Carnegie Education

Mentoring Matters

On March 4th from 6.30-8.30pm CollectivED is hosting our free online spring hub event.  Our theme is mentoring, and how it provides a foundation for career-long and profession-wide development. We would love you to join us.

The evening includes a live chain reaction conversation, with six contributors taking the role of interviewer and interviewee in turn. This will allow cases of practice and research to be discussed and themes to emerge.  The second part of the event will be an open discussion with the event participants.  The session will be hosted by Professor Rachel Lofthouse. 

We are really looking forward to welcoming out event contributors who bring with them insights and expertise from research and practice and who will be reflecting on mentoring across a range of educational contexts. In this blogpost they offer some key insights which provide a flavour of the conversation to come. 

Dr Marc Turu (@marcturu), is a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and recently completed PhD related to teacher preparedness.  His research demonstrates the importance of reflecting on the  professional assumptions held by mentors and the language they use. He believes that Newly Qualifies Teachers (NQTs) require mentors to find the balance between the technical aspects of teaching and a more critical and intellectual approach. He also recognises that NQTs should embrace mentoring as a collaborative process in order to avoid potentially being introduced to narrow understandings of what teaching and learning is.  

Dr Jo Finch (@Jojofinchers) is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of East London. She has researched the experiences of practice educators of trainee social workers.  Like in teacher education they have a multi-faceted role which includes as mentor, assessor, manager, facilitator, teacher, supporter, planner, mediator and gatekeeper to the profession. Jo recognises that the tough but enjoyable role is not always fully appreciated or understood by managers and social work university tutors. Jo also brings insights of the emotional climate and possible psychological processes inherent in the intense relationships between mentor and student. 

Daniel Duke (@Daniel_s_Duke ) is an FE Teaching and Learning Coach, CollectivED Fellow and student on our PGCert in Coaching and Mentoring for Education Practitioners. Daniel recognises the importance of trusting relationships as the first imperative link in the chain if mentoring is to be utilised as a change agent. He believes that mentoring needs to sit within a culture which fosters a togetherness by being inclusive, expansive, reflective and collaborative allowing individuals to feel valued and integrated into their own teams, where they believe that they can succeed. Daniel notes the ongoing tensions related to performativity and worries that it suffocates the extraordinary.  

Charis Hart is a secondary teacher and CollectivED Fellow. She plays a lead role in mentoring and supported mentors in her setting. She is interested in the relationships between coaching and mentoring and notes the importance of appropriate training and support for mentors in mentoring and coaching and the value of communities of practice). She feels that there is a need for an appropriate coach/mentor pathway in schools, fully supported and respected. One key element of this is the understanding of coachees/mentees as adult learners, and the fact that their previous experiences can be tapped into and explored to develop novel and bespoke approaches to development. As a practicing teacher Charis is persuaded of the impact of working with mentees/coachees in a reciprocal way to develop and improve professional practice, citing the importance of co-learning and collaboration. 

Haili Hughes (@HughesHaili) is a secondary teacher and author. In preparing her recent book on mentoring Haili learned the value of mentoring in making or breaking a new teacher’s career. She found that a good mentor can make a huge difference, but that conversely an unskilled mentor can be one of the factors to drive some inexperienced practitioners to leave the profession. She also recognised that the huge disparity in the quality of mentors across the education sector and that this mostly stems from the lack of funding, time and training that is offered to them.

Emmajane Milton (@EmmajaneMilton1) is a Reader in Education at Cardiff University. Like Charis Emma believes that professional learning for mentors is vital, that mentors need to be supported and nurtured to undertake this role and to develop shared understandings and approaches to mentoring. She also recognises that mentoring can provide rich reciprocal professional learning for both the mentor and mentee. Emma recognises that a critical success factor in mentoring is valuing diversity, and that there is no one way to mentor.  The crucial understanding is that mentors need to meet mentees where they are not where the mentor wants them to be and that each mentoring relationship is unique. 

So, will you join us for our conversation on why mentoring matters? We welcome attendance and discussion with mentors working in a variety of educational settings. Our contributors would love student teachers, and early career teachers to be present and contribute to the discussion. They would like to share their insights with colleagues in those in strategic roles, such as policy officials, ITTE providers and senior leaders, who can advocate for the value of mentoring and ensure that it is resourced and supported.  Our interest goes beyond teaching to the role of mentors in educating other professions and we would be pleased to welcome practice educators from social work, or clinical settings. 

To book a place please use this link.  

Professor Rachel Lofthouse

Professor / Carnegie School Of Education

Rachel Lofthouse is Professor of Teacher Education in the Carnegie School of Education. She has a specific research interest in professional learning, exploring how teachers learn and how they can be supported to put that learning into practice.

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