Reflecting back on the training

In this reflection on how I perceived the Writing Mentor training I am going to focus solely on the positive aspects, on what I liked. I am going to talk about 4 aspects that I enjoyed and that I thought were helpful: a) Explicit communication about good and bad mentoring b) the implication of clear guidelines on how to mentor c) operalisation of knowledge and d) empowerment of us as new Mentors.

The first point concerns your communication of what can happen in a tutorial, distinguishing between a tutorial which goes well and one which doesn’t. We looked at mentors’ feedbacks on tutorials and discussed how we thought the tutorial went and what could have been improved. We discussed the qualities of a good writing mentor such as patience, collaboration and student-centredness. This was all very useful but the example that will forever be etched on my brain is Lynn and Savita’s demonstration of a bad tutorial. By witnessing a bad tutorial I felt that the message hit home directly and wasn’t–as it normally is- also and rather “effortful” or even painful process. I realised there and then how powerful experiential learning can be!

The second point I am going to make is connected to the first point in that it is really the consequence of the first point I made. By discussing what constitutes good or bad tutorial (with the help of the “when tutorials go well” and “when tutorials go bad” handouts for example) you made it clear what you want us to do and what you don’t want us to do. By communicating both your opinions of bad and good tutoring and your expectations so explicitly you instilled a sense of confidence in me: I knew not only what was expected of me but also what to expect during a tutorial.

The third point concerns operalisation of knowledge. By that I mean knowing how to put the theory into practice. I believe that no amount of theory or knowledge alone will help me become a good mentor but that I need a way of...