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Difficult mentoring conversations: a skills-based approach Faculty of Education Partnership...

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Difficult mentoring conversations: a skills-based approach Faculty of Education Partnership Conference 2015 Carole Page Slide 2 In this session we will: Consider what we mean by difficult conversations Take a skills-based approach to exploring the mentor- trainee relationship within the wider frameworks of: - The mentoring learning agreement - The Teachers Standards (Progress Indicators) Explore the key communication skills of listening and questioning to provide focused, targeted and constructive feedback to support trainees in identifying areas for progression and the steps to achieve this. Slide 3 What do we mean by difficult conversations and why are they difficult? When was the last time you had what you might term a difficult conversation with a trainee? With a partners, consider: -The context -How you introduced the conversation -Trainee response -Outcome **Remember that, by their very nature, such conversations are likely to be sensitive and confidential so do ensure you maintain the confidentiality and privacy of all parties involved.** Slide 4 What are difficult conversations? Why are they difficult? Slide 5 The bigger picture In this workshop we will explore such conversations within the wider frameworks of: The mentoring learning agreement The Teaching Standards Slide 6 The mentoring learning agreement A learning agreement establishing confidence about the boundaries of the relationship by agreeing and upholding ground rules that address imbalances in power and accountability (DfES National Framework for Coaching and Mentoring 2005) What are these ground rules? Slide 7 The Principles of Mentoring and Coaching A learning conversation A thoughtful relationship A learning agreement Combining support from fellow professional learners and specialists Growing self direction Setting challenging and personal goals Understanding why different approaches work Acknowledging the benefits to the mentors and coaches Experimenting and observing Using resources effectively DfES National Framework for Mentoring and Coaching Slide 8 The Teachers Standards Consistent application of levels using the Progress Indicators: The mentor The class teacher The trainee The university tutor An evidence-based course Slide 9 Good mentors need to encourage learners, that is trainee teachers, to take ownership of their development, and need to be adept at assisting in the evaluation process by being an effective questioner and listener without being judgemental. Thus, the mentor needs to help the learner to reflect on, review and refine their practice; and to provide opportunities to extend their repertoire of skills through the sharing of planning, and by the observation of the learner's practice and that of the mentor or other skilled practitioner, accompanied by explicit discussion of pedagogical decisions. An Introduction to Mentoring in ITE Christchurch Canterbury Teach First Slide 10 How? Through the Mentoring Cycle - aligned to Kolbs model encouraging/supporting the mentee in Slide 11 There is absolutely no point to observation without critical analysis, so 'general', impressionistic observations should be avoided. The whole notion of 'mentoring' places the emphasis on negotiation and consensual planning, and 'surprise' observations don't allow for this. The process of identifying a focus ties in with the experiential learning cycle of {planning - implementing - reviewing}, and as such makes it vital for the student to be involved in setting the focus, feeding from any previous targets set. Feimann-Nemser et al: (1993) show that priorities set by a mentor alone are likely to be ignored by a student, if they do not coincide with their own. [Brooks and Sikes: 1997; p.101-103, 130-131] MMU Institute of Education Postgraduate Award in Coaching and Mentoring Focused observation Slide 12 Appropriate questioning techniques Active and observant listening Reflective discussion Explicitness MMU Institute of Education Postgraduate Award in Coaching and Mentoring Key features of successful feedback Slide 13 Some types of behaviour which may lead to difficult conversations What targets might you focus on in your feedback? (Adapted from Wright, T. (2010) How to be a Brilliant Mentor, London: Routledge) Slide 14 The administrator The trainee teacher fills their lesson with lots of lively and engaging activities but fails to do much actual teaching. Teacher talk becomes limited to task setting. The lack of teaching input means that pupils dont understand what they are doing and why. There is little connection to their learning. Feedback focus: Slide 15 The defensive trainee Mentor: Some further discussion about the strategies for identifying key points in the passage would have been useful. Trainee: Yes but this was such a short lesson and I knew that I wanted to get on to the main section of the task so that they would have enough time to complete. It is perfectly reasonable for the trainee to have a rationale for their choices but when this becomes a recurring response, the defensiveness can be frustrating and prove to be a barrier to progression. Feedback Focus: Slide 16 Discounting Four types of behaviour: Doing nothing Over-adaptation Agitation Incapacitation or violence Four levels of discounting: The existence of the problem The significance of the problem The possibilities to change the situation Personal ability to solve the problem Newell, s. and Hughes, S. in Wright, T. (2010) How to be a Brilliant Mentor Slide 17 Having a dialogue about dialogue 1.Notice the discount and talk about it 2.Challenge the discount constructively 3.Explore ways in which the trainee might solve the problem herself / himself Slide 18 Taking adult learning styles into consideration Recognising language has different effects Active listening Clarify what the other person is saying Paraphrasing and summarising Using validating language Using open questions Using and recognising body language effectively Recognising emotional cues MMU Institute of Education Postgraduate Award in Coaching and Mentoring Communication skills Slide 19 1. Remember you get more out of people if you are sensitive to their situation and treat them as adults. 2. Imagine how you would feel if you were on the receiving end. 3. Make your feedback honest as well as fair. 4. Balance negative and positive messages. 5. Dont avoid weaknesses, but always balance them by emphasizing strengths as well. 6. Choose the appropriate time and place as well as the appropriate tone and language. 7. Keep criticism simple and constructive by concentrating on behaviours, not personal attitudes or beliefs. 8. Encourage people to take responsibility for their own development. 9. Be well organized yourself and hold regular progress reviews. 10. Recognize that you may be taken as a role model, so practise what you preach. Parsloe, E. And Leedham M. (2009) Coaching and Mentoring: Practical conversations to improve learning,, London: Kogan Page MMU Institute of Education Postgraduate Award in Coaching and Mentoring Essentials of effective feedback Slide 20 Start by taking account of your learner their experience, personal identity, their knowledge about how they learn, factors that may affect their learning Define their learning objectives by negotiation Identify a strategy or strategies for achieving their objective by agreement Recognise the achievement of objectives this may be celebration or support Review critically the learning that has taken place Plan the next learning activity MMU Institute of Education Postgraduate Award in Coaching and Mentoring A Framework for Learning (FEDA (1995) in Rhodes, C (2004) A Practical Guide to Mentoring, Coaching and Peer Networking Slide 21 The learning agreement Is built on: Honesty Trust Transparency Clarity and Explicitness It is: Evidence-based Reflective Progressive Collaborative Slide 22 If you are an experienced mentor You might be interested in gaining APEL accreditation for your work Contact Carole Page Award Leader for Coaching and Mentoring [email protected]

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