Benefits and Definitions
What is mentorship?
As various definitions and practices exist, mentoring is a fuzzy concept. The ScotELAs Mentoring Scheme embraces the themes of reflection, sharing and helping in non-judgmental ways, and adopt the following definition:
A mentor is anyone who provides guidance, support, knowledge, and opportunities for whatever period the mentor and protégé deem this help to be necessary.
(Burlew, 1991, p. 214)
In the context of learning development, in supporting mentees in their acculturation to the role, mentors will help mentees to develop best learning and teaching practice, promote reflection, and deal with specific challenges.
Benefits of mentorship
The benefits of mentoring are well documented and highlight the value of peer relationships in allowing mentees to experience a ‘feel equal’ factor (Blackwell & McLean, 1996) and enhanced confidence and self-esteem (Lieberman & Miller, 2000). As indicated below, the benefits of mentoring are not exclusive to mentees; mentors have much to gain too, including the enhancement of interpersonal, leadership and pedagogic skills that can be applied to other contexts (Morton, 2003).
Develops leadership skills
Enhances learning and teaching practice, and professional development
Expands mentee’s professional network
Enhances interpersonal skills
Increases job satisfaction and effectiveness
Provides sense of satisfaction associated with ‘giving back’
Increases perspective and knowledge
Enhances context-specific teaching skills
Types of Mentorship
Two pathways to recognition: Role-focused and Expertise-focused
For colleagues new to learning development
Enhances growing into the role
Supports development of emerging expertise
Supports reflection on own and best practice
Provides feedback on own practice where desired
For colleagues at any stage of their career
Develops knowledge and skills in specific areas, e.g. research skills, EAP, pedagogies for specific discipline contexts, digital literacy skills, working with specific student groups
Area chosen according to expertise of mentor and area of interest of mentee