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Mentoring: Fertilising Students to Grow and Achieve Goals
指導:培養學生成長和達成目標

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What is Mentoring?

We all go through the learning cycle, which includes trying, failing, learning and growing. In this cycle, we may need people to support us, someone who can listen to us, shed light on our problem and guide us to success. That someone could be our partner, our friend, our family or even our mentor. The term “mentor” is originated from the Greek Mythology, who is a faithful counselor and a guide to Odysseus’s son, Telemachus. Today, we refer to trusted advisers as “mentors” who impart wisdom to and share knowledge with less experienced persons. Have you ever thought of playing the role of a good mentor to your students in vocational and professional education and training (VPET) to bring them through the learning process, guiding and advising them?

Positive Effects of Mentoring to Students

Researches indicated that quality mentoring relationships can bring positive effects on youth’s academic, whole person and career development. In terms of school attendance, studies on the effects of mentoring showed that students who meet regularly with their mentor are 52% less likely to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class (Kennelly & Monrad, 2007). Youth who have mentors have a higher rate of enrolling to college than those who do not. What is more important is that mentored youth have better attitudes toward school (Thurlow, Sinclair & Johnson, 2002). Regarding their whole person development, a study on evaluating the outcomes of mentoring youth shows that one of the most significant effects of mentoring youth with higher risk is the reduction in depression symptoms. The study also reflects that mentoring promotes positive attitude and relationships (Carla and David, 2013). Mentors also play a significant role in youth’s career development. For example, mentors can prepare their mentees with the skills needed for job hunting and interviews, help them set career goals and bring more opportunities to young people by mentors’ networking.

Qualities of a Mentor

What are the skills and qualities that are important for a successful mentor? Kay and Hinds (2012) suggest that a successful mentor should have knowledge, personal skills and some specific qualities. Knowledge refers to knowledge about mentoring process and the specialist knowledge of the subject. Personal skills include listening, motivating, influencing, fact finding, liaising, staff development, time management and counselling. Mentors may not have the above skills to start with, but the mentees would help them develop during the process of mentoring. The qualities that they lay forward are: “ability to open doors, willingness, commitment, enthusiasm and confidentiality”. On top of the qualities contended by Kay and Hinds, mentors who have a good record in developing people, a genuine interest in seeing people advance and a good networking would have an advantage (Clutterbuck, 2004). Needless to say, responsible mentors are committed and willing to give their time to mentoring.

Things to Consider

Notwithstanding a number of benefits of mentoring, we have to consider some questions in order to gain the most from a mentorship. First thing to consider is the time that a mentor can afford to develop a particular individual. How often and how long can a mentor spend in each meeting? Second thing to consider would be the confidentiality, what “confidential” information that can be shared to the mentee? How should a mentor approach confidential information to the mentee? The last thing is to know where to draw the line. What areas a mentor should cover in the mentorship, and what are too personal? A final advice is, when anything that is beyond a mentor’s skills, knowledge and abilities, he should refer the mentee to another expert.

Mentoring is like a fertiliser, with constant listening, advising and guiding, a mentor helps a mentee grow. The result cannot be seen on the surface in a short period of time, but the quality of a mentee is cultivated of what has been planted within. You are encouraged to play a mentor role to your students, to empower their personal and career development, and strengthen their network; for a rewarding mentoring experience.

References:

Carla,H., & David, L. D., (2013). The Role of Risk Mentoring Experiences and Outcomes for Youth with Varying Risk Profiles. Retrieved February 14, 2017, from http://www.mdrc.org/publication/role-risk

Clutterbuck, D. (2004). Everyone needs a mentor: Fostering talent in your organisation. London : Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Kay, D., & Hinds, R. (2012). A practical guide to mentoring 5e: Down to earth guidance on making mentoring work for you. UK: Little, Brown Book Group.

Kennelly, L., & Monrad, M. (2007). Approaches to dropout prevention: Heeding early warning signs with appropriate interventions. National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research.

Thurlow, M. L., Sinclair, M. F., & Johnson, D. R. (2002). Students with Disabilities Who Drop Out of School: Implications for Policy and Practice. Issue Brief: Examining Current Challenges in Secondary Education and Transition, 1(2).

什麼是導師 (Mentor)?

嘗試、失敗、學習和成長是人生必經的學習歷程。在這個歷程中,我們可能需要其他人來支持我們、聆聽我們、與我們分享智慧,引導我們走向成功。那個人可能是我們的合作夥伴、朋友、親人,甚至是我們的導師。「導師」(Mentor)一詞源於希臘神話故事,故事中名為Mentor的人是奧德修斯的兒子Telemachus的顧問及指導者,為人忠誠、可信。時至今天,我們將可信賴的顧問及指導者稱為導師,他們傳授智慧並與資歷尚淺的人分享經驗。 你有沒有想過在職業專才教育中為你的學生擔當循循善誘的導師角色,在他們學習過程裡,給他們指引及提供意見呢?

導師對學生的積極影響

研究指出,優質的導師導生(Mentee)關係可以對年青人的學業、個人成長和職業發展產生積極的影響。在上課出席率方面,一項針對導師導生關係效果的研究表示,定期與導師會面的學生與沒有定期與導師會面的學生相比,缺課一整天的傾向低52%,而逃課的傾向則低37%(Kennelly& Monrad,2007)。有導師的年青人比沒有導師的年青人有更高的大學或職業學校入讀比率。更重要的是,有導師的年青人對學校持有更正面的態度(Thurlow,Sinclair& Johnson,2002)。關於他們的個人發展,一項關於指導青少年導生的成效研究結果反映,導師導生關係有助高危的年青人減少抑鬱症狀。該研究還指出「指導」(mentoring)有助促進人們的積極態度和關係(Carla和David,2013)。導師亦在年青人的職業發展中發揮重要作用,例如,導師可以協助導生裝備求職和面試所需的技能,幫助他們定立事業目標,及通過導師的人際網絡為年青人帶來更多的機會。

導師的素質

一位成功的導師需具備什麼技能和素質? Kay和Hinds(2012)認為成功的導師應該具備知識和個人技能。知識是指關於指導過程的知識和專業知識。個人技能包括聆聽、激勵、薰陶、尋找事實、聯繫、員工發展、時間管理和諮詢。在開初的階段,導師可能未備有上述的技能,但在指導的過程中,導生會幫助他們發展。Kay和Hinds(2012)總結導師的素質是:「開放接納、意願、承諾,熱忱和保密的能力」。除了Kay和Hinds提出的質素外,在培訓人才方面具豐富經驗、喜見他人的進步和擁有良好人際網絡的導師亦有優勢(Clutterbuck,2004)。當然,盡心盡責、願意為導生付出時間,才能稱得上一位負責任的導師吧。

需要考慮的事情

儘管指導的好處很多,但我們必須考慮一些實際問題以獲得最大的效益。首先要考慮的是導師能為導生付出的時間。導師與導生的會面可以多頻密?每次會面時間多長?第二件事要考慮的是保密性,什麼「機密」資料可以向導生透露,什麼不可?導師該如何向導生傳達機密訊息?最後一點是要知道在哪裡劃分界線。導師在指導過程中應該包括哪些範疇?哪些太私人?當指導範疇超出導師的知識或技能時,他應該將導生的問題轉介給其他專家了。

指導就像肥料,透過不斷的聆聽、建議和指導,導師幫助導生成長。雖然其果效不能在一時三刻呈現出來,但肯定的是導生的質素受到導師播下的種子影響,將逐漸發芽成長。老師們大可考慮一下,為學生擔當導師的角色,幫助他們的個人和職業發展、加強他們的人際網絡;同時享受過程中帶來的樂趣和裨益。

參考文獻:

Carla,H., & David, L. D., (2013). The Role of Risk Mentoring Experiences and Outcomes for Youth with Varying Risk Profiles. Retrieved February 14, 2017, from http://www.mdrc.org/publication/role-risk

Clutterbuck, D. (2004). Everyone needs a mentor: Fostering talent in your organisation. London : Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Kay, D., & Hinds, R. (2012). A practical guide to mentoring 5e: Down to earth guidance on making mentoring work for you. UK: Little, Brown Book Group.

Kennelly, L., & Monrad, M. (2007). Approaches to dropout prevention: Heeding early warning signs with appropriate interventions. National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research.

Thurlow, M. L., Sinclair, M. F., & Johnson, D. R. (2002). Students with Disabilities Who Drop Out of School: Implications for Policy and Practice. Issue Brief: Examining Current Challenges in Secondary Education and Transition, 1(2).

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