Mentor handbook


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UoL Mentoring training, by Elizabeth Cornish

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Mentor handbook

  1. 1. Mentoring Handbook 2012/13
  2. 2. WelcomeCongratulations on being accepted to be a mentor.In this handbook you will find all the information you need to mentor a group of newstudents and help them in their transition to life at the University of Leicester.You will find information on what is expected of you, the boundaries of your role, groupmanagement techniques, and even activities to get your group talking.If you have any questions, please contact your department Co-ordinator:Biological SciencesDr. Jon Brocklesby and Nicole Buddy NetworkElizabeth Steven thanks to University College London Transition Mentors Programme for the use oftheir Transition Mentor Handbook 2011/12. 2
  3. 3. Contents:4 Role and responsibilities4 Your Role5 Confidentiality5 Keeping Safe5 Boundaries6 Time Commitment7 Working with your mentor group7 The first group meeting7 Meeting ideas8 Further meetings8 Icebreakers10 Final Meeting11 Group Dynamics11 General guidelines12 Inclusive groups13 Reporting and Feedback13 Online Materials14 Useful Websites and Services16 Appendix: Disability Etiquette Guide 3
  4. 4. Roles and Responsibilities:Your RoleMentors are facilitators. You will be facilitating discussion and enabling the smoothtransition of students. It is your job to form a relaxed partnership with your group to makethem feel comfortable, so that they can express their feelings, ask questions and raiseconcerns without fear or embarrassment. You should engage with your mentees the wayyou would with friends, but be mindful of the responsibilities of your role and the influenceyou may have on your mentees actions. In your role we expect you to:  Maintain contact with mentees over the arranged period (1 term)  If you are matched with students prior to their arrival in Leicester, establish a relationship with them by email before they arrive  Be available for students to contact you by email or phone. Aim to respond to emails within three days of receiving them  Notify your students if you will not be able to respond to emails or phone calls for any reason i.e. holiday  Meet your students regularly (e.g. once per week) for the duration of your programme  Forward any enquiries or problems to the relevant department when you are unable to answer a question or it is out of your remit  Encourage students to get involved in University life  Provide informal support for mentees  Attend welcome event where you will meet mentees  Complete any online training, and attend training workshop  Notify the Co-ordinator if any of your mentees are not responding or say they are no longer interested in the programme  Complete meeting contact sheets and contact evaluation forms and return them to the coordinator on the set dates We don’t expect you to:  Try to solve your mentees personal/social problems  Try to solve a departmental or academic problem  Put yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable  Proof read your mentees work  Jeopardise your own safety or course work to support your mentees 4
  5. 5. Confidentiality  You are not in a position to offer students total confidentiality (i.e. they don’t want you to tell anyone). If they ask for your total confidence you cannot give it because you cannot predict what they will tell you. If they really want this level of confidentiality you can refer them to another source.  You are not in a position to speak to a third party on behalf of your mentee. For instance you should not speak to their department, a friend, another student or family member on their behalf.  If there is a concern for a student’s welfare you should inform your Co-ordinator who may pass information on to the relevant department; i.e. Student Psychological and Healthy Living Service or Student Welfare Service.  Confidentiality can only be provided by Chaplains, Counsellors, Doctors and the Students’ Union whose actions are backed by professional codes of practice, and in the case of the Chaplains, Canon law.Keeping Safe  Arrange to meet in a public place. Do not arrange to meet in each other’s homes.  Take your mobile phone with you when you go to meet your group.  Always tell someone where you are going.  Record the names and contact details of the people you are meeting.  Trust your instincts. If someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t take the risk. Make your excuse to leave and inform the coordinator as soon as you can.BoundariesWhile you should be friendly as a mentor, and may well establish long lasting friendshipswith your mentees, your ultimate role is to facilitate students’ integration into Universitylife, encourage involvement, and signpost to other services. Therefore in your role it isimportant that you maintain personal and professional boundaries:  Do not read your mentees academic work even if they ask you to. This is not the purpose of your role and it could jeopardise the relationship. If a student asks you to help, let them know you are not allowed.  Use appropriate, clean language in front of your mentees.  Respect group members. Do not pressure them into doing anything they may not want to do (e.g. drink alcohol).  Be aware of the limitation of your role. If there are any questions you cannot answer, refer your student to someone who can help. You can refer to your ‘Making Connections’ leaflet to do this. 5
  6. 6.  Do not give immigration advice. This is an illegal offence. You and the University could be held liable if you give advice because you are not trained to give any immigration advice. Everyone’s case is different and therefore you cannot speak from your own knowledge.  Maintain professionalism and appropriate boundaries when communicating via email or on social networking sites.Time Commitment  Attend Welcome Event organised by your department/programme coordinator  Meet with students at least once a week  Take part in organised social events  Attend compulsory feedback session  Different mentoring schemes may have slightly different expectations in terms of your time commitment. Contact your programme Co-ordinator if you need further clarification. 6
  7. 7. Working with your mentor group:The first meeting:  Your first group meeting will be at a welcome event organised by your department in the first or second week of term.  The first group meeting is about everyone getting to know each other and clarifying expectations about the programme. Your department may provide you with an activity to get you started, but the meeting should generally be quite relaxed and informal.  Begin by introducing yourself and tell your group a little about yourself, your course, what year you’re in, where you are from etc. Then ask each of your group members to introduce themselves. You could also try using one of the icebreakers to get people talking.  Ask some questions about how they’ve found the University so far. You can also tell them about your experiences, but be careful not to dominate the conversation.  Spend some time discussing the aims on the mentor programme and how it will work. You could start by asking them what they expect to get out of the programme and correct any misguided ideas. Make sure they know what you can and can’t do as a mentor, and let them know that if something arises which you can’t deal with, you will be able to refer them to a person or service with the relevant experience.  Brainstorm a list of questions or concerns students still have. Is there anything they are unsure about their course? Is there anything that they have not yet organised or understood?  Discuss the structure of the mentor programme so that all students know how often you will meet and what other activities are happening. Emphasise that the group is for them so they should feel free to suggest activities and say what they would like to do. Set the agenda for next week.  Discuss and agree how you want to stay in contact with each other and exchange contact details as necessary.  End the meeting on a positive note and say that you’re looking forward to the next meeting and hope to see them all there.Meeting IdeasA ‘meeting’ does not have to be a formal meeting where you ask your group lots ofquestions for an hour. There are plenty of things you can do together. Here are someexamples of what previous mentors have done with their mentees, to get you started:  Attend a society event  Go shopping together 7
  8. 8.  Invite your mentees to meet your friends  Meet at your favourite local café for lunch  Give your group a campus tour. You could take them to the Careers Service, Student Welfare Service, and Freemen’s Common Health Service etc  Show your group around the library and show them how to search for books  Show your group around the Students’ Union  Invite your group to a society event that you are involved in  Go to the New Walk Museum  Plan a trip to the cinema, theatre, a local gig, park, sports game  Show your mentees around the countryside, particularly if you live in Oadby  Do a sporting activity together  Make crafts together  Go to an open-mic nightIf you are mentoring international students you may also like to do the following:  Go on a trip to a traditional English pub to try British food  Take your group to the supermarket, to explain the food, and teach them about cooking  Invite them to celebrate a British holiday/festival with youFurther meetings  Start each meeting with a catch up with questions about how they’ve been, whether they have encountered any difficulties this past week, or have any questions.  Do something fun!  Decide on the next time to meet.IcebreakersIt is crucial for your group’s success that you learn everyone’s names and that they learneach other’s. Knowing their names is a sign that you are genuinely interested in each personas an individual and reduces any feelings of anonymity.Icebreaker games are one of the best ways to learn names and people feel comfortable in agroup. The following games are suggestions that can help get people talking. Remember toalways ask people to repeat their names when contributing during the game.Speed DatingLine everyone up so they are facing a pair, give each person a question to ask their oppositepartner. Give each pair three minutes each to ask their question of one another. Then one 8
  9. 9. side should move along to another partner, the opposite side stays still. Continue this untilthe original pairs are back together.Roll the diceA different way to ask the questions above. Bring a dice to the meeting: everyone takesturns to roll and each number represents a new question to answer. 1. Why did you choose this degree programme and Leicester? 2. What did you do last year? 3. What has been the best thing that’s happened at university so far? 4. What has been the most challenging aspect of university so far? 5. What has been the most unexpected thing about university so far? 6. What are you most looking forward to during your time at Leicester?Things in CommonEach student pairs up with another student who they don’t know. They must find threethings that they have in common then introduce each other to the group with their findings.You may then find that others in the group have the same things in common.The Magic WandImagine you have a magic wand that allows you to change three things about the Universityof Leicester. You can change anything you want. How would you change yourself, yourprogramme, the facilities, the place you live, etc? This can be done as a large group or inpairs or small groups.Ball tossEveryone stands in a circle. Throw a ball around and say the name of the person you throwit to. Add a second ball into the circle at the same time to add to the speed!Memorising namesGo around in a circle. The first person says their name, then the second person says theirname and also the first person’s name, the third person says their name and the first andsecond person’s name, and so on around the circle. A game where it’s good to volunteer togo first, as the last person has to remember everyone!Truth and LiesEach person has to say three things about themselves; two of which are true and one whichis made up. All three should be believable but perhaps odd enough to trick the group. Thegroup then guesses which statement is the lie. Whoever is right records one point and thewinner is the person who has the most correct guesses at the end. 9
  10. 10. The final meetingThe mentor programme officially runs during the first term, so after this point, if you wantto continue meeting with your group it would be on your own accord.Your department may have a celebration to mark the end of the mentoring programme.This is an opportunity for you to celebrate the time you have had with your group. At thefinal meeting be sure to wish your group well in the rest of their degree. Also, try and leavetime to get some feedback from your group about how they think the programme has gone. 10
  11. 11. Group DynamicsGeneral guidelinesAll groups will be different because of the people within them. Some groups will get alongimmediately, while others may take a little longer to flourish. Here are some generalguidelines on how to manage your group.  Listen carefully, try not to interrupt, and respond to questions people ask.  Explain yourself clearly and perhaps in different ways if people appear confused about what you say – especially if you have people in your group for whom English is their second language, or who might have other communication difficulties.  If your group runs out of things to do, take some time out to review progress so far, ask them how they feel the group is going and if they have any suggestions for improvement.What If you have a problem with your group?Managing a mentor group is not always easy. If you are having problems with your group orsimply need advice, remember you are not on your own. You can always contact yourprogramme Co-ordinator who is there to support you. You can also talk to other mentors tosee what has or hasn’t worked for them.What if one of your mentees is not responding to your emails?There could be a range of reasons why someone is not responding to your emails. They maysimply not have received them, may not want to be involved in the programme any longerbut don’t want to tell you outright. In most cases it is nothing to worry about. Try and followup with a text or phone call if you haven’t heard from them after a few days.If you have not received responses to your emails from someone that would normallyrespond and you have a reason to be concerned, make your programme Co-ordinator aware.What if your group dwindles to only one or two mentees?Try and get in touch with your group members to find out why they are no longer coming tomeetings. It’s worth emailing everyone a few days before each meeting to remind them. Itmay be that the times of meetings have been inconvenient or that the group is not fulfillingtheir expectations. Some students might find that they no longer need the support of amentor group. Remember that this is not a reflection on you. However if your group doesdwindle, let your Co-ordinator know because they may be able to merge your group withanother, or allocate you more mentees. 11
  12. 12. What if one of your mentees wants to drop out of the programme?If this happens, try and find out why they no longer want to be involved. They may no longerneed support, or they could be feeling uncomfortable within the group. If there is a problem,there may be an opportunity to resolve it. Whatever their reason for dropping out, informyour Co-ordinator.What if one of my mentees wants to switch groups?If one of your mentees asks to switch groups, don’t take this personally. It is possible thatthey just want to join a group with their friends. Speak to your Co-ordinator about arrangingthis.Inclusive groupsIt is important to try and be as inclusive as possible with your group to make sure no onefeels left out. It is likely that you will have a very diverse group of students from differentcultural, social, ethnic and educational backgrounds. Try and be aware of differences withinthe group and make everyone feel comfortable.  For students with English as a second language, speak more slowly and clearly if there are any misunderstandings, try to find a different way to say the same thing, or ask the group to help you explain.  Avoid stereotyping or making judgements about people.  Remember that everyone has a different background and you can’t make assumptions about anyone.  Create a general atmosphere of openness, sensitivity and respect in the group by being respectful yourself.  Do not allow racist, sexist or other inappropriate jokes or comments in the group.  If a student has a disability that might limit their participation, ask them (individually, perhaps at the end of the meeting) if there’s anything you can do to help them participate fully in the meetings. 12
  13. 13. Reporting and FeedbackYour coordinator may ask you to provide updates on how the programme is going. Theyshould only take you a couple of minutes to fill in, but they are very important to thedevelopment of the programme. While we would like you to meet with your group everyweek, and we hope everything will run smoothly, we are aware this isn’t always the case.Please try and be as accurate in your reports as possible so we can understand if there areany issues and try and make changes.At the end of the programme you will also be expected to complete an evaluation. Again,your feedback is incredibly important for us to improve the programme for students in thefuture.Leicester AwardIf you are gaining accreditation for your involvement in mentoring it is essential that youcomplete and return reports to gain credit.Online MaterialsIf you would like further information, or would like to recap on anything covered during thetraining workshop you can do this at our website: careers/ld/peer-mentoring 13
  14. 14. Useful Websites and ServicesStudent Welfare Service Freemen’s Common Health Centre  0116 223 1185  0844 815 1105 ChaplaincyCareers Service   0116 285 6493 0116 252 2004  Accommodation OfficeAccessAbility Centre  0116 252 2428 0116 252 5002  Students’ UnionEducation Unit   0116 223 1124_the_education_unit  0116 223 1132 Safety Bus  Language Teaching Unit  0116 223 1123  0116 229 7856/7 Nightline Service  0116 223 1230 (8pm – 8am term time)Student Counselling  0116 223 1780 Library   0116 252 2043Healthy Living  0116 223 1268 Admissions  missionsMental Wellbeing Service  0116 252 5281  0116 252 2283 SU-Lets   0116 223 1180/1173  14
  15. 15. Cashiers Office +44 (0)116 252 2393 (Undergraduateenquiries) or +44 (0)116 252 2367(Postgraduate enquiries)International office 0116 252 2296 15
  16. 16. Appendix:DISABILITY ETIQUETTEMany non-disabled people have surprising apprehensions and fears when interacting withdisabled people. The purpose of this disability etiquette information is to give you a fewguidelines about this interaction, but most of it comes down to basic common sense. In allcommunication with disabled people, it is important to understand that there are somewidely used words and phrases that give offence, because they reinforce prejudices andpreconceptions which should be challenged.This section looks at language, behaviour and common courtesies which should be usedthroughout the communication process. Try to remember this terminology when meeting orworking with disabled people. Most importantly, do not get ‘hung up’ over language andbehave as naturally as possible. If in doubt ask the person you are talking to for advice,rather than use words that offend.Language  Use ‘disabled’ person rather than ‘handicapped’ person. This word derived from a fourteenth century horse racing term where those riders with gifted horses were required to ride with a cap in one hand. This ‘cap in hand’ terminology is offensive to many disabled people as it implies begging.  Refrain from using the word ‘disabled’ as a noun, i.e. ‘The Disabled’; it implies a homogenous group separate from the rest of society. Disabled people are all ‘unique’ individuals: ‘The Disabled’ do not constitute a group apart. Use ‘disabled person’ or ‘person with a disability’.  A person is not a condition; avoid referring to an individual by the condition they have. An ‘Arthritic’ is a ‘person with arthritis’; a ‘Spastic’ is a ‘person who has cerebral palsy’.  Avoid attaching labels to people with or without disabilities. For example, the word ‘normal’ has no real meaning if we are all different. It also implies that disabled people are ‘standard deviations’.Words to be avoided:  VICTIM - use person who has/with/person who experienced.  CRIPPLED BY - use person who has/person with  SUFFERING FROM - use person who has/person with  AFFLICTED BY - use person who has/person with  WHEELCHAIR BOUND – use wheelchair user  CONFINED TO A WHEELCHAIR – use wheelchair user  MENTAL HANDICAP – use person with learning disabilities 16
  17. 17.  MENTAL ILLNESS – use person with mental health problems  INVALID (literally means not valid) – use disabled person  DEAF AND DUMB – use a person who is deaf and without speech  MUTE – use a person without speech.Offering Help  Most disabled people do not need any extra help. The commonest reason for requiring help is a restrictive environment.  Disabled people are all individuals; some will be very confident in asking for help, others will struggle on regardless.  Never leap in, assuming what help is needed and how to provide it. Offer help if you feel it may be required by enquiring “Are you OK?” or “Is there anything I can do?”, or “Do you need some help?”  Disabled people have every right to say no.  Disabled people may get stroppy; this can be for various reasons. For example, they may have been offered help seventeen times that day already, or they are simply being rude and unreasonable. If you believe it to be the latter, you should confront them. Allowing disabled people to get away with inappropriate behaviour is just as patronising as patting them on the head.General Behaviour and Information  When offering assistance to a blind person, ask them directly what you need to do, but as a rule allow the person to take your arm. You should guide rather than lead or propel the person. Advise on steps and other obstacles as they occur.  To help a blind person sit down, place their hand on the back of the chair and tell them what you have done.  Advise a blind person when you are leaving them as they may end up talking to fresh air.  Introduce yourself by name on meeting a blind person, as they may not recognise your voice.  In welcoming a blind person to a room in which they have not been before, give a brief synopsis of the ‘geography’ (shape, size and windows) and contents (furniture and people) of the room.  If a Guide Dog is present, always ask the owner’s permission before you pat the dog.  Leaning on a person’s wheelchair is often annoying for the occupant; it sometimes makes the chair move. But do not allow the chair to become a barrier to appropriate physical contact.  When talking to a person in a wheelchair for any length of time, get to their eye level. 17
  18. 18.  Do not grab the back of someone’s wheelchair to push them along. Wheelchair users usually either move around under their own power, or use powered chairs. If a person is struggling ask if they require assistance.  Never touch or move crutches or walking sticks without the user’s consent; you may make the person lose balance or make it more difficult for the user to stand if they are sitting.  Establish if a deaf person can lip-read. Look directly at the person and speak clearly and naturally. Do not shout or exaggerate lip movement, as this will distort understanding.  Facial expressions and gesturing help deaf people understand you. Face the source of light and keep hands, cigarettes and food away from your mouth when speaking and do not wear sunglasses. If difficulties occur, use written notes. Avoid clothing or jewellery that can distract from your face if regularly communicating with a person who lip-reads.  Many deaf people prefer to use sign language; it is a language like any other, with its own grammar. Interpreters should be provided if deaf people are present at meetings or in an official interview situation. Find out if you need BSL (British Sign Language) or SSE (Signed Supported English) interpreters.  If you are with a deaf person and an audible warning, fire bell or an announcement is given, make sure they understand what is happening.  If someone has speech impairment do not finish the end of sentences or pretend you understand them when you do not. Always ask them to repeat themselves, even if it takes several attempts.  Do not make assumptions about the existence or absence of disabilities – some people have hidden disabilities, e.g. people who have epilepsy, sickle cell anaemia, dyslexia or other specific learning difficulty in a higher education context.Conversation and Common Courtesies  Talk directly to a disabled person rather than through a companion. Relax and make eye contact.  Do not be embarrassed about using common expressions, such as “See you later” or “I’ll be running along then”, which may relate to a person’s impairment.  Many jokes are based on humour that exploits an individual’s impairments. These are thoroughly offensive and should be challenged in the same way that you should challenge all racist, sexist and heterosexist jokes. Silence implies agreement.  Resist the temptation to ask negative or intrusive questions like “What’s wrong with you?” or “Have you always been like that?” When you meet someone, it’s more constructive if you ask positive questions. 18
  19. 19.  If you are organising a meeting or conference to which you hope to attract disabled people, consult disabled people on access issues. Also, ensure you have a statement on your posters, welcoming disabled people and advising on access provision.  Ask a disabled person which position or seat is best for them; e.g. some people need an area which is well lit, and another person may prefer a higher chair.  Shaking hands: advise a blind or partially sighted person that you are about to shake their hand; they may not be able to see your hand. If you are uncertain about shaking hands with a wheelchair user, ask the person. They may say, “Please do”; proceed in the normal way. With a very few people, because of lack of movement, you may have to take their hand. Occasionally someone may say no, because movement hurts them.  If food or refreshments are available, explain what is there if a person is unable to see, either because they are blind or partially sighted, or if they are a wheelchair user and the table is too high. Ask if they require assistance, either to be served or in other ways.These notes are reproduced with the permission of Dr. Stephen Duckworth of:Disability Matters Ltd.,The Old Dairy,Tiebridge Farm,North Houghton,StockbridgeHants. SO20 6LQTel: 01264 811120; Fax: 01264 810889; Web: 19