Mentoring is usually a relationship between people of different statuses. The mentor is normally older or more experienced than the mentee. Mentoring is used to help people through times of change and transition.Mentoring is a way for two parties to share their experiences withone another, benefiting both parties. Mentoring is a learning process for both parties. You will learn about yourself, your mentee’s, and about relationships.
Encouraging ParticipationAs a mentor, your role is to facilitate. This means encouraging your groupmembers to participate in discussion and activities to aid theirdevelopment and transition to UK life and education. How can you encourage participation? By developing three important skills we will cover: •Questioning •Listening •Using Body Language
Questioning There is a skill to asking the right question. Correct questioning is important in encouraging involvement and building an honest and open relationship with your mentee. Asking embarrassing questions can have a negative effect on the relationship.
How can I ask the right question?The two main types of question are: Closed Questions Open Questions Closed questions require a specific Open questions are aimed at provoking answer, usually answered by a yes/no an extended response. They require the or a single word. These types of speaker to answer in the way they see questions are limiting. fit, with as much or as little information as they feel comfortable disclosing. They can be useful to: •Verify information Open questions enable you to: •Confirm understanding of facts •Establish a rapport and put the other •Confirm agreement or commitment person at ease •Get a decision where there are only •Encourage uninhibited feedback two alternatives •Help to explore opinions in more detail •Create involvement and commitment Example: Have you been to Wales? •Check our understanding more comprehensively Hint: You should avoid asking too many closed questions in succession because Example: What do you enjoy about this can be wearing and intimidating for England? the respondent.
Other types of questions to consider: Reflective Questioning Justifying Questions This is a method of rephrasing what These questions provide anhas been said and reflecting it back opportunity for further explanation ofto the other person. This can be reasons, attitudes or feelings. Theyuseful in testing your own can provide useful responses to aunderstanding of what has been question, but they can also comesaid, and it can encourage the other across as confrontational especially ifperson to talk more. delivered in a challenging way.Example: ‘So what you mean is …, am Example: ‘What makes you so angry?’I correct?’ ‘You say this but are you sure?’ Hypothetical QuestionsThese are questions that pose asituation or suggestion. These can be Probing Questionsuseful if you want to introduce a new These questions build upon a previousidea or concept, check that answer to gain more information orimplications of an earlier answer are clarification about what the speaker hasunderstood, or challenge a response said. These are often the most difficultwithout causing offence. types of questions to ask and can be a mix of open and closed questions.Example: ‘What if…?’
Tips for questioning: Things to avoid:•Develop your own style. Tone of •Avoid asking long-windedvoice, body language and the speed questions, they will probably beyou ask a question can all effect misunderstood.how someone reacts to your •Don’t ask leading or loadedquestion. questions; they usually only•Try to ask clear, concise and demonstrate what you know ratherspecific questions. than what the respondent knows or•Pause to give time for responses thinks.when you ask a question- 10 •Don’t use complex inappropriatesecond rule. language; you simply want to be•Avoid interrupting students understood.answers. •Don’t assume the answer or jump•Consider answers before to the conclusion that what youresponding. hear first is the complete answer.•Check your understanding bysummarising and using reflectivequestions.
Listening‘There is an old sayingthat God gave us twoeyes, two ears but onlyone mouth so that wecould look and listenfour times as much aswe speak.’ (Parsloe 121)
There are three types of listening: Apparent Listening: This is the kind of Peripheral Listening: listening we do most of This is done on a the time. We look as if subconscious level. For we are listening but inexample, you may be in a fact we are not reallybusy restaurant talking to concentrating.the people you are sittingwith, while also picking up snippets of conversation from another table. Active Listening: This is the type of listening we should be doing. This involves really concentrating on not only what is being said but how and why it is being said.
Why is active listening important?•It will help create good relationships withthe people you are listening to.•It means you don’t miss any importantinformation. Active listening is not easy! We are all guilty for switching off in conversations at some point. It is important that you concentrate on what someone is saying. Don’t try and formulate an answer while another person is speaking. Focus on listening.
How do you actively listen? Response From student Interpretation Respond What have you heard? Reaction (Planning) Based on Understanding understanding and evaluation you plan a response Evaluation What do you do with this information?
A process for efficient listening:Stage 1: Carefully • Choose a quiet room or area free from the distraction of other people and noise. Select the • Arrange seating to avoid physical barriers such as a desk, but don’t sit too close. location • Remove or ignore any other distractions and shut the door if possible. • Look interested and maintain eye contact without staring. Stage 2: Create • Be patient- allow the person time to say all they want to say (within reason). the right • Always use their first name. • Maintain a relaxed posture. atmosphere • Be encouraging by leaning forward, nodding, putting your head to one side and smiling when appropriate. • Make listening noises like ‘Mmm’, ‘Yes’, ‘I see’.Stage 3: Practise • Pause before responding to indicate you are digesting what has been said. • Keep an open mind- do not prejudge or interrupt.helpful listening • Be sensitive to mood, facial expressions and body movements to understand the full meaning of what is being said. behaviour • Use questioning techniques to seek more information, summarise and check your understanding.
Understanding Body Language Non-verbal communication can be just as, if not more important than verbal communication. Body language can be a good indicator of people’s emotions about a situation. It can also give you more information than the person is actually verbally communicating. Being aware of your own body language as well as your students’ body language is important in creating a relaxed atmosphere.
Key Non-verbal signs:Boredom can be Empathy can besignalled by picking signalled by smiles,imaginary fluff from open and positivesleeves, pulling at gestures, standing orear, stifled yawning or Nervousness can be sitting close, eyegazing around the signalled by contact or noddingroom. downcast eyes, hand and tilting the head. over the mouth or frequently touching the face, shifting Anger or aggression can weight or fidgeting. A defensive or distrusting be signalled by a rigid attitude can be signalled or tense body if someone sits with their posture, staring crossed leg towards you eyes, clenched fists or while a willingness to clasped hands, tightly trust can be signalled if folded arms, foot the crossed leg is away tapping and finger from you. pointing.
Be aware though! Body language is interpreteddifferently in different cultures: Islamic cultures generally don’t approve of any touching between genders whereas this is more In Western Cultures direct eye acceptable in the contact is seen as positive. UK. Meanwhile, Arabic cultures Many make prolonged eye contact Mediterranean because they believe this cultures exaggerate shows interest and helps them grief or sadness understand the truthfulness of while most a person. Whereas in American men hide Japan, Africa and parts of Latin grief or sorrow. America it is viewed as disrespectful to make direct eye contact.
Managing Meetings Hopefully you don’t come up against any problems with your group, but it is handy to know how to deal with a problem if one does arise. Think about your responses to the following questions: •What will you do if your group members don’t get on? •What will you do if there is a clash in opinion? •What if one of your group members is very overpowering and doesn’t let anyone else speak?
Intervention and challenging Remember: Protect students from interruptions, laughter If you are having and louder voices. Don’t be afraid to step in if a problems with your member is being overpowering, disrespectful to group or you feel another member, or is bullying. uncomfortable, speak to the coordinator.If a conversation is gettingout of hand, try to takecontrol of it without If your group members areinterrupting, so it moves not getting on. Listen to theirforward and any differences problem and suggest ways itare settled without conflict- could be resolved. Try toExample: ‘Can we take stock remain objective and non-and reflect on what you judgemental.have said’.
How will you manage your group? Although mentoring is more about facilitating discussion and encouraging development than leading, you should think about how you will manage your sessions/meetings. •How will you welcome people to your session? •Will you get the students to introduce themselves to each other? If so, how? •How can you make the session feel relaxed, enjoyable ad friendly? •Will you negotiate ground rules for sessions? •Will you use an ‘ice-breaker’? •What will you do if students expect you to teach them? •How will you ensure that individual members communicate with one another? •Will you have anything prepared to discuss in the first session? From Transition Mentors -UCL
Commitment• Make sure you make it to your appointments on time and prioritise your students.• Reply to any emails, texts or phone calls as promptly as possible.• Try not to agree to doing anything you think you cannot manage. This will lead to disappointing your students which could be damaging to the relationship.
Maintaining ContactPart of your role as a mentor is to makecontact with your students regularly tomake sure they are OK, and to checkwhether they need anything.You should arrange to meet with yourstudents once a week, but if a studentdoes not come to a meeting make sureyou contact them via phone or email tofollow up with them.You might be nervous about contactingyour students, but they will be morenervous about contacting you! Don’t beafraid to send them a quick text to remindthem of a meeting or event, or just to letthem know you’re still there if they needyou.
Contact Details It is suggested that you provide your students with your contact details (mobile number and email) at your first meeting and make it clear to them they can contact youYour Contact if they need to.Details Here Don’t give up on anyone. If someone isn’t responding there could be a perfectly viable reason for it. Even if they don’t come to one meeting, invite them to the next. However, if a student is repeatedly not responding/not attending meetings let the Coordinator know.