PEER MENTORING IN PRACTICE


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Week 4. 21/10/15 EMPATHY

Through Carl Rogers theory on empathy we were able to engage in various ways of understanding and sharing the feelings of others. I learnt that empathy is not just a technical but also emotional process, which involved placing yourself in the other persons shoes in order to feel what they were feeling. According to Carl Rogers (reference………)

We were shown a video of empathy and in addition scenarios of applying   empathy whilst supporting our mentees. It seemed very clear that empathy took a vital place in the mentoring field.” Empathy early in the relationship predicts later success”. ( Barrell -Lennard, 1962; Tausch, 1973).

As the morning moved on, through self reflection of what I had learnt that day I was able to apply what I had experienced  whilst mentoring my mentee. I was able to see why I had done it and why it works. It allowed me to see what changes and improvement I could bring forth.

I was able to understand the true meaning of empathy by my experiences with my Mentee and mistakes whilst  in the classroom. Reflecting on what I had done enabled me to leap from just experiencing into understanding.

At the end of the day I make it a priority to self reflect on my peer mentoring learning and activities in the classroom and the sessions I have with the mentees. It helps me to see how well I preformed, my strengths and areas for improvement. I look at how I can improve and what can I improve on after each lesson/session and what to do now. The above gives me structure, allowing things to be done the right way.

Today was a brilliant day for my mentor and me. I was able to support her accademically and mentally. She was very thankful and gave me positive feedback. I feel there was nothing to improve on today and will continue with today’s performance for next week.

 

 

 

 


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Week 3. 14/10/15 Peer Mentoring – Meeting our Mentees

Today we were to meet our mentees again, beforehand we discussed within my group what preparations we would put forth for them today. We decided to concentrate on the mentees completing their blogs. Whilst mentoring a young lady I observed a Mentee sitting in front of us, he kept looking back towards us and seemed rather eager to proceed on his computer but something was holding him back. I asked if he was ok and he replied that he needed help setting up his blog. The other mentors were busy too, so I asked him to give me a few minutes and I would attend to him. By the time I got there he seemed quite anxious and agitated. With a raised voice he start to explain that he had created a blog but it had vanished. I asked him to calm down and tried to help him find it, after a short while we decided to make another one. I tried to guide him through making the blog on his mobile phone, when he started to raise his voice again, saying that he couldn’t do it and insisting that I do it for him.

initially his approach made me cross and l started to judge him as a horrible person. I thought here I am trying to help you, yet look at the way you are speaking to me. His action at the time made it impossible for me to establish empathy or apply active listening skills in order to put myself in his position and try and analyse his behaviour. Throughout this experience even though his attitude upset me, I managed to be professional and refrained from raising my voice as I asked him not to speak to me like that or else I would not be able to assist him.. I reminded him that I was there has a mentor to help and support him and he should respect that.

Has the  blog started to take form the mentees attitude completely changed, he had become much calmer and started to be humorous and apologetic for his actions. In looking back at the incident I would’ve done things differently. Firstly, I would


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WEEK 2. 7/10/15 Do’s and Don’ts of mentoring

Today I  will be reflecting on what I have learnt in regards to the do’s and don’ts of mentoring. Reflecting is very important and has a positive influence  on learning. It allows us as Mentors the opportunity to see situations from different angles and also learn from mistakes ,therefore improving  performance.

According to (Burns & Sinfield 2012), “What is reflection? Generally, we learn through experience, thinking about that experience and then making adjustments for the future”.

The morning began with us allocating into small groups where we had a discussion on the do’s and don’ts of mentoring , we  then returned to the whole group where we discussed what we believed was acceptable of peer mentoring and what was not. Amongst the list of do’s included, always listen (active listening), always reflect on our own behaviour/experience, keep eye contact, show respect and patience, be encouraging and be on time. Some of the don’ts entailed not being judgemental and negative,not to speak over Mentees, not to use closed body language, not to be rude and not to cross boundaries.

Alongside the discussion we engaged in role play. The activity involved listening and speaking with our backs against each other, without the use of eye contact, facial expressions and body language.  Without the use of these tools I found listening and speaking to the other person extremely strained and difficult, the other person felt likewise. The conversation in regards to this activity was based on the difficulties that we had encountered on our way to University. I felt like the feedback given from the other person held no empathy or connection. I also felt I wasn’t effectively being listened to, this resulted me putting up a barrier and ending the conversation. The other person within the role play felt exactly the same and also stopped talking. The breakdown in our conversation seemed inevitable as it lacked active listening and “basically, it requires that we get inside the speaker, that we grasp, from his point of view, just what it is he is communicating to us” (Rogers & Farson 1987).

When the activity was over I began to reflect on the experiences of both sides of the coin as the listener and the speaker and realised how awful I felt without the essential presence of an active listener. This enhanced my decision to engage in literature which will develop my skills of being an active listener and I will also keep a log of what I have learnt. In doing so this will make my “learning

I believe today’s tasks were crucial, as it gave me a wider understanding of the role I needed to adapt and some of the skills needed in order to make a difference in helping the Mentees reach their potentials. Role play was a great way of making me understand the difficulties of listening without the visual use of facial expressions and body language. Role play also enabled me to feel the importance of  these tools which will be an asset in my journey as a Mentor.


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WEEK 1. 30/09/15 My personal blog which demonstrates my learning on the peer mentoring module

September the 30th was my first day on the peer mentoring module. We were introduced to the course by our Becoming Course Leader, where we were given an insight to the module and its connection with practical peer mentoring experience. We engaged in various activities which linked to peer mentoring practices. One was an ice breaker, which was an excellent informal way of relaxing the group and getting to know everyone. The ice breaker involved effective listening  skills as we had to memorise everyone’s name. This activity tested our listening skills, to be an effective mentor we have to listen very  well or else we will not be able to understand an issue in order to help our Mentee.

The second activity that morning involved an image-mediated dialogue. We were given a selection of images, where in groups we were able to identify what we thought represented peer mentoring/peer mentoring processes. This was a great task, I really  thought this was an eye opener activity. The main purpose of this activity I believe was for the group to see and be able to feel how vulnerable, lost and fearful it must be sitting on the Mentee’s side of the table. This made me aware that for Mentee’s to develop their confidence and reach their potential, it would be essential that as a Mentor I be an active listeners, non-judgemental, supportive, friendly, patient and to place myself as a Mentor in the Mentee’s position.

We were asked to reflect all the activities we had done that morning. We were to include not only what we did, but why it was done, our reactions to it and mistakes learnt to take onto peer mentoring role. We were given five minutes to ‘free write’ our reflection. We were also encouraged to write a weekly blog as reflecting writing would be vital to this module.

In reflection to all that I have done and learnt his morning, I am able to develop a broader understanding of what is expected of me to take to my peer mentoring session. The activities in class have been beneficial and will be of great help, whilst mentoring. As a Mentor I will continuously  be learning and reflecting and  look forward to sharing my experiences of now and last year with the Mentee’s in order for them to progress and reach their potential whilst here at University.


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Week 5 Exploring formal and informal learning spaces. 29.10.2014

Week five at the university was an out of class activity. We were asked to get into groups and explore the university’s different learning spaces in terms of formal and informal learning.

The group and I decided we would explore the library’s learning spaces.
Our first observation was on the ground floor, here there seemed to be quite a lot of social activities taking place. In the cafeteria students were sitting in groups, some drinking tea or coffee and interacting in a chatty informal manner.

On the right hand side of the ground floor there where a few loungers which were all in use, we observed that the atmosphere there was very similar to that in the cafeteria. There was also a large computer area here where some students were sitting at the desks talking to the person next to them, but the majority were working alone and unaffected by the talking around them. Nearby was a semi circular area which we found out to be a group zone area. The students here seemed very engaged and active, it seemed they were practicing for a group presentation.

Moving up from the ground floor is the Mezzanine, this floor was similar to the ground floor in terms of students hanging around in groups. Here we noticed there were several group cubicle areas and a lot of group work taking place, some of the students were taking their studying seriously and some where socialising informally. On the far corner were several group study rooms, the learning there seemed very formal, some of the students were learning together and some were being taught by a lecturer.

On the first floor is a library , computer areas, and individual private cubicle spaces. Most of the students here are studying alone and only a handful in pairs but no large groups. There is no talking aloud on this floor, students are only allowed to talk quietly.

Unlike the first floor the second floor was very silent, the atmosphere there seemed very formal and intense. No one spoke here as it was not allowed. The students here appeared to be very focused.

Our observation on the different learning spaces has opened up our awareness to the fact that everyone’s learning style differs. Some people learn better whilst in a group with group participation and feedback, some work better with background noise and others prefer to work alone with no distraction or sounds.

On completion of exploring the learning spaces i decided to have a coffee in the cafeteria, as I sat there sipping my coffee I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation of the two girls sitting beside me. One of them was complaining that she had some important material that she needed to print off but the money loader on the ground floor was not working so she was unable to top up her card to use the printer she also said she was weak in a particular subject and was thinking of paying for private tuition. The other girl started to advise her on both things, she told her that the University was doing free classes on the first floor on the subject that she needed help with and she also told her that she could top up on line to print her work.

These two girls were in an informal setting having an informal chat but one was able to learn two very important things in that setting. This shows that we do not always need to be in a formal place to learn, we can learn in the home or on the street and everyone has their own unique way of learning.

The university’s library has been an excellent site for learning. In observing the various learning space it has opened up an awareness to the fact that everyone’s learning style differs. Some students’ learn better whilst in a group, with group participation and feedback, while some work better with background noise and others prefer to work alone in silence. Doing this out of class activity has made me seen how important it is to be aware of the different learning styles and spaces and how everyone learns differently an d the importance of knowing what style suits the student needs. This as proved very useful to me and will do later on as I approach the becoming of an educationalist.


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Week 4 Self-efficacy 22.10.14.

Self-efficacy and self-belief is an important factor in the becoming of an educationalist, without this one would lack the belief in his/her ability to complete tasks and reach goals. Self efficacy brings forth confidence which leads to the capability of bringing about learning outcomes.

Teachers with a high sense of efficacy in regards to their teaching capabilities is very beneficial to students as this enhances motivation and cognitive development. Self-efficacy in students can also be enhanced with credible communication and feedback to guide the student or motivate them to make their best effort. Cooperative learning structure is also beneficial, this entails working together as a team, listening to each other’s ideas and giving feedback. Being patient, caring, fair and not judgemental are also qualities that are acquired by the teacher in the boosting of self efficacy.

Human attainments and positive well-being requires an optimistic sense of personal efficacy……… Self-doubts can set in quickly after some failures or reverses. The important matter is not that self-doubt, which is a natural immediate reaction, but the speed of recovery of perceived self-efficacy from difficulties (Bandura, 1989 :1176)

What is vital here is believing in your own efficacy. Teachers with strong beliefs in their own efficacy will be , able to solve problems and most importantly learn from their experiences.

Self-belief, self-efficacy, cooperative learning and fairness all worked hand in hand in impacting on our ability to do well which enabled us to survive the apocalypse. This is my reflection in regards to the above lesson.