The Value of a Mentor
The College has introduced a Personal Project requirement (PP) for all Year 9 students and the students commenced this project at the beginning of Term 4. The project will extend through until June 2019 and it is a requirement of the Middle Years Program of the International Baccalaureate. The PP is really the culmination of the MYP and it allows students to explore an area of interest and to spend an extended period of time researching and studying this area. The aim of the PP is to encourage students to reflect on their learning and develop skills that will prepare them for success in further study, in the workplace and the community.
I guess the obvious question is ‘What does all of this have to do with mentoring?’ The short answer is everything as every student undertaking this project has been assigned a staff mentor who will support and guide them through this process.I think it would be fair to say that staff involved are both excited and a little nervous about this role. Being a mentor sounds like it carries immense responsibility and a great deal of work. The reality is in fact somewhat different.
Mentoring is all about developing relationships that lead to insights, reflection, decisions, planning and action. It can be used for both academic (or professional) and personal development and it can strengthen knowledge and skills and build our capacity across a range of areas. A mentor is someone who guides and stimulates their mentee’s reflection and action for improved personal and academic (professional) outcomes. They are also people who are willing and open to becoming part of a supportive and diverse community of learners who are open to sharing experience and expertise.
In the business world, being mentored is one of the most valuable and effective personal and professional development opportunities a person can be offered. Having the guidance, encouragement and support of a trusted and experienced mentor can provide a person with a broad range of personal and professional benefits which ultimately lead to improved performance and satisfaction. For people being mentored, key benefits include having exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking, receiving advice on developing strengths and overcoming weaknesses and being provided with opportunities to develop new skills and knowledge.
We can only hope that our Year 9 students experience some of the benefits that mentoring offers as they undertake this significant piece of work that has the potential to significantly benefit them personally and academically.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Dr Frank Pitt
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