that mentors will treat all discussions with confidentiality.

Mentoring works best when students feel absolutely comfortable. It is best to discuss the positives first, with suggestions for improvement or criticisms coming later. Being too judgemental can seriously damage a student's ability to participate fully in schools.

When suggestions for improvement or critical comments are necessary, they should be offered in a positive way, stressing the point that the lesson is being compared to an "outstanding" standard asset by Ofsted not the mentor's own personal standard. Most students can't provide outstanding lessons all the time. The PGCE year is all about creating a platform for learning and building confidence.

Understand that each student has his or her own approaches to learning and teaching, often varying greatly from a mentor'sown personal approach.

When students are observing qualified teachers, it helps if lesson plans are available and learning objectives are set, with strategies for differentiation and progression between stages clearly in place. …

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