Mentoring in education: yes or no?

Individualized learning is an increasingly popular trend. More and more professors believe that students should have custom curricula and personal teaching hours to reach full academic potential. Mentorship is a part of individual instruction. It is presupposed that each student should attend one-on-one consultations with a mentor once or several times a week.

A pair may interact throughout the whole term of studying at school or university, so an educator turns into a kind of a family member and knows a student deeply. Consultations may take place anywhere: at professor’s office, a child’s home, or in a cafe, which creates an informal, relaxed atmosphere. Mentors also work with parents, inform them about child’s academic achievements and provide instructions on efficient home learning.

Such communication gives a sense of continuity, allows to strengthen bonds between generations, raise the level of trust, engagement, and motivation, influence the way how young people study and think, understand their dreams, hopes, preferences, and career aspirations, help them to achieve the best results possible and plan their future. Many professors enjoy this learning format because they are tired of being perceived as torturers and strict observers, want to become positive heroes, learners’ friends and receive lively feedback.

However, as any other teaching system, mentoring has weaknesses making some professors skeptical about it. Experts from Pro-Papers term paper writing service have analyzed the main pros and cons of this approach and outlined them in this article.

Benefits of mentoring

Individualized goal setting

A mentor knows for sure what one’s mentee should do to grow academically. Regular meetingshelp to assess learning progress at different moments of time, define short-term and global goals, compile step-by-step action plans, acquaint a student with the basics of time management, detect mistakes, correct them when it is still not too late and wrong strategies do not influence semester results. Young people gradually become more organized, learn to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, adapt to stressful working conditions, and reflect on actions taken. All these skills are very useful for a successful university and professional life.    

The feeling of safety

Younger students often feel lost in the big academic world, are afraid of bullies, and find in challenging to build healthy relationships with peers. It is much easier to adapt to a learning environment if there is a protector behind a child’s back. A mentor is a guide leading a mentee along the path of self-development, providing moral support, showing empathy in case of all victories and failures, helping a kid to avoid problems and overcome difficulties, advocating one’s interests.

If a child has something in one’s mind but does not know how to do it, a mentor is always there to lend a helping hand and dispel all doubts. Since young people are not afraid of trying new things, approach all challenges with interest and enthusiasm, over some time, they become self-sufficient and undertake full responsibility for academic issues.

Self-awareness

The traditional educational system presupposes that learners should receive tasks and fulfill them dutifully, just go with the flow and not ask extra questions. With this approach, a classroom seems to a prison cell, and students have no desire to work hard. Mentors invite young people to analyze individual work, make some conclusions on how its results may be improved, reflect on personal strengths and weaknesses, determine the areas of interest and develop natural talents.

It becomes easier for a person to understand what one wants, can and has to do, set long-term goals. Professors inspire students to seek additional resources, for example, join extracurricular clubs, read additional literature on their majors, participate in conferences and competitions to receive grants.

Habits of success

Mentors strive to raise successful specialists able to become real leaders and contribute to their industries. A professor should make a young person believe that one is a champion, a unique individual who can change the world, reward one for good results, tell that a mentee can achieve more than one has ever thought, raise self-esteem and encourage new victories. With such support, a learner develops a growth mindset and stops doubting one’s abilities.

Downside

Despite the large number of advantages, mentoring may be counterproductive if a mismatched pair is chosen. Some professors do not bother to think about student’s opinion, do no psychological work, would like their mentees to simply perform tasks assigned and not ask why certain actions should be taken. Young people feel excessive control, have no possibility to make independent choices, perceive learning as an unpleasant duty.

Pairs should not be created randomly. Students and professors should have the opportunity to choose a partner they like. This is not always possible because all educators want to work with several excellent students, while all students want to learn from several the most popular professors.  

 

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