Dr S S Verma
Guru, Gurukul and Guru Purnima concepts in life in general and learning in particular with time have been replaced by one and only one omnipresent, “Google” at present.
Everyone is looking for learning or knowing towards google. Google search engine’s authenticity is never in question and it is always preferred as quick, un-interfering, non-obligatory, versatile source of knowledge. Besides, with the havoc of pandemic due to COVID-19 for the last almost two years, educational institutions are closed and students are only bound to follow the online mode of education. Though mentoring is required in almost all walks of life but its importance in learning which leads to career of a person is utmost. Class room teaching has its own importance as along with face to face interaction, desired optimum fear of teacher and educational system, some important characters of a teacher, google is missing are like guardianship and mentoring of the learner. A mentor generally shares information about his and others life journey towards their career path with a mentee as well as provide guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modelling. A mentor may help with exploring careers, setting goals, developing contacts, and identifying resources.
Tutor guardian and mentoring activities have the same objectives. Parents, teachers, senior students, colleagues, friends or any one from society can be a mentor as a source of help/motivation/ learning etc. These activities were inseparable in Indian gurkul education system where a student simply used to surrender himself to the grace of his guru. But with the growing materialism in education and life, education system of modern times lacks the perception of mentoring. Sometimes teachers are named as tutor guardians and senior students are as mentors whereas mentees are always the new students or teachers and this tutor guardian and mentor relation with mentees can last forever. The holistic goal of the activity is to support mentees assigned to a tutor guardian or mentor in every possible aspect whether learning, moral support, financial support, life problems etc. anytime and anywhere. The mentees should have very cordial, open and free and franck relationship with his tutor guardian or mentor.
An effective mentor can always play significant educative leadership role, dedicated to growing the professional capability of the learners and colleagues they support. An effective mentor having a sound domain and pedagogical knowledge and skill base for their role can establish respectful and effective mentoring relationships. Mentors may be effective if they do mentoring as part of a comprehensive capacity building programme and are well supported by their employer, professional leader and professional learning community.
Effective mentors are not only good at providing instruction to students but they are quality teachers who are good at providing personal and instructional support to adult learners. Mentors engage in mentoring activities, such as attending training sessions, preparing mentoring materials, observing, giving constructive feedback and meeting with their mentees. The assumption is that, in the role of mentor he/she is an accomplished teacher with a broad range of tried and tested teaching strategies combined with a well-developed understanding of the subjects he/she teach. It is assumed that he/she now wants to further develop or deepen skills and capacity to mentor a beginning /inductee student or teacher.
Mentors offer just the right kind of support, well-suited to the emerging needs of the mentee they are mentoring because they deeply understand that inductee teacher has acquired necessary knowledge and understanding in order to demonstrate his/her professional competence in practices/responses in performing role as an effective teacher. Mentors develop co-constructive relationship with inductee teachers and support their professional learning to build their capacity. As a mentor, he/she offers inductee teachers an anchor of support in an often challenging, demanding situations and a smooth transition from inductee teacher to an effective professional teacher. Effective mentoring has a formative influence on the practice of inductee teachers and has a significant impact on the level and depth of learning amongst students whom he/she teaches. Without good mentors the quality of teaching and learning offered by inductee teachers is demonstrably less effective, and they may experience more stress and anxiety and may leave the profession. Responsibility of performance evaluation, particularly the implementation and practice aspects of learning acquired by inductee teacher lies with the mentor teacher (supervisor). Assessment of work done by the inductee teacher will be done by the mentor teacher, maintaining records of progress.
As per National Education Policy 2020, Mentoring is considered as a National Mission. Govt. of India through Ministry of Education, University Grants Commission and AICTE are organizing various activities like orientation training programmes/mentoring workshops for mentors/faculty in order to make mentoring more relevant. Let us hope that while implementing NEP-2020 educational institutes and teachers will give more stress towards mentoring of students. So that students should feel safe, protected, motivated and free to share their thoughts with their teachers.
Dr S S Verma