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About Mentoring

An important aspect of the PRE-ED programme is the preparation of class teachers who will take the role of Mentor, helping students teachers develop professionally.

Who is a ‘Mentor’?

Providing a definition of mentoring is not straightforward, since the roles and practices of a mentor and the meaning of mentoring vary in different disciplines, in different educational and school contexts, and over time, says Karavas in her book published by the RCeL, entitled Mentoring Student Teachers of English: A Handbook) and distributed to teachers participating in our programme free of charge. However, she proceeds to explain that a mentor is “an experienced teacher who guides, supports, encourages, counsels and befriends a student teacher in order to promote the latter’s professional and personal development.” Furthermore, she points out that Mentors may serve as work supervisors, performance appraisers, advisers, project collaborators and friends.” Further on she explains that Mentors are often called upon to perform different roles, so that they serve as Models, Acculturators, Informed observers, Supporters and Educators. Most importantly, Karava adds, “the mentor is not there to provide technical and practical support for novices but to help them in critiquing existing routines and practice, discussing alternative ways to structure a lesson, reflecting on the theory and rationale underlying instruction.”

The training of Mentors

The training of mentors started in February 2006 with a seminar organized at the University staff building Kostis Palamas where the 60 cooperating teachers who took part were informed of the role and responsibilities of the mentor teacher and the potential contribution they can make to education of our student teachers. A draft Mentor Training Handbook was developed and distributed to all our cooperating mentor teachers. Mentor teachers were also in constant communication during teaching practice with the course coordinator for any issue or query they had regarding the mentoring process.

In February 2007, before the launch of teaching practice course, a two day conference with speakers from the faculty and abroad was organized on the theme: Mentoring student teachers of English: Issues and possibilities.

The aims of the conference were:

a)    To bring together for the first time our mentor teachers offering them the opportunity to meet, discuss and share their ideas and experiences of the mentoring process.

b)    To share our perspectives on mentoring, to discuss issues pertinent to the mentor role with experts from the field, and to identify directions for future action.

c)    To promote the work and role of mentor teachers and inform relevant official bodies of the substantial contribution that mentor teachers make in the education of prospective teachers.

d)    To raise awareness of how mentoring schemes operate in different countries across Europe.

e)    To train our mentor teachers in a basic invaluable mentoring function; that of observing student teachers and providing constructive feedback.

In order to achieve these diverse aims, the conference programme included presentations of the pre-service teacher education programme of the Faculty of English Language and Literature and mentoring programmes and their effectiveness in Greece and elsewhere in Europe, theoretical discussions of mentoring as a concept and as a process, personal accounts of the teaching practice experience and mentoring programme from three different perspectives, and more practical and focused mentor training sessions. Moreover, a revised Mentor Training Handbook was developed and distributed to all our mentor teachers.

In 2008 a Handbook for Mentor teachers was published and distributed free to all our cooperating teachers (Karavas E. Mentoring Student Teachers of English: A Handbook., National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Faculty of English Studies, RCeL Publication Series 1 RCeL publication series editors: Bessie Dendrinos & Kia Karavas). Ever since 2008, every year before the launch of the Teaching Practice course, a one day training seminar for participating Mentors is offered by the Faculty.

For more information on the Mentor Education programme and related events please click EVENTS