Building mentoring capability

Issue: Volume 101, Number 9

Posted: 21 July 2022
Reference #: 1HAV67

Ngā tikanga whakaaweawe a te kaiārahi mō ngā kaiako kura tuarua ki Aotearoa | Effective mentoring practices for secondary teachers in New Zealand is empowering kaiako to reflect on their mentoring practices and strengthen relationships within their school communities.

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari he toa takitini.

I come not with my own strengths but bring with me the gifts, talents and strengths of my family, tribe and ancestors.

Dave Staite and Janie Moore. Photo by Rebecca McMillan.

Dave Staite and Janie Moore. Photo by Rebecca McMillan.

What is mentoring and why is it important? Although many kaiako have experienced being mentors and mentees, views on what an effective mentor looks like are often underpinned by a range of assumptions.

Unfortunately, many of these can negatively impact the mentoring process in adult learning relationships.

To address this vitally important topic, a programme to support kaiako to develop their mentoring skills has been established by the Post Primary Teachers Association/Te Wehengarua national PLD coordinator Dr Helen Finn.

Through engagement with PPTA members, kaiako highlighted that while they understand the importance of mentoring and its impact, they rarely have an opportunity to undertake formal professional learning about the topic.

This programme was co-designed and developed in partnership with Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington’s subsidiary Kāpuhipuhi Wellington Uni-Professional.

Secondary school context

Combining a variety of resources and teaching approaches, participants focus on mentoring as it relates to the secondary school environment.

Developed as a micro-credential course, it offers a postgraduate qualification opportunity specifically targeted at the needs of secondary teachers with leadership responsibilities.

Micro-credentials have become an increasingly popular way for busy people to undertake specialised training by breaking learning into manageable chunks, an approach particularly suited to the busy kaiako workforce.

Amanda Kirkham from Nayland College says even more experienced teachers would benefit from this course too, during times of burnout in particular.

“It can be unclear, especially in middle leadership, what you need to do to progress your career – this has been so clarifying.”

Jo McKay from Dunstan High School adds that she is enjoying learning the theory behind mentoring, and to give herself permission not to solve people’s problems.

“I’ve been trying a few approaches in my teaching practice: policy-based mentoring is working especially well as groundwork for challenging conversations.”

One of the encouraging aspects attributed to the uptake of this course, is that it is also helping kaiako identify and set career pathways within their school.

“My ambition is to be a deputy principal. I previously had no set timeframe for this goal, but this course has helped me clarify a pathway and I’m aiming to achieve this within two years,” says Riejanne Campbell from Stratford High School.

Kate Thornton, Melanie Webber, Dave Staite and Helen Finn. Photo by Rebecca McMillan.

Kate Thornton, Melanie Webber, Dave Staite and Helen Finn. Photo by Rebecca McMillan.

Culturally responsive

The programme has a specific focus on what contemporary mentoring looks like within the context of Aotearoa New Zealand and examines the approaches and frameworks through the lens of an educational leader.

Exploring mentoring in the context of Te Tiriti o Waitangi has been carefully woven through the learning process to develop an understanding of the importance of aligning Te Tiriti principles of partnership, protection and participation to the concepts of kotahitanga, maanakitanga and whanaungatanga.

“To acknowledge the Treaty within their system, a school needs to have genuine intent from the board level through the charter, right down to the implementation of the relationships we have with each other,” says Ruapehu College principal Marama Allen.

Reciprocity

There is a focus in the programme on the reciprocal nature of mentoring to acknowledge that while the mentee may be less experienced, they bring a kete of other knowledge from prior experiences.

On completion of the course, participants will have deepened their understanding of effective mentoring approaches, strategies, and capabilities and be confident to set up mentoring relationships for themselves and their school community.

Brooke Ashton from Melville High School says as a teacher, you’re mentored throughout your PCT years, and then suddenly there’s no longer that support.

“As a middle leader, for example, developing your career can feel isolating. This course has helped me realise we’re not in the waka alone.”

Natasha Taylor from Rangitoto College talks about the concept of intention in relationship-building.

“Something in particular that I took away from this course was the concept of intention. I’ve learned how to start the mentoring process by co-constructing a relationship: establishing what the mentor and mentee would like to achieve.”

Kimbali Harding enjoys the reciprocal nature of mentoring. Photo by Rebecca McMillan.

Kimbali Harding enjoys the reciprocal nature of mentoring. Photo by Rebecca McMillan.

Further information

Ngā tikanga whakaaweawe a te kaiārahi mō ngā kaiako kura tuarua ki Aotearoa | Effective mentoring practices for secondary teachers in New Zealand is free for all post primary kaiako with course costs covered by the PPTA Learning and Development Centre.

This includes reimbursement of up to $500 (including GST) towards travel, accommodation and childcare expenses.

Taught over one school term using a blended approach, the course includes a set of self-paced modules, three webinars and a one-day face-to-face workshop held in either Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch.

With additional sessions now scheduled through until the end of 2023, there are plenty of opportunities for kaiako to participate.

To find out more and register for upcoming courses, visit Kāpuhipuhi Wellington Uni Professional.(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 9:28 AM, 21 July 2022

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