Saturday, 18 July 2009

Higher Education Mentoring

There is a crossover between study skills, counselling/ mentoring and career guidance that can produce a useful role called a Higher Education Mentor. My thoughts on this role, as derived from preparation for an interview on Friday 17 July, are now on my website in the Learning/ Study Skills area.

If the role was a Graduate Mentor, then it would be just for postgraduates entering far more deeply into he world of academia, but the UK has particular problems of students out of many sixth forms unprepared for academic learning. The fact is that under older systems, the academic learning in school and especially sixth form was a training for a minority who went on to university. They arrived at university disciplined and capable of study. Many students these days are processed through examinations at AS and A level as they were through GCSEs and they simply lack the discipline and foundation to undertake university study, about which the 100% A level pass rate is a mirage. So they need levels of literacy, numeracy and computer using ability to cope, and so often they often have only sufficient in the latter, and they need study skills. Extending the Graduate Mentor idea throughout Higher Education and adding into it a career element arrives at a vision of being an HE Mentor. At least that's what I think, though the ability to express this gets limited by the questions in an interview and by what limited points can be made at the end.


Erika Baker said...

I agree with you. More than anything they need study skills that go beyond looking something up on the Internet. They need better skills in how to structure academic research, how to execute it and then put it together, and how to work out the timings for all of that.

Is this what you interviewed for? You'd be brilliant at it!

Erika Baker said...

In fact, if you didn't get it as a job, you could set yourself up as a self employed tutor in academic study skills! I reckon there'd be quite a lot of demand for it.
And despite the recession, or maybe even because of it, people still spend on education.

Robin said...

It's very true that a lot of people come into college or university without the requisite study skills. I am a college student myself. High school prepared me well enough, but many of my classmates struggled in their freshman year.

I'm currently working with an online mentoring program that reaches out to kids in high school to better prepare them for life beyond education. It would be great if you could check us out - our name is PA eMentoring but you do not have to be from Pennsylvania (or the USA) to be an online mentor! It only takes half an hour a week to make a valuable and helpful connection with a student.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Of course I didn't get the job, as I knew I wouldn't when I heard a candidate speak at the beginning. Being told afterwards that you were a strong candidate is of no use to anyone. You either can win the job or you can't and don't, and it was never going to happen.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

What was interesting there was they had the job named twice, which I said in the US means different things and suggested that it was open to development. So I had a whole idea of developing the job available to suggest, and did, but could only do so at the end, but of course they will still pick the person they want and any such ideas can be taken anyway. But I knew I had the sense of the potential of the job better than anyone there because I'd done the work.